I just placed an order for a 65 inch VT50 an hour ago, so that makes me an owner, no?
After reading the forums and agonizing over possible choices for months, I was finally was able to run a side-by-side-by-side comparo at Best Buy between a GT50 (VT50's are in stock, but not in this showroom), E8000, and Sharp Elite, which were arranged in a row. BB was playing The Matrix (split signal), and I set all the TV's to THX, just so there would be a standardized benchmark.
Seeing the images was a revelation after reading the reviews and closely following the VE HDTV shootout. I can't believe that the calibrators and audience spent more than ten minutes analyzing and debating the TV's.
The GT50 destroyed, and I mean DESTROYED the other sets. It's not even close. The colors looked like film. Absolutely spot-on skin tones, blacks, etc. Motion is perfect, everything uniform and crisp. I have a film editor friend who cuts on an AVID hooked up to a 60" Pioneer Kuro, which looks terrific. The GT50 is better.
Whatever color accuracy the D8000 had is no longer there in the E8000. Skin tones were cartoonishly red. Not even in the running. Samsung has really taken their eye off the ball, wasting time on a WiiTV, when Apple is about to come out with a Siri TV that will make the E8000's clumsy interface look like a bad game of charades.
And then the Elite, which I went in expecting to buy. What. Are. People. Smoking. The colors were laughably inaccurate in THX mode, which is incomprehensible at the price point. I tried another Elite in THX, a 70", which was hooked directly up to a Blu-Ray, just to make sure it wasn't the other set set or the feed or the humidity or a butterfly's wings flapping in Japan. Still, despite the KC Daylighter brightness, it looks no better than the Samsung ES8000 or Sony 929. It's a joke. The BB salespeople can't even keep a straight face about the price. Sure the Elite's blacks are Steinway black, but the monomaniacal focus on black levels seems to be missing the point, like buying a photograph for the frame. If you're watching a movie, and you're looking at the shadows rather than the actors' faces, why bother having a TV? Just paint the wall black and stare at that -- you're supposed to be watching the colors!
So, while I agree with the results of the VE shootout, it should have taken a lot less time and debate. It's pretty simple. Panasonic makes the best televisions available, hands down. I went home and bought the VT50 without a moment's hesitation.
So relieved to be a part of the right cult.