Can you provide a little more detail
Looking at the both in store the PQ looks exactly the same
Actually would have to say the LG looks more sharper and crisp and the more softer Panasonic
* LG 50PA6500 – 50" Plasma: $699 - Made In Korea
* Samsung E550 – 50" Plasma: $770 - Made In Malaysia
* Panasonic U50A – 50" Plasma: $830 - Made in Thailand
Well, black level is going to be best on the Panasonic and worst on the LG. The only way to even hopefully get decent black level on an LG plasma is to remove the back cover and adjust some pots on the TV, and the result will probably still be worse than the competition. If you're able to bring up a black screen on the display models, then see for yourself -- black should be darkest on the Panasonic and by far the lightest on the LG. LG plasmas are always the most prone to image retention as well. Even with all of the complaints that I'm hearing about IR on Panasonic's 2012 models, I really can't imagine that they will continue to be as prone to IR as they age as LG plasmas are. LG plasmas also have a much worse problem with color gradients than Panasonic or Samsung plasmas, and they may also have more dithering near black (the latter was a significant problem on older LG plasmas, but it may have been fixed). Some issues with the U50 are that it is pretty dim in its most color-accurate picture mode, its ABL is said to be somewhat aggressive, it may have more problems with IR than the Samsung, its image may appear a little soft, and it isn't suitable for a bright room. Its most notable strength is that it will have easily the best black level of the three. The Samsung might be something to consider if there is something that really turns you off about the Panasonic, like that its image appears soft or is too dim in cinema mode. But I really can't suggest that anyone get an LG plasma unless they are on an extremely tight budget or are just looking for a short-term solution while they wait or save up for a different, better television.
My 60PA6550 is made or at least assembled in Mexico and seems to have excellent black levels and PQ overall... not sure if it's a newer model or simply Costco only...
As I said, black levels are much higher on LG plasmas than on Panasonic or Samsung plasmas. Sorry, but it's true. CNET measured the 42PA4500 with a pretty terrible MLL of 0.0205 fL and said that it actually outperformed the 6500 in a direct comparison. That's 4 - 7 times higher than mid-level Panasonic plasmas, including the inexpensive U50. Black level has always been very high on LG's plasmas. My own 2010 LG was even worse, with an MLL of about 0.026 fL before I "tweaked" it, and I think CNET even measured a 2011 model at about 0.04 fL (astonishingly bad). They are still okay TVs if you can find a very low price on one, especially if you are willing and able to significantly lower the black level with the pots tweak. But LG plasmas, including the flagship 9700, are totally outclassed by the best plasma TVs that are available today.
Originally Posted by boondongle
Looks like its probably too late it that's way too much IMO for the U50. Paul's has them for $599.
The OP must be in Canada. TV prices are much higher in Canada than in the US.
Ah! When I first started looking, before I settled on my e7000, I was looking at the u50 and E550 as well. At that price range, I think I'd go for the U50. It doesn't have built in WiFi though, if you are into that.
Enjoy your Summer. We're expecting snow in Denver, CO tonight.
I'm getting ready to buy a 51" e7000 boondongle, how do you like yours? This will be my first plasma and will be used for movies and gaming usually. Is IR much of an issue? I go back and forth after reading on the forums.. Some seem to make it sound like IR and burn in are major problems with plasmas and others say its not. Just a little nervous as I've always had led but it leaves much to be desired.
Love the PQ of this TV. Can't be of much help with gaming IR. I've got an Xbox but not much time to play it. Tried some madden and Forz with no IR but it was only 1 game of Madden and a couple of races on Forza. I notice some very brief IR rarelya nd it goes away fast. Got some while browsing my free trial of Amazon Prime (which I'll probably cancel because it has horrible audio).
Absolutely love the picture on this TV. 3D is pretty good. No real frame of reference other than the movie theaters. And I've only got two movies to try with.