Sony HX929 or Panasonic VT30

I have an old Samsung LED-illuminated RPTV and I want to upgrade. I am stuck between the Panasonic TC-P65VT30 plasma TV and the Sony XBR-65HX929 LED-LCD TV. I move a lot, so the room it is in will vary at least once in the next two years. I watch tons of sports and lots of moves, and I also do some gaming. I have no interest in 3D, just picture quality. I'm torn between the two after playing with them both at Best Buy, and I hope you have something encouraging to say that may steer me to one or the other.

Bear Brown

Both TVs are excellent—see HT's review of the XBR-55HX929 here and the TC-P55VT30 here. But I tend to favor plasma over any type of LCD, primarily because of LCD's degraded picture quality when viewed from off-axis and plasma's sharper motion detail, at least when an LCD's frame interpolation is turned off, which many viewers prefer. On the other hand, the Sony's black level and contrast ratio are definitely better than the Panasonic's because of the Sony's full-array LED local dimming, a rare feature in LED-LCD TVs these days.

Because you watch tons of sports with a lot of fast motion, I would go with the Panasonic, unless you don't mind the "soap-opera effect," which makes movies look like video on an LCD when frame interpolation is enabled. If you do mind that side effect of frame interpolation, all the more reason to go with the Panasonic.

Keep in mind that last year's VT30 has been superceded by the 2012 VT50, and our review of that set should be posted very soon. And in this year's Flat Panel Shootout held at Value Electronics in Scarsdale, NY, the TC-P65VT50 came in first, beating out even the Sharp Elite PRO-60X5FD, considered by most to be the best LED-LCD TV with full-array local dimming available today.

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mblackm2's picture

I agree with everything Scott said but I'm curious as to why you'd be looking at the VT30 instead of the VT50. Are you looking to save money? I love the look and design of the VT50.

mailiang's picture

Ditto. Why consider The HX 929 Sony when you can get a better panel like the Panny VT50? It offers the best picture and the best bang for the buck in that class. This should be a no brainer.


Jarod's picture

I would choose the VT50. If you can't afford it keep saving. It will be worth it. All good advice except im surprised no one has asked him if the room he plans to put his new set in will be light controlled or not. I see he says he may move soon so the point could be moot but I would hate to see a brand new shiny VT50 get put into A all-day-bright-sun-shinning-through kinda room and not live up to its potential. The 929 would be a good choice in a situation like that. Even my Kuro looks flat and bland with direct sunlight. Otherwise get the VT50 and some black out curtains.

Blove23's picture

I was with you up until the light in the room issue. The 929 use the Gorilla glass, so it really doesn't matter which television he purchases. He should go with the VT50!

akak's picture

I bought the 55VT50 a month ago and love it -- I'm glad I got it in time for the Olympics! And, yes, it does a great job in bright rooms -- between the louver filter that rejects ambient light and the THX Bright Room mode, you'll have no problem enjoying it in daylight. Even if you could still find a VT30, I would go with the VT50, which has demonstrably better black levels and a cool new trackpad remote as well.

Every review I've read of the VT50 says it's the best TV out there right now, and my own eyes tell me it's beautiful -- whether on or off. Even better, the 65VT50 lists for $1,800 less than the 65HX929.

LordoftheRings's picture

Panny VT50, no doubt about it!

mailiang's picture

Panasonic VT50! Lol.


yachtmandu's picture

hopefully, you will take the experts advice and get the plasma. if you are concerned about plasma's performance in bright light situations, here's what works for us: get a calibration disk, calibrate the panny for different light situations: cinema for a darkened room, then calibrate it using either standard or custom settings for a bright room, and maybe a room on a cloudy day. it's a few extra hits on the remote to choose the setting to match the light in the room, but worth the trouble.

SunriseGatefield's picture

Go with the Panny VT50!

Don't get me wrong, the XBR-HX929 is a great set, I'm very happy with it. But I think this is a no brainer. The VT50 doesn't have the viewing angle issues, or the blooming--fairly minor, but definitely noticeable on the Sony.

artiscoool's picture

Since these two TV's are the older versions of the New XBR950, and the VT50, would you guys still say the Panasonic over the new Sony. I am undecided between the two awesome sets. I want picture quality.