Panasonic plasmas, professional vs consumer models [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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02-21-2006, 07:06 PM
I had a 42" panasonic plasma and liked the picture but it had a white line across the middle so I had to take it back. Now, they no longer carry the same model and the next generation is supposed to come out in a few months or so. But, I was looking at costco and they have the TH-50PM50U (consumer) and TH-50PHD8UK (professional) plasmas. Besides the speakers and connections, is there any real difference between the two. I have read that the professional model has better blacks and contrast but then I also read they have the same plasma panels. When I read the specs there is a lot more information about the professional model. For example the professional model says:
- Real MACH System
- Real Black Drive System
- Newly developed phosphor boosts resistance to static-image burning to the same level as CRT displays

Where as the consumer models say nothing about this stuff. So, I am stuck between either getting one of these two or waiting for the new generation 42" to come out. After watching HD I hate watching SD on my little TV now. Thanks.

02-21-2006, 07:59 PM
My understanding is that the rendering engine and plasma glass are identical in the industrial and consumer models. The big difference is that the industrial models generally require that the buyer do more of the configuration themselves (for example, having to buy add-on cards for some types of connections, and not including a built-in tuner), and they have less shielding, so they might cause interference with other components. I also read somewhere that the plasma glass used in the industrial models uses slightly higher fault tolerances with the number of "dead" pixels that are permitted (not sure if this is true, but I've read that on other boards). The other issue is that if something goes wrong, you have to deal with a different service network than the consumer models (no idea if that's a bad or good thing).

I'm actually surprised that the Panny industrial plasmas were at Costco! I've also been considering the industrial models, but they're generally sold via mail order and I'm just wary about ordering something that bulky and expensive online.

Otherwise, this is more of a question for the AVS Forum. A very large percentage of the regulars on that board own the Panny plasmas, so you might want to check with them on the benefits and drawbacks between the consumer and industrial models.

02-22-2006, 05:06 AM
Wooch and venkman,

So far as Panasonic goes, my understanding from way back is that the consumer and commercial models are exactly the same except for the latter's lack of a tuner, stand, and speakers. All sorts of myths have sprung up over the years about their differences--even that the pro models put other gear at risk if used outside their rightful jurisdiction. But both manufacturer and dealer have an incentive not to sell commercial models to the man in the street, since they are much less expensive, with a smaller markup. I don't know about their respective service networks. The plasma forum at AVS is an excellent place for this information, if you have some time and patience.