First, my ridiculous Best Buy experience. I had been considering buying the Panny for a couple of weeks now, and went to my local Best Buy to check it out again. I wanted to check out some of the features of the TV, and see if I could improve on the poor "out of the box" picture that BB uses. However, when I requested the remote so I could access the features of the TV, the guy at the TV counter told me they don't have the remotes, because the customers were walking off with them. Wow :eek: Here I am, looking to spend over 2k at their store, and I can't even take the product on a proper "test ride". Needless to say, I simply walked out of the store, and drove to the Magnolia AV store down the street.
They had the Panny there, along with the 42in director's series Hitachi. Comparing the two models side by side, it appeared that the Hitachi had a superior picture, even after tuning the Panasonic (they let me handle the remote at Magnolia!) and getting what I thought was pretty close to the best picture for the panel. I hadn't even researched the Hitachi, or even looked at it at any of the other store visits I had made before, but I was quite impressed with its picture quality. It seemed to me that it approached the quality of the Pioneer Elite that was hanging with the other displays.
Now the Hitachi was quite a bit more expensive, but there was also a open box model on display that was roughly the same price as the Panny. I asked the store employee who was talking with me about the displays about provenance of the display, and after some digging he found that it had been sold to someone who returned it in short order after finding they could get a better deal on the display elsewhere.
Now, I'm a little nervous with buying an open box item, especially on a plasma, but at first blush, it seemed the display was in fine working order, and the quality of the picture seemed superior to the Panny.
So I'm wondering, does anybody else have experience comparing these displays? What are their relative strengths/weaknesses? I'm specifically wondering about the ALiS glass for the Hitachi, and what burnout reduction features the Hitachi has. I'm also worried about going for the Hitachi if it's been on display (They were running the contrast pretty high on the set), and I'm worried about the wear and tear it's undergone during it's "first 100 hours"