50"-55" Plasma TV ~$5K

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  • 06-27-2005, 07:51 AM
    MCF
    50"-55" Plasma TV ~$5K
    Any good suggestions for a 50-55" Plasma tv in the price range of ~$5000? I am considering the 50" Pioneer Pro 1010HD. I do not need speakers on the tv. Any input will be appreciated. The tv will be mounted on a wall above a gas fireplace using a bracket that will provide about a 20 degree tilt.....

    Thanks!
  • 06-27-2005, 09:34 AM
    edtyct
    You might take a serious look at the Panasonic professional TH-50PHD7UY or consumer TH-50XVS30 ONYX. No plasma does PQ as well as Panasonic--and not just because Panasonics usually carry a more palatable price tag than most every other viable candidate. You probably won't find the PHD7UY version in many brick and mortar stores, but it's routinely sold by reputable dealers on the web. It is in all significant respects the same as the consumer model (if not better), but speakers are optional (a definite plus) and many of its video connection options like DVI or HDMI (recommended) come on a video board that must be purchased separately, if you aren't satisfied with the broadcast set, which probably features BNCs. A base price considerably under $5000 on the street would not be unlikely for it.

    The Pioneer Elites are good, too, but awfully expensive. The PDP models arguably offer better value, but they don't have the video enhancement features of the Elites, nor the ISF calibration platform. Just to keep it real, the Pioneers also have broadcast complements, which, as a professional components, may well attend to certain video details better, as well as accept all manner of computer signals. Again, they will not have speakers and may have fewer connection options. I think that these models have "CMX" in their designation. But they, too, will be less expensive. Personally, I lean toward the Panasonics.

    Ed
  • 06-27-2005, 12:06 PM
    MCF
    Thanks....
    What makes the Pansonic Model: TH-50PX50U so much more than the two Panasonics you recommend looking at? At CC and BB, the above model is $4999...... Not sure what the $600-$700 difference is between the three units...
  • 06-27-2005, 12:53 PM
    edtyct
    MCF,

    I would think that the 50PX50U would cost less than the Onyx that I mentioned, which has a separate "digital media receiver," card slots (PCMCIA, SD, and photo), and a few other minor features that the 50U is missing. Actually, I think that the 50U might well be the one to get if bang for the buck were important. I've seen the UY pro model online for less than $4000, but, as I said, you don't get any kind of tuner with it, no speakers, and limited connectivity unless you spring for a card. In general, CC and BB are not price leaders with plasma. The online retailers like Plasma Depot, DTV City, et al. (which aren't necessarily the least expensive web stores) have much better deals, provided that you're comfortable with web purchases. But the XVS30 is the most expensive of the lot; the 500U, with its 6 speakers and a feature set more like the S30 is next; and the 50U brings up the still worthy rear. In terms of PQ, you can't go wrong. Price and features are the decisions that you have to make.

    Ed
  • 06-27-2005, 01:25 PM
    MCF
    How much for the media box....and real benefit...
    how much is the media box and is it a must have if I already have Digital HD Cable and currently run component from the DVD player and the cable box to the tv along with optical cables to my reciever?...I would plan to do the same with the Plasma so I really don't need speakers on the plasma. With this setup, what do I really gain by running an HDMI from a media box to the tv if i am still running component from the DVD player and cable box to the media box? I will then always have to change source input on tv and source input on reciever, correct?
  • 06-27-2005, 02:41 PM
    edtyct
    First of all, you can do without HDMI in an immediate sense so far as connectivity is concerned; you can happily use the component option with few qualms. But you'll get HDMI capability on the consumer models whether you buy the panel with the digital media receiver or not. Eventually, you might start using it, at least for video, both to squeeze every possible drop of quality out of the panel and to cover your tail in the event that copy-protected transmissions ever see the light of day. You can be connected via HDMI for something and be connected via component for something else.

    I'm not terribly familiar with Panasonic's media box, but here's my best guess about it. I doubt that it can be purchased separately; its cost is bundled with the Onyx plasma itself. I would think that it housed the connections for PC as well as possibly signal processing--3:2 pulldown and video deinterlacing, which Panasonic has been known not to include with its panels. I would also suspect that most of the connection options--for, say, DVD and STB--would run through the media center as well. Philips had a similar situation with its plasmas in the old days (about five years ago), if not any more. I certainly don't view the box as essential for bread and butter TV and DVD viewing. Your DVD player will presumably take care of deinterlacing well enough if your Panasonic plasma doesn't, and if you make a point of watching HD on cable as much as possible, you'll be ecstatic about how everything looks.

    The fact that the option exists, via the pro model, to scuttle speakers that you won't be using is a good thing. I like the broadcast panel; it's what I'd get if I were in the market for a plasma. However, it is definitely a bare bones unit compared to the consumer models. You'd have to be able to supply your own signals, from cable, satellite, OTA receiver, etc. You'd have to work out what kinds of inputs to buy extra, if any at all. And you'd probably have to be comfortable living without the kinds of video enhancements that either plague or gild the consumer models, depending on your point of view. I can usually live without them, but not everyone feels the same way. To be safe, you go with the model with the least overkill for you; sometimes you need to get speakers to get peace of mind in other areas. If you've got a $5000 budget, you should be able to satisfy yourself with a Panasonic, if that's the one you want. I'd urge you to look the models and see what they offer.

    Ed