I received my PL4260N yesterday afternoon (got it less than a week after ordering directly from HP). Here are my impressions so far....
PQ is fantastic. I am using an HR10-250 DirecTV DVR connected to the TV via HDMI. When my friend and I first starting watching the HP, we were both amazed at the PQ. We later realized that the HR10-250 was set to 480p output. Once we changed to 720p, we were REALLY amazed. We also tested 1080i output, but IMO there wasn't much difference between 1080i and 720p on the HR10-250.
Colors are very good on this set. I watched recorded versions of CSI Miami (HD), various recordings of Sunrise Earth, and an episode of GetOut filmed in Australia. The HP had fantastic color reproduction without looking over saturated. I personally didn't notice any color pop or push as described in other PDP threads. Skin tones also looked good. Keep in mind that I DID NOT change any settings other than to tone down the brightness and contrast for the 100hr break-in period. This set looks fantastic right out of the box. This was a blessing since my past experience with a 42" LCD required quite a bit of tuning to get a good picture. This was not the case with the HP.
This is my first Plasma and I'm coming from an LCD which I felt had very poor black levels. To me, the HP has great black levels (similar to my 27" Sony CRT), but I can't comment on how it would compare to a Panny, Pioneer, Hitachi, or an NEC PDP. The only thing I can say is that black levels look fine in my home
The OSD is very good. It has a crisp, professional, and logical appearance. This was a major change for me coming from a set that had a very poor OSD. My only complaint may be that the text on the OSD is a bit small but I may be able to change that in the menu somewhere. BTW, the zoom modes work well on this set too.
The remote control is also nice. It does not have a backlight, but that's about the only negative thing I can say about it. The buttons have a good feel and the shape is very ergonomical.
Per my earlier post, the asthetics are, IMO, top notch. Very simple and very clean. The bezel does not reflect light and the HP logo is just the right size. There are some logos printed on the lower right hand side of the bezel, but they are very understated and don't attract any attention.
I'm not using the side speakers, so I can't comment on their sound quality or their appearance when mounted on the set. Per an earlier post, I did see both the 42" and 50" sets at my BA with the side speakers and felt they looked fine.
I really don't hear any fan noise from the set. I checked because other threads mention this as an issue with other brands. I wouldn't say this is an issue with the HP at all. The noise coming from my set is quieter than that of my HR10-250.
I have not watched any DVD's yet. My DVD player is old as the hills and the best output it has is S-Video. It isn't even progressive scan. I plan on buying a new upconverting player soon and will report my findings.
OTA looks fantastic, but keep in mind my antenna is connected to my multi-switch and then to my TIVO. So, I'm not connected directly to the TV's built-in HD OTA tuner. Either way, my local HD channels look fantastic.
One last positive comment -- my friend who helped me unpack and install the PL4260N is an LCD fanatic. He and I always argue about LCD and Plasma. After watching my set last night, I think it's fair to say that he is a plasma convert. His biggest complaint about plasma was the space between the pixels and how visible the pixel grid is on a PDP. Last night was the first time he'd seen a plasma at the proper viewing distance (not from 3 feet at a store display) and he was blown away. He currently has a 37" 1080p display LCD and felt the HP had a much better picture. He's now giving serious consideration to the 50" HP for his basement. I think that's a good testimonial to these displays.
So, is everything perfect? No - nothing is. The TV takes a while to display the picture once you turn it on. Again, I'm new to PDP's. This may be normal. After you press the power button, the screen stays black for a second or two until an HP logo appears along with a message that says "initializing". After another 5-8 seconds, the picture will appear. Again, this may be typical of PDP's and isn't a deal breaker.
When I change between resolutions (480, 720, 1080), the screen turns pinkish and blinks a few times until the next resolution is displayed. My LCD took the same amount of time to switch between resolutions but the screen would turn blue until the next solution was set. On the HP, the video signal stays on the screen while transitioning between resolutions but looks awful in the process. I think this is pretty minor because I don't intend to do this much.
The glare of the screen is pretty bad during the day. I have a large window in front of the TV that faces North. I don't get direct sunlight through this window, but I do get quite a bit of ambient light which reflects off the HP's glass. I know this is common on plasmas and I can't complain too much. Luckily I can sit on a different part of my couch to avoid this glare during the day
I really can't use this as a slam against the HP, but it's something to consider for any potential plasma buyer (regardless of the vendor).
I really wish I had two HDMI inputs. I can take the money I saved and either buy an HDMI switch or a new receiver with HDMI switching built-in should this become an issue. For now, I'm going to have to debate on whether to give my HR10-250 or my new DVD player the HDMI port.
I'll try to post some pics tonight. Overall, I'm very happy with this TV so far. Per my earlier comment, I can't say how it would compare to another major brand, but I have no intention on returning this set to find out