Finally replacing a 7 year old Panny 60u plasma that has burn-in and uneven Phosphorous wear (from watching 4:3 about 20% of the time)........
Didn't want to go with another plasma, even though I still think it's BY FAR the best picture out there. My choice would have been the VT50. Don't want to live through all those worries about IR and burn-in again (looks like others are still having issues in 2012), so I picked up a Samsung ES8000 based on what I saw in the showroom (I know it's not the best place to judge things, but you make do with what you have).
At home, I played around with the settings and actually got a pretty decent picture out of it. Not quite plasma level good, but pretty acceptable. (For everything except for hockey, which I can't get to be blur or judder free regardless of the setting).
But....... the off-axis viewing on this is the worst I think I've ever seen! I have a weird setup with one chair at a 45 deg angle, and another at 25 deg. I found that only moving over a few feet one way or another makes a huge difference. Even my wife who doesn't care as much about quality as me complained about how bad it is.
My dealer is being good enough to allow me one exchange for another set, so it needs to be the right guess on my part. Thank God. I think I'm limited to Panasonic, Samsung, and LG products. I can't get myself to look at an LG (the whole Lucky Goldstar thing...
Based on (some) reviews, it looks like a Panasonic WT50 LED might be a good compromise. It sounds like it has a great big wide viewing area, but the picture quality reviews are mixed. Some say the best blacks ever, other say the lightest ever due to the IPS panel. In the store, it doesn't look bad at all, but getting it home may be different.
So what do you think? Stick with the poor axis Samsung with the decent on-axis picture, or the lesser picture on the Panny LED with the wider viewing area?
Thanks for reading my very long "blog"