42/50" HD Plasma: Panasonic TH-42PX60U vs. Samsung HP-S4253: Which camp are you in? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-24-2006, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Plasma units under consideration:
Panasonic 42" Plasma HDTV (TH-42PX60U)
Samsung 42" Plasma HDTV (HP-S4253)

Missed the cut (see below): Hitachi UltraVision 42" Plasma HDTV (42HDS69)


I am a newbie to the HD world but have made the decision (and convinced the wife) that it is time to upgrade from my 29’’ RCA CRT to either the Panny TH-42PX60U or the Sammy HP-S4253 42†plasma HDTV. The Hitachi 42HDS69 with its 1080i native resolution in a 42†was also on my short list but was cut due to some potential serious issues with PQ (floating black/brightness) that have not been adequately resolved in the eyes of some owners who have posted in another thread in this forum (url). Comments either supporting or to the contrary of this are welcome.

While I extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed to this forum, which I am completely addicted to at the moment, I am having a very difficult time deciding between the Panisonic and the Samsung. Based on previous versions of these Plasma screens, the Panny was the hands down winner. However, the S-series Sammy has apparently made tremendous strides towards reaching the top of the second tier of plasmas with Panasonic (under Pioneer), and according to some professional reviews the new Panasonic is a step back compared to their last version (PCMagazine and PCWorld, CNET gave a positive review). After visiting both BB and CC and comparing the models, in what was probably torch mode, the Sammy looked better in both cases and the skin tones on the Panny appeared washed out. First impressions can be powerful but I don’t want to be misled by f’d up settings. Answers to the questions below would go along way in helping me make my decision.

PICTURE QUALITY
Is there truly a significant difference in PQ, color, brightness, depth of blacks, noise, pixilation etc. between these sets once they are properly adjusted?

I know this is kind of broad, but I am looking for anyone who has a noticeable problem or praise in any of these areas.
- Do the 549 billion colors that the Sammy can display really make a difference compared the 29 billion of the Panny?
-Do skin tones really look like “clay†on the Panny even after it is calibrated?
- Can the black levels on the Sammy be calibrated correctly to bring out good depth, which seems to be a strong suit of the Panasonic?
- Is the problem of floating blackness a problem with either unit?

FEATURES
Without ever owning an HDTV it is hard to know what features are essential for a great viewing experience. So how do the features of these sets stack up to one another?
- Is it a problem that the Panny does not have PIP or other “burn in†preventive features?
Holy hell, speaking of burn in, I am pretty sure that I have “burn in†from reading this forum! I switch to other sites to search for info and all I see are purple bars where the words should be. Totally freaked me out….but I digress.
- What zoom in/scaling features are a must have? This seems to be one of the biggest complaints that I have seen raised against the Sammy.
- How big of a problem is it for the Panny not to have PC (RGB) input? Can you hijack one of the other inputs for the PC?
- Does the Sammy have an off-timer built in like the Panasonic?

OTHER ISSUES
SDTV

A big one…how do these plasmas handle SDTV? In a perfect world everything would be HD, but that will probably not happen in the lifetime of this set, so it has to be able to handle SDTV. So far from what I have seen, the Samsung seems to have amassed more complaints than praise with regards to this issue. Anybody want to put in their two cents?

BUZZ
A number of reviews on and off this site have described a loud buzz (audible at 3-6 ft during quiet scenes) with the Panny. Is this just normal and comparable to the sound a Sammy would give off? I think it will be nearly impossible to determine this in store.

GLARE
From some pics posted on the Sammy review thread (url) and a Panny thread (url), it appears that the Sammy is much more glare resistant than the Panny. I would appreciate any additional pics to try and get a better perspective on this topic.

BEZEL
With regards to the bezel, the Samsung wins hands down. I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the Panasonic bezel is fugly. Besides the look, do these units have any caveats when it comes to hanging them on a wall? Setting on an entertainment center?

OK that’s it. Time to have at it; preferably in Ultimate Fighter style. We don’t want to be completely uncivilized in here. ;)

Any help/opinion would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-24-2006, 04:58 PM
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Your choice of font color makes your question nearly impossible to read. Many of use use AVS White... at the bottom...

Ohh and BTW I didn't camp in eaither of your camps...you should get the NEC 42XR4 ;)
Beautiful PQ & Aesthetics & Features

But back to you questions...
PQ : Can't go wrong with the Panny although it is no where near as configurable as say.... an NEC
SDTV : More Source related, A good source will look GOOD/OK if not good source will look OK/POOR.
BUZZ : Funny about the Panny buzz remarks, they are notriously quiet...you know you will read more about negatives in the forums usually than positives.
GLARE : They are both large pieces of glass... and you really can't tell from pictures it all depends on where the light is coming from and where you are sitting, do you have Glare on you set today? If not ... its not an issue... if so you will have some glare on the panel too.

I would choose the one you reallly want, you have probably have one that is edging out the other...those Sammy are getting pretty good reviews and they are a Hell of a lot better looking....am I close?

Good luck..
Really take a quick look at the NEC 42XR5...

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post #3 of 13 Old 06-24-2006, 06:15 PM
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Sammy S4253 are flying of the shelves like hot cakes.

But I would opt for the NEC 42XR4 ,anyday ;)
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post #4 of 13 Old 06-24-2006, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the heads up on the font difficultly, I will see if I can change it through an edit.......
It was my first post and I wasn't exactly sure which font would read the best.

With regards to the info on SDTV, I agree. I think the source will be very important. I am already preparing to rewire my house/source with an updated RG-6 cable. Right now it is a much lower version of coax (still wrapped with copper, acts more like an antenna than an insulator for background). In addition to this, I though that each set has its own unique algorithm for handling SDTV, conversion from 480 to 720/1080? Do you know if one has a better track record?

I have seen some of the fixes like running two feeds from the cable box, one HDMI (for HD) and an S-video (for SD) and then alternating between the sources. I was hoping that one might just handle it better outright. I am not sure I should be quite as concerned about this as I am now decided on a 42" and not the 50". Less space to spread the turd-vision out.... :)
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post #5 of 13 Old 06-24-2006, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I checked out the NEC 42xR4 but found it odd that it didnt have any HDMI inputs? Also, is it worth the extra 500-600 bones over the Panasonic or Samsung? I have not seen one on display, just from online pics and descriptions.
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-25-2006, 06:02 AM
 
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Personally I prefer the Pannys for their deep black levels and accurate colors. However, you should buy the plasma you are more comfortable with. Reading your post it does seem you are leaning towards the Samsung. If you want, you can also see if there are independent third party reviews of these sets. Of course not all reviewers are fair and balanced but that's another data point...if everyone says something is bad, then you can at least suspect something may be wrong.

I haven't done much research on the Samsung....
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post #7 of 13 Old 06-25-2006, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cknights
I checked out the NEC 42xR4 but found it odd that it didnt have any HDMI inputs? Also, is it worth the extra 500-600 bones over the Panasonic or Samsung? I have not seen one on display, just from online pics and descriptions.
Ohhh...Not true..Not True... NEC 42XR4 has 2 HDMI inputs, the website is a bit confusing.

Take a look at this...the spec sheet...
http://www.necvisualsystems.com/cms/.../NEC100519.pdf

And here are the differences for the added cost.
12 bit processing = 4096 grey scale
Highly Configurable / adjustable. The User accessible adjustments of the NEC far outclass what is avaible in the 60U. This is a huge difference to me.
Aesthetics... Not even close
Workmanship.. if you get a chance take a look at both panels up close... the Panny has a very inexpense look and feel, the NEC is finely crafted and oozes quality, has nice touches like built in handles, well fitting caseing, bezel etc.
Best Zoom and Stadium Modes in class (IMHO) that matters to me... the Panny "Just" vs the NEC stadium, the NEC Stadium mode, Plus NEC has built in 2.35:1 mode, which is awesome if you want to get rid of the letterboxing, this feature does not exist on the Panny
Great Scalar & De-interlacer in class
The Stand (separate for NEC) is a world class stand as opposed to the Panny Duck feet.
NEC has no speakers... I don't need them and perfer the money into the panel and electronics.

Now.. The Panny (which my father bought... he is a Consumer reports guy) is a nice set with good PQ, and he is very happy...
but I have the NEC and it is definitely a step up... but I am obviuosly biased

But in the end you need to buy what that little voice in your head says to buy...
Good luck :)

Ohh and the best font color to use ... is no color... the schemes will take care of it... just make text Bold/Large/Italics that you want to emphasize...

Long Live The Gorn!
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-26-2006, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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bvader,
Thanks for the spec sheet. I looked it over and it sound great. I thought something wasnt right with regards to the HDMI slot. And I agree with you, the scren itself is a beaut and the list of zoom modes is impressive.

I stopped over to the NEC thread to see if I could get a feel for some of the other pros and cons.

I am a little concerned with the pixel grain and video noise mention in this review by Ofar Laor.
I will post the link in my next post, avsforum still thinks that I am a spamming threat....

Space in my living room is limited and the best seats in the house will have a viewing distance of 5.5 to 7 feet. It sounds like the grain mention in this review, and by some owners, really only applies if you are closer than 7 feet, which unfortunately will be me. I am going to try and find a place in the Northern Va/DC area that has one on display so I can go take a look for myself.



.
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-26-2006, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cknights
bvader,
Thanks for the spec sheet. I looked it over and it sound great. I thought something wasnt right with regards to the HDMI slot. And I agree with you, the scren itself is a beaut and the list of zoom modes is impressive.

I stopped over to the NEC thread to see if I could get a feel for some of the other pros and cons.

I am a little concerned with the pixel grain and video noise mention in this review by Ofar Laor.
I will post the link in my next post, avsforum still thinks that I am a spamming threat....

Space in my living room is limited and the best seats in the house will have a viewing distance of 5.5 to 7 feet. It sounds like the grain mention in this review, and by some owners, really only applies if you are closer than 7 feet, which unfortunately will be me. I am going to try and find a place in the Northern Va/DC area that has one on display so I can go take a look for myself.

.
Come on over and join us in the NEC thread for a while...
BTW... we have discussed the review you are refering too.. 7ft is pretty close... but grain can sometimes be in the eye of the beholder/interpreter...

Read here and below....
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...84#post7778784

cpcat is an extremely knowledgable and even/fair member.

Long Live The Gorn!
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-26-2006, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
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plazman:
So it was that obvious that I was leaning toward the Samsung, lol. I hate to admit it, but the Panasonic is just too ugly when it is not in use. In reality that probably shouldn't weight too much on my decision, but again first impressions rule. You may have heard about this new study they just came out with that people can decided the competency of an individual in less than a second
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/conten...urcetype=HWCIT

I am pretty sure that this rule applies to me and plasmas. :)

I am still comparing 3 sets, the Samsung, Hitachi, and now the NEC! Both the samsung and Hitachi were striking in the store. I am off to find a NEC this weekend. The Samsung looked great, but last years model was such a lemon that I am a little hesitant. One thing with the Hitachi (besides the problem I mentioned in my first post) is that it has a crazy native resolution of 1024x1080, which from my understanding means the horizontal axis is descaled almost 50% (from 1920). From my readings that is not a very desirable thing when the other aspect is unscaled. Some crazy ass rule about proportion constraints and scalers. Anyway, I am not a video snob (just a research freak) so as long as the screen delivers a great pic I will be happy.

And here is the link that I couldn't post above describing the pixel noise issue: http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...06-part-1.html
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post #11 of 13 Old 07-11-2006, 02:30 PM
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Anymore comments guys?
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post #12 of 13 Old 07-11-2006, 03:56 PM
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Black levels on the Samsung have been great for me after adjustments in Game mode and turning up brightness levels in the in-game menu. I have the HPS-5053. Even Condemened (very dark game) looks great during the day or night. I admit I was about to go with the Pannasonic 60 But I am happy with my decision. I am sure the NEC is a quality product. I would stay away from that funky resolution with the Hitachi however. You may want to take a look at the 42 8UK from Panasonic as well.

222222 cents!
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post #13 of 13 Old 07-12-2006, 12:30 AM
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I have the Samsung S5053, and it is truly impressive.
However, I wouild recommend that you bring some of your favorite source materila with you the your favorite store and see which one really knocks you out.
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