FLAT PANEL REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 18, 2010 1 comments
Price: $4,300 At A Glance: Dark blacks with good shadow detail • Crisp resolution and accurate color • Best-in-class off-axis performance • No 2D-to-3d conversion

Life’s Good in 3D

We were mighty impressed by LG’s 47LE8500 HDTV in a recent review. That set had effective local-dimming LED technology and went farther than any set we’d seen in mitigating LCD’s remaining Achilles heel—the 47LE8500 had the strongest off-axis performance we’ve seen from that technology. The new LG LX9500 series is a twin of the 8500 series in many ways, with largely similar features and comparable 2D performance. But the addition of 3D puts these new sets—the 47-inch model reviewed here and the larger, 55-inch 55LX9500—into an entirely different category.

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 1 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: Jun 07, 2010 1 comments
Price: $2,900 At A Glance: 10-step calibration option • Strikingly deep blacks • Crisp resolution and accurate color • Local-dimming LED technology

Black Is the Color

Although 3D is about to make a loud buzz in the HDTV world, most current sets aren’t ready for the 3D gravy train yet. The top-of-the-line LG Infinia LX9500 series will be 3D capable. At one step down in LG’s lineup is the solidly 2D Infinia 47LE8500 LCD HDTV, reviewed here. It’s surprisingly thin, and with local-dimming LED technology, it comes well equipped to compete for honors as the best overall LCD we’ve yet seen from any manufacturer.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 07, 2010 1 comments
Price: $2,800 At A Glance: 3D ready • Effective 2D-to-3D conversion mode • Fine contrast with solid blacks • Outstanding setup adjustments

The LEDing Edge

Samsung appears to be producing so many LED-backlit LCD sets these days that it risks a “been there, done that” reaction from the flat-panel peanut gallery. But with the coming of 3D, plus some twisty new technology that produces an outstanding picture, the company is challenging other set makers to a game of catch-up.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 05, 2010 0 comments
3D Leaps Out

It’s been a long road from 1952’s Bwana Devil to 2009’s Avatar, but 3D in your local cineplex is now a big-time, going concern. But as we discussed in "3D: The Next Big Thing?", HDTV manufacturers are determined to bring the experience home. 3D was the star of the show at January’s CES, and 3D-capable sets are beginning to show up at your local big-box retailer. By year’s end, you’ll see 3D HDTVs from virtually all major manufacturers.

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 1 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 7 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 1 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 1 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.

Al Griffin Posted: Aug 23, 2012 1 comments

There are two stories to tell about Samsung’s new E8000 line of plasma TVs. The first, and likely the more compelling one for S+V readers, is that the E8000 continues Samsung’s streak of putting out plasmas that meet videophile standards for color accuracy, contrast, and shadow detail. The second is that the E8000 is one of the company’s flagship “Smart TV” lines. This basically means that every Smart feature you can think of has been tossed in, including voice and gesture control, face recognition, Web browser, interactive fitness training — the list goes on.

Al Griffin Posted: Jun 05, 2012 0 comments

One argument made by naysayers when 3D TV first arrived was that the feature would jack up prices for flat-panel sets. That did prove sort of true at first, but 3D was quickly folded into the general feature package for most TVs, leaving set prices to continue their downward trajectory. Case in point: Panasonic’s new TC-P55ST50. The first Panasonic 3D TV I reviewed 2 years back had a 50-inch screen and cost $2,600. But the company’s new P55ST50 3D plasma has a larger, 55-inch screen and costs around $1,600. Depending on how the rest of this review plays out, that could mean we have a serious bargain on our hands.

Al Griffin Posted: Dec 28, 2011 0 comments

Much of the R&D effort for Panasonic’s TVs gets funneled into plasma technology — with excellent results. (Check out the TC-P55VT30 in our Editors’ Choice Awards here.) But as we found out this time last year upon reviewing the company’s TC-L42D2, it also makes sets of the LCD persuasion. Quite a few of them, in fact.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Sep 20, 2011 0 comments

For a time, there was Kuro, and Kuro was king. Kuro made other TVs envious of its awesomeness. Then. . . there was no Kuro. TV reviewers wept; everyone else bought LCDs. Under-intelligenced “pundits” foretold the end of plasma TVs — but Panasonic, Samsung, and LG quietly coughed and politely said, “Umm, we still make plasmas.”

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