PLASMA TV REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 27, 2010 0 comments
Price: $2,700 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Accurate color • 2D-to-3D conversion mode • Solid blacks and contrast

3D Gets Big

It’s been over a year since we last reviewed a Samsung plasma. That’s no surprise. LCD displays now dominate the HDTV market to the tune of over 90 percent. In general, our reviews have followed that trend.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 19, 2010 0 comments
toppick.jpgPrice: $2,600 At A Glance: Precise color gamut in THX mode • Near reference black level • Sparkling 3D—and 2D—performance

Walking the 3D Talk

You might think that reviewing—and reading about—one flat panel after another would get boring, if not downright numbing. And it would, if the technology were static. Fee-fie-ho-hum, a new flat panel joins the scrum.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 28, 2010 0 comments
toppick.jpgPrice: $1,500 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Accurate color in THX mode • Black level disappoints, but still solid • 2D only

Price and Performance

LCDs are now soaking up a larger and larger percentage of the market, and it’s been hard slogging for plasma displays. But that doesn’t faze Panasonic. As the sole remaining major Japanese plasma manufacturer, it offers a huge range of models. Yes, Panasonic also does LCDs, but only in smaller sizes. If you see a Panasonic HDTV that’s 46 inches or larger, it will be a plasma.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 07, 2009 0 comments
Price: $2,700 At A Glance: Best blacks yet from Panasonic • THX certified • Excellent value • Superb off-axis performance

Plasma Brings the Juice

For many reasons, not the least of which is the sheer brightness that grabs eyeballs on the showroom floor, LCD HDTVs now outsell plasmas by a significant margin.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 02, 2009 0 comments
Price: $2,900 At A Glance: Unique 20-step calibration option • Crisp image with vivid color • Mediocre black level • THX certified

Calibration Sensation

The drop in the prices of flat-panel HDTVs during the past few years has been dizzying. While the news about this may be noisiest on the LCD side, the footsteps you hear are plasma racing back to stake its claim to the booty.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 14, 2009 0 comments
Price: $2,400 At A Glance: Excellent resolution and color • Full adjustability • Blacks could be better • Ultra-thin 1.2-inch profile

Plasma Soldiers On

LCD televisions are everywhere these days. They fill the back walls of Best Buys, are lined up like hedgerows near the entrance of Costco, and fly out the door at Walmart. Even at this moment, they’re undoubtedly being flogged out of the back of a fleet of white vans in parking lots across the land.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 11, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a five-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

Price: $1,300 At A Glance: Excellent blacks and shadow detail • Superb off-axis performance • Performs best in subdued lighting

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 08, 2009 0 comments
Price: $1,700 At A Glance: Good performance out of the box • Excellent resolution • Impressive black level and shadow detail • Accurate color

It Keeps Getting Better

When I visited Panasonic in Japan in the fall of 2004, with a gaggle of other journalists, plasma was the dominant flat-panel technology. But it was still pricey. On that visit, Panasonic told us that its goal was to get plasma prices down to $100 per diagonal inch.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 24, 2009 0 comments

Unless you live under a rock&#151;in which case, you probably don't read <I>UAV</I>&#151;you know that Pioneer's Kuro plasma TVs are the finest flat panels ever made. You also know that Pioneer is getting out of the plasma business altogether, much to the dismay of videophiles everywhere.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 06, 2009 0 comments
Price: $7,000 At A Glance: Pricey, but offers unsurpassed image quality • No tuners or audio system • Last of the breed

The Last Hurrah for Kuro?

As I was finishing up this review, word arrived that Pioneer will exit the video display business. The economic climate, Pioneer’s premium prices, and the increasing market share of LCD displays combined to create a perfect storm that the company could not overcome. Pioneer panels will continue to be available through the end of 2009, including the Elite Signature Series monitors.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 23, 2009 0 comments
Price: $1,500 At A Glance: Razor-sharp detail with HD content • Solid blacks and shadow detail • Less-than-inspiring performance with DVD

Best Value at the Warehouse

In the six short years that Vizio has sold flat-panel TVs in the U.S., the company has risen to third place in flat-panel sales (plasma and LCD combined) in the North American market. This tremendous and rapid success is because of the high value that these TVs offer—in particular, they offer surprisingly good picture quality for surprisingly little money.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 16, 2009 0 comments
Price: $9,995 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Near reference-quality blacks • No tuners or speakers • HDMI is version 1.2a, not 1.3

Custom Home Theater

I watched a lot of television when I was growing up. But I was also a passionate reader. OK, more often than not, I was reading a RadioShack catalog or the latest issue of the now-defunct Audio or High Fidelity. But sitting at least a dozen feet away from my parents’ 21-inch console television, with all the room lights on, it was easy to divide my attention between the book—er, magazine—and the latest episode of Gunsmoke.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 17, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a four-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

Manufacturers of flat-panel plasma televisions have been refining the technology for years. But Pioneer has been particularly successful at it. In the past, the company made some of the world’s best rear-projection CRT sets, and it knew that great black levels are the foundation of a great picture. That philosophy has paid off over the years, particularly in recent-generation KURO sets.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 17, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a four-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

The Panasonic TH-50PZ800U is one of the first HDTVs to earn THX certification. But you might ask, “Isn’t THX mainly into audio?” I can see where you’re coming from, but THX isn’t exactly new to the home video business. It has certified video software for years and has begun to do the same for projectors and flat-panel displays.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 02, 2009 0 comments

I watched a lot of television growing up. But I was also a passionate reader. Okay, more often than not what I was reading was a Radio Shack catalog or the latest issue of the now-defunct <I>Audio</I> or <I>High Fidelity</I>. But sitting at least a dozen feet away from my parents' 21-inch console television with all the room lights on, it was easy to divide my attention between the book&mdash;er, magazine&mdash;and the latest episode of <I>Gunsmoke</I>.

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