Has 5 years of LCD viewing tainted my ability to discern the superior PQ of a quality plasma? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-02-2012, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
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(When reading this please be mindful of the fact that I am not a videophile nor do I profess to have any video acumen--I'm just an average guy looking for help).

I took the plunge into the HDTV world with a Sony KDL-46XBR4 about five years ago--read David Katzmaier's CNET review in '07 and found posters who agreed it was the best LCD at the time. Last year, I decided to move that set into the bedroom and to replace it. Found AVS and another "High Def forum" that convinced me that my next set would be a plasma. The reviews of Panny's latest line of plasmas sealed the deal.

After watching prices for a year, I recently bought a 55GT50 that was delivered yesterdy. Hooked it up to my FIOS via HDMI and did the same with my DVD player and PS3--had to stick with component with the Wii. Bought the GT over the ST due to many posters noting the multiple presets including some that allegedly gave you a great PQ out of the box especially for brighter rooms. I added Katzmaier's settings for my custom preset.

I hate to say this but I am disappointed in the picture. Using the Katzmaier preset, which appears to be the recommended normal everyday viewing mode, regardless of the lighting in the room, I still find the picture (though very nice looking) to be "dull" and "flat" (my wife says it's "dark"). The "whites" aren't white--they appear washed out. As for Standard mode, I might as well be wearing a veil! Haven't used the PS3 yet or watched Blurays but frankly 99% of my viewing time will be cable via FIOS. Since all of the experts agree that I have a great set and am using well-reviewed settings, I can't help but to think, that the problem is with me. I tried the THX Bright and the Vivid presets but they were over the top.

Has my 5 years of LCD viewing on a "Modified Vivid" setting robbed me of my ability to enjoy a real, high quality PQ? Though I don't know if I will ever be able to enjoy "normal" settings, I have to think there is hope for me. Taking the Katzmaier settings into consideration:

http://forums.cnet.com/7723-19410_102-566046/panasonic-tc-p55gt50-picture-settings/?tag=mncol;rvwBody

can anyone recommend some modifications to save my GT from being returned? I'm looking for something that's not dull/dark/etc...

Thanks for your help and patience!!!
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-02-2012, 09:02 PM
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Honestly I have no idea how you can like an xbr 4 more than a GT50. The PQ is not even in the same ball park. I've had a Sony 40xbr3, Sony 52xbr6, Sony 60EX700, and a Sony 40 & 46V series. After I bought the 65VT30 last year as my first plasma, I decided I would never go back to LCD viewing. I just replaced the xbr6 in my bedroom with a 55GT50 and there's no comparison. I think you should stop looking at pre sets, and set the TV to where you like it because LCD/LED especially an xbr4 does not in any way compare to a GT50 or even last years GT30 in any way what so ever.

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post #3 of 14 Old 12-03-2012, 07:25 AM
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I was in a similar situation. I almost feel like I'm relearning what some stuff really looks like.

Here's a thread that might help:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1442575/plasma-question-about-whites/0_60

You might also go through the GT50 thread and try some other settings. "Black ops", I think it is, has some popular settings. I also found that I preferred the warm1 setting to the warm2 that most calibrations seem to end up at. I suspect that's a byproduct of five years of overly bright LCD viewing. It was a little discouraging at first. But I absolutely love it now.
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-03-2012, 07:32 AM
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-03-2012, 08:56 AM
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I just ordered a P50GT50 and am afraid of the same thing...I'm kind of expecting it actually, coming from a Samsung 4061F LCD. The picture pops, blacks might be crushed a bit, but I like how vibrant it looks. I'm expecting a more subtle image out of the GT50, which I'm hoping I'll learn to love. Anyway, keep us posted on whether or not your feelings about the GT50 change.

Not that it'll change anything, but I think you should definitely try another source (like a blu-ray), since the higher quality set may just be exposing flaws in your cable signal that your older TV did not....or as someone else mentioned, why not adjust the settings to your liking, rather than relying on what others have deemed a suitable picture?
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-03-2012, 10:06 AM
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I upgraded recently from an XBR2, but I'm not sure how much better the 4 was. In any event, the VT50 absolutely destroys the old XBR2. It's not even worthy of debate. Pop in a forum favorite Blu-ray and watch the GT50 in THX for a few minutes. Then, play the same scene again on your XBR4.

Btw, the normal viewing selection has the CATS turned on. Just turn it off.

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post #7 of 14 Old 12-03-2012, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggerdaddynj View Post

(When reading this please be mindful of the fact that I am not a videophile nor do I profess to have any video acumen--I'm just an average guy looking for help).
I took the plunge into the HDTV world with a Sony KDL-46XBR4 about five years ago--read David Katzmaier's CNET review in '07 and found posters who agreed it was the best LCD at the time. Last year, I decided to move that set into the bedroom and to replace it. Found AVS and another "High Def forum" that convinced me that my next set would be a plasma. The reviews of Panny's latest line of plasmas sealed the deal.
After watching prices for a year, I recently bought a 55GT50 that was delivered yesterdy. Hooked it up to my FIOS via HDMI and did the same with my DVD player and PS3--had to stick with component with the Wii. Bought the GT over the ST due to many posters noting the multiple presets including some that allegedly gave you a great PQ out of the box especially for brighter rooms. I added Katzmaier's settings for my custom preset.
I hate to say this but I am disappointed in the picture. Using the Katzmaier preset, which appears to be the recommended normal everyday viewing mode, regardless of the lighting in the room, I still find the picture (though very nice looking) to be "dull" and "flat" (my wife says it's "dark"). The "whites" aren't white--they appear washed out. As for Standard mode, I might as well be wearing a veil! Haven't used the PS3 yet or watched Blurays but frankly 99% of my viewing time will be cable via FIOS. Since all of the experts agree that I have a great set and am using well-reviewed settings, I can't help but to think, that the problem is with me. I tried the THX Bright and the Vivid presets but they were over the top.
Has my 5 years of LCD viewing on a "Modified Vivid" setting robbed me of my ability to enjoy a real, high quality PQ? Though I don't know if I will ever be able to enjoy "normal" settings, I have to think there is hope for me. Taking the Katzmaier settings into consideration:
http://forums.cnet.com/7723-19410_102-566046/panasonic-tc-p55gt50-picture-settings/?tag=mncol;rvwBody
can anyone recommend some modifications to save my GT from being returned? I'm looking for something that's not dull/dark/etc...
Thanks for your help and patience!!!

Very interesting comments BidDaddy which I can relate to and in some aspects share. For the past 5 years our only TV set in the house has been a 46" XBR4 in a family room with multiple windows on 2 different walls (very bright room). We probably sit 8-9 feet away from the screen (maybe less). Anyone who has come over and watched OTA HDTV on this set has been simply amazed by the picture - bright, crystal clear, very rich colours. During the day with our window blinds open (unless it is overcast) our viewing mode is the default VIVID setting. I actually think I have one of the picture settings cranked up even higher b/c the room can go so bright. When lighting is controlled I have my own CUSTOM setting I use which is geared towards getting the best contrast. As great as this XBR4 set has been/continues to be, I've known all these years that once the basement was finished a plasma was going down there. On certain Blu Ray movies the motion jitter or blurring on the XBR4 is very bad. Try watching the scene in the Dark Knight on BD when that long haired euro gangster stooge meets up with Dr. Crane/Scarcrow's crew in the parking garage at night... (remember, when the phony batman posse shows up? "My dog's are hungry"). The motion blur is so bad in that scene, especially when they haul out the junkie from the van and throw him onto the floor. There's actually several parts in the Dark Night on BD that are like this. For some reason the "CINEMA" view mode works the best at reducing the motion blur but its still there. Another thing I've learned to live with is that the XBR4's contrast ratio is not that great. In a well lit room the TV can make blacks look ink black by delivering such an awesome bright and intense picture, but in a dark room it can't hide its limitations. I often strive to get the blacks on a TV to blend with the black bezel or frame, so for example 2.35:1 aspect movies that show black bars top and bottom I like when these black bars on the image completely blend in with the black bezel around the screen, so that in a dark room you only see the actual 2.35:1 image on screen completely surrounded by black. This is impossible to achieve with our XBR4's even with the back light set to 0 and the picture settings significantly reduced. Many times did I try to hit this milestone until the day I realised when the image on screen is COMPLETELY black and the TV has even auto dimmed itself (after a perceived amount of time being all dark) the black screen will still light up a totally dark room lol. The black bars will always look greyish next to the TV's black bezel. But even having said all this and knowing the screen's weak points, this dinosaur of a TV set still delivers an awesome picture in the room it was intended for. I wouldn't consider replacing it with anything else. BTW I personally do not like the new LED LCD's - does anybody else find those new LED back lights deliver an almost unnatural hue? Like you can tell the brightness is artificial??

Well then, the basement was finally finished - like in the last 2 weeks! smile.gif I haven't had much time to sit down there b/c furniture has yet to be delivered but my new 65" Panasonic GT50 is up on the wall and the home theatre is all connected. I've been down there with a folding chair a couple times in the last week to play around and slowly dial everything together. Some of my observations mirror what you said BidDaddy - the picture on the GT50 is definitely "dimmer" overall. Less intense/vivid would probably be the best way to describe it. I also find that watching OTA on the Panny is not as "clear" or "sharp" as it is on our Sony... I read a comment posted by another member to this effect. But there are a few things to consider: I'm sitting (or will be sitting) 15 feet away from my GT50 downstairs (screen to eyes). With the TV now mounted and me placing a chair dead center 15ft away, this monster 65" actually looks small for the space believe it or not. But what I'm getting at is the advent of High Definition television actually reduced the ideal seating distances based on screen sizes due to the increased picture detail. When I move my folding chair and sit 10-12ft away from the screen the image starts to look sharper and clearer. I should have speced my seating a few feet closer now that the TV is here. Also consider that a smaller size screen will ALWAYS make the same picture appear clearer and sharper. As for the dim image, well that is the nature of the beast. I'm sure we can play around with the VIVID setting on the GT50 to chase the kind of stand out picture we are accustomed to enjoying on our Sony's, but that's really not what you want to do with a set like this. In fact, this is fastest way to run into IR issues. Like you I have used Cnet's custom settings on my GT50 as well as Black Op's setting (which are almost identical except for brightness being bumped up 8 points). I've compared Custom setting to THX Cinema and even tweaked THX Cinema the few times I've been down with my set. I think if you explore the options this TV set has you will able to find a really good sweet spot. I think I'm getting close. **Another thing I will share with you BidDaddy is that LIGHTING CONDITIONS makes all the difference in the world when viewing this set. The times I had the TV running for exercise while I was setting up other things in the basement with the "big lights" on, yes the screen looked very dim regardless where/how I looked at it. THX Cinema is not a great mode to use with any sort of useable lighting present. But the minute I killed the lights completely or set the pot lights to an extremely low ambient level, boy was that when I started to really get lost in the picture! These GT50's shine in the dark. I think back to those nights when I'd kill the lights upstairs and fight with my Sony to try and get the greyish bars on the screen to look just a little closer to actual black, and now I'm in heaven. I'm actually really impressed with how "film like" the image on the GT50 is. And I've only just started to explore and realise the potential of this black beauty wink.gif

Final thought/suggestion: if you REALLY want to wow your wife. Watch a really dynamic image on your XBR4 in Vivid mode or your customized one, then sit down in front of your GT50 with the lights dimmed at least (or better yet completely dark), and watch something 3D on this set. I didn't buy the TV for the 3D feature but I got a bunch of 3D glasses and promotional disks from our buddy at Panasonic who got us the TV, and it is simply stunning. The other night I watched a demo scene of the Grand Canyon in 3D... its like watching Vivid on the Sony x 10 in 3D! Crazy.

Give the GT50 time. You'll soon discover how awesome this set is. And remember room lighting is everything! There's no way this new GT50 would ever be able to compete with my XBR4 upstairs, just as the XBR4 would never dare set foot in the basement now that the black Panasonic has moved in HUUUAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!! :P
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-03-2012, 12:04 PM
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Im in the opposite boat - Ive been spoiled by my 50" KURO(2008) and I am possibly interested in a larger sized screen but just about everything I look at these days or read reviews upon has issues that I just dont know if I can deal with. Just nothing to replace it with. Its quite a testament to the epicness of the KURO when it still takes a smelly dump on just about every TV out there even now. Geesh. Were the other mfgers THAT far behind?

For you, it might take some time to get back to where you were so to speak. There IS something nice about a nice bright LCD image in a bright room. However, in normal lighting conditions its a totally different ball game. Then, throw in lousy viewing angles and motion problems..... and I'll be out of the LCD/LED camp basically forever or until they correct this stuff.

You must redeem yourself! biggrin.gif
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-03-2012, 12:59 PM
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http://hometheaterreview.com/its-time-to-get-over-pioneers-kuro-hdtv/

Just stumbled upon this link while googling "Panasonic plasma vs. kuo". I guess to be fair I also came across this:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20034816-1.html

Both seem to be articles from 2011.
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post #10 of 14 Old 12-03-2012, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolowizard View Post

I was in a similar situation. I almost feel like I'm relearning what some stuff really looks like.
Here's a thread that might help:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1442575/plasma-question-about-whites/0_60
You might also go through the GT50 thread and try some other settings. "Black ops", I think it is, has some popular settings. I also found that I preferred the warm1 setting to the warm2 that most calibrations seem to end up at. I suspect that's a byproduct of five years of overly bright LCD viewing. It was a little discouraging at first. But I absolutely love it now.

Nice to see that someone else experienced what I did. Makes me feel like there's hope for me!! I'm going to follow your advice and look for some settings that meet my preference. Glad to see that there are some people who respond to help---which is what I thought the purpose of the forum is. THANKS!!!
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post #11 of 14 Old 12-03-2012, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
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IN RESPONSE TO SEMP1:

I posted because I was looking for help finding settings. While your conclusory statements are accurate and you surely :eek:had fun looking down your nose at me--where's the beef? How would you recommend that I, a mere novice, actually go about amending the settings to get something to "brighten" up the Katzmaier settings so many use as a benchmark (which some have stated they use in lieu of paying to calibrate their sets). By the way, the fact that many others shared/experienced my concern validates the legitimacy of my question.
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post #12 of 14 Old 12-03-2012, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckin96 View Post

Very interesting comments BidDaddy which I can relate to and in some aspects share. For the past 5 years our only TV set in the house has been a 46" XBR4 in a family room with multiple windows on 2 different walls (very bright room). We probably sit 8-9 feet away from the screen (maybe less). Anyone who has come over and watched OTA HDTV on this set has been simply amazed by the picture - bright, crystal clear, very rich colours. During the day with our window blinds open (unless it is overcast) our viewing mode is the default VIVID setting. I actually think I have one of the picture settings cranked up even higher b/c the room can go so bright. When lighting is controlled I have my own CUSTOM setting I use which is geared towards getting the best contrast. As great as this XBR4 set has been/continues to be, I've known all these years that once the basement was finished a plasma was going down there. On certain Blu Ray movies the motion jitter or blurring on the XBR4 is very bad. Try watching the scene in the Dark Knight on BD when that long haired euro gangster stooge meets up with Dr. Crane/Scarcrow's crew in the parking garage at night... (remember, when the phony batman posse shows up? "My dog's are hungry"). The motion blur is so bad in that scene, especially when they haul out the junkie from the van and throw him onto the floor. There's actually several parts in the Dark Night on BD that are like this. For some reason the "CINEMA" view mode works the best at reducing the motion blur but its still there. Another thing I've learned to live with is that the XBR4's contrast ratio is not that great. In a well lit room the TV can make blacks look ink black by delivering such an awesome bright and intense picture, but in a dark room it can't hide its limitations. I often strive to get the blacks on a TV to blend with the black bezel or frame, so for example 2.35:1 aspect movies that show black bars top and bottom I like when these black bars on the image completely blend in with the black bezel around the screen, so that in a dark room you only see the actual 2.35:1 image on screen completely surrounded by black. This is impossible to achieve with our XBR4's even with the back light set to 0 and the picture settings significantly reduced. Many times did I try to hit this milestone until the day I realised when the image on screen is COMPLETELY black and the TV has even auto dimmed itself (after a perceived amount of time being all dark) the black screen will still light up a totally dark room lol. The black bars will always look greyish next to the TV's black bezel. But even having said all this and knowing the screen's weak points, this dinosaur of a TV set still delivers an awesome picture in the room it was intended for. I wouldn't consider replacing it with anything else. BTW I personally do not like the new LED LCD's - does anybody else find those new LED back lights deliver an almost unnatural hue? Like you can tell the brightness is artificial??
Well then, the basement was finally finished - like in the last 2 weeks! smile.gif I haven't had much time to sit down there b/c furniture has yet to be delivered but my new 65" Panasonic GT50 is up on the wall and the home theatre is all connected. I've been down there with a folding chair a couple times in the last week to play around and slowly dial everything together. Some of my observations mirror what you said BidDaddy - the picture on the GT50 is definitely "dimmer" overall. Less intense/vivid would probably be the best way to describe it. I also find that watching OTA on the Panny is not as "clear" or "sharp" as it is on our Sony... I read a comment posted by another member to this effect. But there are a few things to consider: I'm sitting (or will be sitting) 15 feet away from my GT50 downstairs (screen to eyes). With the TV now mounted and me placing a chair dead center 15ft away, this monster 65" actually looks small for the space believe it or not. But what I'm getting at is the advent of High Definition television actually reduced the ideal seating distances based on screen sizes due to the increased picture detail. When I move my folding chair and sit 10-12ft away from the screen the image starts to look sharper and clearer. I should have speced my seating a few feet closer now that the TV is here. Also consider that a smaller size screen will ALWAYS make the same picture appear clearer and sharper. As for the dim image, well that is the nature of the beast. I'm sure we can play around with the VIVID setting on the GT50 to chase the kind of stand out picture we are accustomed to enjoying on our Sony's, but that's really not what you want to do with a set like this. In fact, this is fastest way to run into IR issues. Like you I have used Cnet's custom settings on my GT50 as well as Black Op's setting (which are almost identical except for brightness being bumped up 8 points). I've compared Custom setting to THX Cinema and even tweaked THX Cinema the few times I've been down with my set. I think if you explore the options this TV set has you will able to find a really good sweet spot. I think I'm getting close. **Another thing I will share with you BidDaddy is that LIGHTING CONDITIONS makes all the difference in the world when viewing this set. The times I had the TV running for exercise while I was setting up other things in the basement with the "big lights" on, yes the screen looked very dim regardless where/how I looked at it. THX Cinema is not a great mode to use with any sort of useable lighting present. But the minute I killed the lights completely or set the pot lights to an extremely low ambient level, boy was that when I started to really get lost in the picture! These GT50's shine in the dark. I think back to those nights when I'd kill the lights upstairs and fight with my Sony to try and get the greyish bars on the screen to look just a little closer to actual black, and now I'm in heaven. I'm actually really impressed with how "film like" the image on the GT50 is. And I've only just started to explore and realise the potential of this black beauty wink.gif
Final thought/suggestion: if you REALLY want to wow your wife. Watch a really dynamic image on your XBR4 in Vivid mode or your customized one, then sit down in front of your GT50 with the lights dimmed at least (or better yet completely dark), and watch something 3D on this set. I didn't buy the TV for the 3D feature but I got a bunch of 3D glasses and promotional disks from our buddy at Panasonic who got us the TV, and it is simply stunning. The other night I watched a demo scene of the Grand Canyon in 3D... its like watching Vivid on the Sony x 10 in 3D! Crazy.
Give the GT50 time. You'll soon discover how awesome this set is. And remember room lighting is everything! There's no way this new GT50 would ever be able to compete with my XBR4 upstairs, just as the XBR4 would never dare set foot in the basement now that the black Panasonic has moved in HUUUAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!! :P
Stuck--I can't thank you enough for taking the time to share your thoughts and recommendations, it's constructive, well-thought out feedback like yours that makes this forum a great place. That also goes for the majority of you all. i will keep at it and let you guys know what I think. PS I'm not running break-in slides
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post #13 of 14 Old 12-03-2012, 10:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckin96 View Post

http://hometheaterreview.com/its-time-to-get-over-pioneers-kuro-hdtv/
Just stumbled upon this link while googling "Panasonic plasma vs. kuo". I guess to be fair I also came across this:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20034816-1.html
Both seem to be articles from 2011.
I like that you posted links detailing both viewpoints. As for me and most other Kuro owners, I think we'll dismiss the first. tongue.gif As for the second, Katzmaier carries a lot of weight with his reviews. The PRO-111FD is still his reference set almost 5 years later, which should say something (and whenever I view the TV in a dark environment especially, I realize there's absolutely nothing to "get over").
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post #14 of 14 Old 12-05-2012, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinnie97 View Post

...whenever I view the TV in a dark environment especially, I realize there's absolutely nothing to "get over"...

To a Kuro owner, I'm sure there isn't wink.gif As one online comment I once read put it, "I'm going to be buried with my Kuro" LOL. With that kind of fanaticism you've got to wonder how Pioneer's business case to build the best plasma in the world went so horribly wrong. Talk about epic alright. The bean counters seriously miscalculated their numbers when it came to looking at production costs, MSRP targets, the intended demographic... "Samsonite, I was WAY off!" There was also one other key factor.

I always wanted a Pioneer plasma, if nothing else to satisfy my longstanding brand loyalty. My 46" XBR4 was a wedding gift. Back in 2008 they were hard to get and my two new brother-in-law's had to move quick to secure one. Great TV. My father got his 53" XBR4 in '07 so I knew exactly what was in the box. But before I opened mine up I seriously considered exchanging it for a Pioneer plasma. Many months later my wife almost died of shame when she found out I had went so far as to call each of her brothers to ask their blessing if I could exchange it. Back then it would have cost me well over a grand plus tax to trade up to a 50" Pioneer non Elite Kuro plasma (if I remember correctly). In the end the room and lighting conditions is what made me keep the XBR4 and it was obviously the right decision. If Pioneer were still around today I would have seriously looked at them but no more seriously than Panasonic. The Kuro fan who was kind enough to grace this thread and so eloquently illustrate how his plasma defecates on every other product available today actually has it dead wrong when he stated, "Were the other mfgers THAT far behind?" The competition were in fact not as far behind as Pioneer had gambled their $1B Kuro project on. This was the other major factor that helped nail Pioneer's plasma coffin. They consciously focused to win over the high end, cream of the crop consumer plasma market thinking there were enough people out there willing to pay the most for the absolute best. Turns out there wasn't, plus rapid advances from the competition I'm sure didn't help to sway any wannabe Kuro owners who were on the fence. Suddenly, you weren't paying a huge premium for a huge improvement in picture, you were just paying a big premium for the best picture that was quickly becoming only marginally better than the alternatives.

Its funny to read about people seeking out used Kuros on the internet. Who would buy a big, ugly, used dinosaur of a plasma somebody else used for 4-5 years? There's at least one for sale locally to me - description says 60" Pioneer plasma, 4 years old, almost new, rarely has been used. Bought for $7600 selling for $2300 (CAD). Should I consider investing in this commodity and then flipping it to the craziest Kuro yuppie? Maybe the member here with the runny Kuro would be interested in up-sizing.

Could I sell this thing for $5k?
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