Alright, the TC-26LX70 arrived on Friday (exactly one day after my TH-50PZ750u arrived for the living room). Have to say that I really... REALLY like this little LCD. I find myself torn between watching TV in the living room on the new 1080p plasma and watching TV from the comfort of my bed on this little guy.
I haven't used any calibrating DVD's or anything, but I find that the "Standard" viewing presets with the brightness of the backlight turned down substantially looks excellent to me.
For now I only have the un-encrypted HD TWC pipes over the cable regardless. Moving to U-verse soon as I can convince those bastards at AT&T that I can get service (their tool says I can't, but their tool also says that every house around me can). Still, watched a little baseball on FOX HD, Discovery HD Theater, The Fifth Element on TNT HD and SNL on NBC HD. All were impressive on the little guy. For other content I have chosen to pair this thing with a Panasonic DVD-S53k for the time being. It's a little $100 1080p upconversion player. I know the Oppo's are the best, but this thing suits my needs and, actually, looks VERY good with the added benefit of working with Panasonic's EZ-Sync/HDAVI stuff (which the TC-26LX70 supports also). It significantly cleaned up The 40 Year Old Virgin, a movie that is VERY grainy. LOTR: The Two Towers looked great as well, and of course Pixar films look fantastic no matter what.
Upconversion of SD channels is at least as good as the plasma. Actually, I'm sure that Panasonic is using the same tuners/video processors on all their TV's. Blacks are not as black as the plasma, of course, but are very acceptable... Definitely comparable to the Sony/Samsung and Sharp offerings, and probably better if I bring down the brightness some more. Sound is typical of Japanese electronics. Mids sound awesome, but highs and especially lows are hollow. I won't knock it on sound, though, as this thing can get VERY loud and if I want a great sounding viewing experience I can always retire to the living room.
How pleased am I with this little guy? So pleased that I will probably order a second one when we get closer to Christmas. That way my wife can have one in the guest room (where she retreats to). It's nice to have such an awesome television for vegetating without worrying about IR and half-life like we do with the plasma. Plus the setup is much simpler for her to use than the full home theater regalia of our living room.
Here are some photos. In the dark it is hard to hold the camera still for long enough, so some of these are OK and some of them are just too damn blurry to make out any kind of PQ...