Well I jumped in and bought the Syntax 42" this weekend.
Microcenter has an amazing deal on it this week... too good to pass up.
I removed the speakers and lowered the stand so it's just the display. I play the sound through my HT system. It looks great... I was trying to decide between this unit and the Vizio 42" plasma coming out next week. There were a few different reasons I went with this one, but one of them was the way it looks... it's beautiful.
I hooked it up through component inputs to my Buffalo LinkTheater network media player / up-converting DVD player, and the second set of Component inputs to my HT system. I like the fact that this has two HDMI inputs, for future upgrades I'll be making, but right now I don't have any thing with HDMI to plug into it.
The picture is amazing. I had some HD video clips downloade from the MS WMV-HD site and they look spectacular. Digital photographs I have look stunning, and DVD's look fantastic.
I ordered a calibration DVD, it hasn't come yet, but I don't think it will need many changes. I thought the colors looked great. Also, I've been very impressed with the black levels... they're far superior to the Olevia 37" units I've seen.
The only downside is the remote. It's terrible! It's not very user friendly and most important, the range is very short. I find that I really have to be within about 6 or 7 feet of the TV or it doesn't work at all. I'll have to get a universal remote to replace it.
I'm using a Radio Shack indoor amplified antenna with an electric rotator that can be operated with a remote to get HDTV OTA. It seems to work pretty well, I still have to find the best settings for each station. It's a shame that there's so little programming in HD yet, but what I have found has been gorgeous. The ATSC tuner seems to be pretty good. I have basic cable service plugged into the NTSC tuner. I don't think I want to spring for all the extra $ for digital cable just yet.
One other thing I've been very surprised at is that SD channels look great too. So many other HDTV's that look fantastic with HD content, give very poor picture quality for SD content... including Panasonic's I've seen. This one looks terrific... and since most content is still SD, It sure is nice to see.
Microcenter also had the AKAI 42" plasma for about the same price, I considered that one two, but seeing the two, I thought this one had a much better picture quality plus the Akai doesn't have tuners.
So far, it seems like an incredible bang for the buck!