Panasonic Plasma vs Samsung LCD... [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-17-2006, 08:55 PM
I've been trying to decide on a tv for 2 months and finally got my bonus from work. Now I am buying a tv this weekend. I am stuck trying to choose between the Panasonic TH42PX50 42" Plamsa for 2,699 or the Samsung LNR408D for 2,499. I was planning on using my computer hooked up to the tv so I was leaning towards the Samsung, but I haven't heard much about it's picture quality. I hear just great things about the Panasonic Plasma. I don't really care about the 200 bucks, I'd rather get what's best for me. You guys have never steered me wrong.


01-18-2006, 05:39 AM
There's no really simple answer to this question. The Samsung has practical features that the Panasonic doesn't, like an ATSC tuner and cable card. I haven't seen one in action, but it has a luminance control, which is meant to allow the TV to maximize its black level in scenes that don't need as much brightness as the TV normally produces. If it works as advertised, it's an asset. It's also thirty pounds lighter than the Panasonic. The Samsung's picture is probably like . . . well, an LCD--sharp and bright (despite the luminance control). If you watch a lot of TV that doesn't make many demands on black (as many films do), or tend to keep some ambient light in the room when viewing, the Samsung should satisfy (assuming that its performance and reliability matches other LCDs in its class).

The Pansonic has a distinct advantage when the lights are dimmed--an extraordinary black level, which gives it the best contrast ratio in the business. I doubt that the Samsung could compete with it in a serious home theater for watching movies, at least under typical movie-watching conditions. It also looks less "digital" than LCDs do, which is not necessarily a slap in the face. That crisp digital look certainly has its appeal (I tend to like it), but under the right conditions, the Panasonic can seem very CRT-like, without the baggage. It's light on features in comparison, but its performance is tried and true. Pansonic did not gets its stellar reputation as a plasma maker for nothing.

01-18-2006, 05:54 AM
All Panasonic plasma up here in Canada have ATSC tuners, even the EDTV models. And the model number is the same TH42PX50, so I am going to say that it does have an ATSC tuner. As far asa Samsung picture quality I haven't seen their plasma but as for their LCD and DLP they don't do the greatest job with sharp outlines of objects and colours aren't as good as a Panasonic. You get more features for less money but for the picture you get what you pay for. This to me seems to be a Samsung trademark. Have a good look at both, and think what weighs out better for you. Let us know what you decide.

01-18-2006, 06:26 AM
For all you kids out there, laziness once again proves not to pay off. I based my answer on the Dark Ages. As ToddL says, the Panasonic has an ATSC tuner; it also has the cable card slot. The feature advantage for the Samsung just got smaller. Thank you, ToddL.

01-18-2006, 06:35 AM
For all you kids out there, laziness once again proves not to pay off. I based my answer on the Dark Ages. As ToddL says, the Panasonic has an ATSC tuner; it also has the cable card slot. The feature advantage for the Samsung just got smaller. Thank you, ToddL.

Things like this change everyday if you were to keep up with all of it your head would have to be bigger than a beachball ;)

01-18-2006, 11:29 AM
You may wish to wait until spring to make your decision however difficult that may be because Panasonic is introducing newly designed plasma models. Check out this link:

Hope this helps or at least exacerbates the confusion.

01-18-2006, 11:23 PM
thanks for your input...I just got the panasonic 42" plasma. I was reading somewhere about a breakin period and having the contrast and color at half. Is that neccesary? I was a little dissapointed to find out that it needs to upscale to show 720p. I thought 1024x768 was enough to show 720p but I guess you need 1280X720 to fully show it? Is it worth getting a set that can truely show 720p? I don't have HD cable hook up yet (getting it this weekend) but I was a little dissapointed in the standard cable look on the screen..started to get a little bummed so I put in a DVD and it looks a lot better. Also, my dvd player is a pioneer DV-333 which isn't progressive scan. Is it worth upgrading my player or waiting for the HD DVD players. I also have an ONKYO TX-SR703 with THX select, DTS NEO, DTS ES, and a whole bunch of other audio options. Do I need a new DVD player to take full advantage of all these things or can my little old pioneer do the trick. Thanks again. Love this forum.

01-19-2006, 06:05 AM
Panasonic has something against 720. The panel certainly could take a 720p signal and scale to 768p, as many other panels do. But Panasonic opted to simplify matters and concentrate on 1080i, possibly figuring it to be the format that it would encounter most often. I don't know how much cost this strategy saved, but Panasonics are certainly more affordable than other comparable plasmas. The picture doesn't seem to have suffered much from this scaling. Apart from the fact that most HD sources are 1080i, although 720p has a potential (shrinking) advantage with motion, I wouldn't swap the Panasonic for something else, basically for the very reasons that Panasonic made its design choices.

Take standard cable with a grain of salt. The Panasonic's pixels far outnumber the information transmitted in an SD broadcast; the set is obliged to blow up this low-resolution material to fill the screen. It just won't look as good as DVD or HD material. You can get external signal processing to optimize it, but it will add substantially to your bottom line. If you can suck up SD in favor of ED and HD, you'll save your sanity and your money.

That brings me to my next point. The Panasonic's signal processing isn't particularly good. A current-vintage DVD player with progressive scan, possible with an HDMI or DVI video output, would not be a bad idea. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg for it; in fact, you might opt for one of the sub-$300 Panasonic models if you can afford it. You can also go cheaper. DVD players in general have reached a level of performance that far exceeds that of even the superior players that hit the market during the days before progressive scan. That doesn't mean that you can throw price out the window, but routinely acceptable DVD video is now available at a lower price point. Also, if your current DVD player doesn't pass DD and DTS bitstreams, you won't be able to take advantage of your receiver's basic surround formats, though the two channel PCM versions will still work. If budget allows, despite the imminence of hi def DVDs, I'd get the new DVD player. You'll be watching regular DVDs on the plasma for a good long while. Enjoy it. It was a good buy.

01-19-2006, 12:33 PM
thanks for all the sound advice and information. I was thinking of getting the Onkyo DV-CP702 DVD player to match my receiver, any thoughts?

01-19-2006, 12:45 PM
I don't know the player firsthand, but someone may show up who does. The reasons why I personally would not opt for it at that price is that it doesn't have SACD or DVD-A (I lean toward the former), its video D/A conversion is a little on the wimpy side for this day and age, and it doesn't have either DVI or HDMI. It still could be a solid audio/video performer, but other players around that price offer a bit more for the likes of me.

01-19-2006, 08:38 PM
I haven't seen a single Samsung flat panel that matches the picture quality of a Panasonic.