I read through this thread. As well read a lot about current Panasonic line up as well as VT50. I am primarily interested in 65". Never owned a plasma before. Hardly ever watch TV. Want it only to watch movies occasionally - once or twice a week. Not interested in gaming or 3D. Just good viewing experience. I am upgrading my 12 year old Hitachi rear projection to Plasma.
I was in the Best Buy store and they had one VT50 (open floor display model) available for really low price of $1900.00. The Magnolia sales person sounded knowledgeable and was not pushy. I won't fault him for trying to push me towards VT60. He didn't seen interested in selling ZT60 to me
He showed me the VT50 with alternating pattern of vertical white and dark bars scrolling. He indicated that being a floor model this particular TV had some burn-in. Burn-in he indicated appeared to me as barely noticeable horizontal irregular line (may be about 2mm thick) in the lower one-third of the screen and similar vertical line on the left side of the display. Both barely visible even with the white background. It is only in the white background they are visible. I asked him if it can be washed out. He said it is possible. His main argument against buying it was that in their stores they run these displays from morning till the evening. The customers come and change the settings. Therefore who knows how it has been handled. I am planning to go today with the slides and ask him to play it. And also check the service menu for number of hours on the TV.
I read discussions about accessing the service menu voiding the warranty. I don't think Magnolia person doing it should void anything. I will ask for that.
The second best buy store in the area has a returned VT50 from the factory with motherboard replaced. The sales person in that store strongly discouraged me even buying that particular TV since he knew his history. He mentioned that the TV had been returned twice by two different customers. Both times it was sent to the factory and this was second time it came back with the motherboard replaced. It was a coincidence that the TV rolled in at the same time I asked him if he had any VT50s. The price tag in the system is $2200.00. He said he wants to avoid selling it to anyone, since motherboard needing to be replaced twice made him suspicious that there was something else going to cause the motherboard to go faulty. Even though refurbished models carry the same warranty and this has returned from the factory, I am little surprised that two different customers bought it and had to return it for the motherboard failure.
The third VT50 is from someone on the craigslist, eager to sell me a model for $1900. Was initially told that it was open floor display model. Now I am told that they don't know its origin. The TV dealer is 2 hours drive away. I asked him to check the service menu and tell me the log for the number of hours. He refuses to do so saying it will void the warranty. He is offering me to come check it out but that is 2 hours drive. Not sure if I want to go all the way. So this choice is probably out of contention.
The first best buy is my preferred one if everything checks out. Any input on if those lines that the sales guy claim is burn-in are just IR or something else?
I was planning to by S64 from Costco. But VT50 for under $2000 is very enticing. Not sure if I want to spend money on new ST60 (in which case I would rather buy new VT60). Given my sparse TV viewing habits, if VT50 checks out, I would rather buy it.