Best 50" plasma money no object - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 04-12-2007, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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i haven't been on this board in a few years. bought a fujitsu 42" HD set 2 years back thanks to all the advice i got here.

now moving into a new place, want the best 50" plasma money can buy. thinking about the Runco, Fujitsu, or Pio Elite.

any advice? is fujitsu still leading the pack? is there a clear choice? can i go wrong with a new P50?

many thanks

jr98
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post #2 of 33 Old 04-12-2007, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr98 View Post

i haven't been on this board in a few years. bought a fujitsu 42" HD set 2 years back thanks to all the advice i got here.

now moving into a new place, want the best 50" plasma money can buy. thinking about the Runco, Fujitsu, or Pio Elite.

any advice? is fujitsu still leading the pack? is there a clear choice? can i go wrong with a new P50?

many thanks

jr98

I believe most people would say the Pioneer Pro-FHD1. But I'd wait on that purchase if I were you... look at the thread about 80 percent lower black levels.

I don't know what I am doing! AHHHHHHH!!!!
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post #3 of 33 Old 04-12-2007, 06:36 PM
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it's till somewhat subjective and really up to your eyes and wallet to decide. there is a $5000 difference in the 5070 and the fhd1 and some prefer the 5070 because it has better black levels and contrast and the 1080p resolution of the fhd1 is not seen past 6.5 feet, so Your Mileage May Vary..........

why not get a much larger 60-65" Panasonic, Pioneer, NEC, Fujitsu or Runco if the money is no object.

agree with johnny wait and see what the new pioneers show in the next 2-4 months, it is supposed to be a nice leap on plasma tech, something worth waiting for.

HD HD HD I Need more HD, Yes I am a HD Addict :)
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post #4 of 33 Old 04-12-2007, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr98 View Post

i haven't been on this board in a few years. bought a fujitsu 42" HD set 2 years back thanks to all the advice i got here.

now moving into a new place, want the best 50" plasma money can buy. thinking about the Runco, Fujitsu, or Pio Elite.

any advice? is fujitsu still leading the pack? is there a clear choice? can i go wrong with a new P50?

many thanks

jr98

If money is no object, would you consider putting an external video processor with the display? That might affect the recomendation.

Cheers,

Gary
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post #5 of 33 Old 04-12-2007, 06:45 PM
 
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I've owned Panny plasmas for several years and now own a Pio FHD1 for around 6 monthd. While it IS true the Pio FHD1 isn't the best when it comes to black levels the video processing is top notch. The image is silky smooth and colors really pop. I have no complaints about the FHD1 and IF you're into HD DVD or BD, this is a great display - I sit 8 ft from mine.

I haven't seen the Panny 1080p plasma, but I can't imagine it being any better than this. The build quality is excellent. I really went back and forth between getting this, the Pio Elite or Fujitsu. All of which seemed to be better than the Panny 8UK when it came to HD DVD PQ.

If you're going to watch SD TV, I'd say any of the top 720p plasmas, including the commercial Pannys will be better than the FHD-1. IMO due to it's poor black levels. But with HD DVD or BD it just doesn't matter. Better resolution, better colors, silky smooth video processing and superb build quality make the FHD1 an excellent choice I would recommend

Even better if you buy it with a BD or HD DVD (or both) player
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post #6 of 33 Old 04-14-2007, 03:07 AM - Thread Starter
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surprised a post like this generated so little discussion. there must be some videophiles out there
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post #7 of 33 Old 04-14-2007, 03:08 AM - Thread Starter
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oh and i can't get anything bigger than the 50 because of room constraints. price not being an object for a plasma doesn't mean price isn't an object for a manhattan apartment
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post #8 of 33 Old 04-14-2007, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr98 View Post

surprised a post like this generated so little discussion. there must be some videophiles out there

I believe many still think of the Fujitsu as the best, I know I certainly do.
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post #9 of 33 Old 04-14-2007, 07:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr98 View Post

i haven't been on this board in a few years. bought a fujitsu 42" HD set 2 years back thanks to all the advice i got here.

now moving into a new place, want the best 50" plasma money can buy. thinking about the Runco, Fujitsu, or Pio Elite.

any advice? is fujitsu still leading the pack? is there a clear choice? can i go wrong with a new P50?

many thanks

jr98

Best 50" is going to be a MATURE well reviewed 720p set. Like a Pioneer 5070 or the Elite version, the newly released Samsung's perform I find surprisingly well also. NEC makes some nice PDP's also. BUt I would go with a 720p still unless your going to be planted 4-5 feet or closer in front of the screen.
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post #10 of 33 Old 04-14-2007, 01:06 PM
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This guy here did an in-home comparison between these two plasma studs. Or so I am told. I'm running low on stud quotient myself.

Mourning the disappearance of the -ly suffix. Words being cut-off before they've had a chance to fully form, left incomplete, with their shoelaces untied and their zippers undone. If I quote your post (or post in your thread) without comment, please check your zipper.
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post #11 of 33 Old 04-14-2007, 03:24 PM
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I spent over a month searching for a great picture and I believe I found it. Try the 50" Vizio. 15,000 to 1 contrast. Good SD picture. Stunning HD. I am watching the Red Sox game in HD and I've got my baseball glove ready just in case a foul ball is hit my way. I can't help but think Vizio is a rebranded Sony. I dunno how they can sell such a good quality set for so much less. There was a Panasonic next to the Vizio at the store, and the Vizio had a better picture.

Just because people pay more money does not mean they are buying better.
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post #12 of 33 Old 04-14-2007, 11:30 PM
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Hi,

I'm the person who wrote feedback on the Fujitsu compared to the Runco SP-50 I spent about 10 days or so running the Fujitsu side-by-side with the Runco and I think you would be hard pressed to find a much better plasma than the Runco SP-50 for the money. I'll caveat that right up front by saying I have not seen the newest plasmas from any manufacturers as I stopped looking about 6 weeks ago. I have also not looked at some of the Ultra high-end brands like Bang & Olufsen, but I read they are very nice as well. I also did not look at some notable brands like NEC, Marantz, etc. I did however spend about 2 months recently researching and watching, in-home, the latest crop of plasmas (and one RPTV) from mid-high end brands that I could reasonably get my hands on.

The Fujitsu is great, but IMHO the Runco surpasses it in a number of areas including black level, color gradation (less false-contouring), processing, stretch modes, glare resistance, finish, speed of operation, and other features. If you like the Pioneer "look" the Runco is very nice. I almost kept the Fujitsu as I have a problem with rainbows on Pioneer panels Pioneer panels, but I liked the Runco enough to buy it anyway...and my wife was whining because she really wanted to keep the Runco. The Panasonic panels have a different look than Pioneer that I'm usually partial to so the Fujitsu had the edge from the start, but I think the Runco just performed better. In the end I had to give up one of them and Fujitsu was easier to give up even though it cost me less than the Runco.

I spent some time watching the FHD1 in the store, but I didn't really study it too much. I felt that from my seating distance of 11-12' I would not really notice the additional resolution of the FHD1 over the Fujitsu and Runco, but I felt I would regularly notice the expected improved black levels of the SP-50. Plus I might have had to modify my cabinet to fit the FHD1 so I wasn't looking too hard. I did look enough to notice what I thought were pretty elevated black levels, but a smooth picture as mentioned above by plazman.

The store where I bought the SP-50 did not have it in stock to compare to the FHD1 so I could not speak much to the differences from a side-by-side comparison. I made an assumption when I ordered the SP-50, sight unseen, that it would be similar to the Pioneer Elite 1140, but with better processing and that's exactly what I believe it is like now that I have it in my possession.

I must note that I am having problems with one of the DVI connectors being very slow to display a picture from my cable box and HD DVD player. I'm hoping it can be corrected. If it were not for this issue (I don't know if it's a common issue or not) and the rainbows (not a problem most will see), I would be very happy with the Runco.

For reference, I had the Samsung 5033, Pioneer 5070, Panasonic 9UK, Pioneer Elite 1140, Fujitsu 51US/B, and Runco SP-50 in-home before settling on the Runco. I didn't have them all at the same time so not all were compared directly to each other except from memory. Please note that none of these plasmas were professionally calibrated, but they all received a basic AVIA calibration by me.

Runco announced their Vidikron VP-5000 just after I received my Runco SP-50. I believe they will be similar in PQ based on what I have heard, but the VP-5000 has different connections and features.

If you haven't seen the Runco or Vidikron brand plasmas you should definitely do so.
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post #13 of 33 Old 04-22-2007, 03:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adb View Post

I believe many still think of the Fujitsu as the best, I know I certainly do.

Seconded - though the 58 series and presumably the new Aviamo are the ones to go for as the competition has just about caught up with the older 51 and 40 series.
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post #14 of 33 Old 04-26-2007, 11:05 AM
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Runco seems to be using Pio glass ... check the specs on SP-50/SP-50xa ... 1365x768 ... note the 1365 ... same as Pio Elite 1140/1540. If this is correct, how are the black levels any better than Pio?
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post #15 of 33 Old 04-26-2007, 11:29 AM
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I'd spring for a runco plasma if you want the best of the best, be sure to get it calibrated by a pro or make sure you get the proper tools to do it yourself.

Runco plasmas I believe come with an outboard processor that is of ungodly quality. If money truly is no object, then get a runco because they are amazing! I've seen one side by side with a pioneer (both 50" models) and the runco just seemed to have the edge.

If you'd rather save money, the pioneer is a great choice.

"If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.."
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post #16 of 33 Old 04-26-2007, 12:25 PM
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I was torn between the 50" Runco and the Fujitsu as well (and the the Elite 1130/1140 at the time). Having the advantage of getting either Fujitsu or Runco at cost plus 10%, price wasn't the largest factor in my decision, though the Runco still would have run me a good chunk of extra dough, I think it was like an extra $1800 over the Fujitsu.

Anyway, what sold me on the Fujitsu was the slightly sharper image that the panel seemed to convey. No matter what I did to the Runco, it just looked a little too "soft." Mind you, I was comparing the PQ on these panels to my Sony 34XBR960 and the 38" Loewe Aconda, and I still thought that the image was too soft. It just seemed to lack the detail that I saw in the Fujitsu. I also felt that the black levels in the Fujitsu were a step above the Runco. Maybe the latest Runco panels have improved, but as others have mentioned here, the 50" Runcos do use Pioneer glass, so I seriously doubt that they have gotten a better black level out of those panels versus the 50" Panasonic glass in the Fujitsus.

However, I will give the Runco the edge in color rendition (just like the Pioneer models that share the same glass). There is something just "right" about the colors on the Runco. Granted, the model I was demoing had been ISF calibrated (the Fujitsu next to it had not been, just a basic set up by me). I've gotten my Fujitsu XTA51UB to look pretty darn good, but I still think the Runco would beat it out on color accuracy (but only by a tad).

I will also give the Runco the edge on the false contouring. I have noticed some false contouring my my Fujitsu. It's not enough to make me regret my purchasing decision, but it is there. The Pioneer/Runco panels seem to exhibit less false contouring.

I guess the video processing on the Runco is better, but with the "softness" I observed in the picture, I'm not sold. The processing on the Fujitsu is really quite good. Even standard def analog TV is surprisingly watchable, with digital SD and HD looking very good to fantastic. Planet Earth on Discovery HD has been amazing.

One other win for the Runco is the bezel. That brushed black aluminum is just plain awesome. As much as I like the gloss black on my Fujitsu, it looks almost cheap in comparison next to the Runco. The Runco's bezel will reflect a little light as well, since it is a brushed finish as opposed to glossy.

The Elite FHD-1 is a nice set too, but if I were you, I'd wait a couple more months for the new Pioneer 1080P panels to hit the market. The allure of much greater black levels would be far too tempting to me. If they can make the type of improvements they are talking about, they really should be the panels to beat. Elite color rendition/lack of false contouring with black levels approaching CRT? Definite winner.

The Runco, Fujitsu (the blackest of the three to my eyes), and FHD-1 could all benefit from lower blacks. The added resolution of 1080P does help the image look a little more "film/CRT" like in my opinion as well. Despite the whole resolution vs. distance argument, more pixels is pretty much always better. I think the current FHD-1 is probably the smoothest looking image right now, but as others have stated, if you are watching in a darkened room, the black level issues will be readily visible.

Short answer: Wait another couple of months to see the new 1080P panels. I'm sure that Runco and Fujitsu will be releasing panels based off of the new Pioneer tech, and they will probably be about the same price as the current panels.

I
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post #17 of 33 Old 05-01-2007, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Influence View Post


However, I will give the Runco the edge in color rendition (just like the Pioneer models that share the same glass). There is something just "right" about the colors on the Runco. Granted, the model I was demoing had been ISF calibrated (the Fujitsu next to it had not been, just a basic set up by me). I've gotten my Fujitsu XTA51UB to look pretty darn good, but I still think the Runco would beat it out on color accuracy (but only by a tad).

How come you didn't go for the slightly better Fujitsu 58 series?
Or waited for the Aviamo?
I only went for the 51 series as a 63" isn't available for the 58 series and the Aviamo wasn't out yet.
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post #18 of 33 Old 05-02-2007, 10:43 PM
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Hi,

A couple of comments. It was mentioned that Runco plasmas have external controllers. All Runco plasmas don't have external controllers. The SP-50 for example does not.

Influence, I'm wondering if you by chance saw last year's model Runco when you did a comparison. They clearly had higher black levels than the Fujitsu. The new models that were introduces in November of last year appear to be based on Pioneer's current panels and the blacks are very good. I don't know the data comparing the previous gen Panasonic glass in the Fujitsu compared to the newer Pioneer glass in the Runco, but subjectively the Runco blacks look better on most content. Moreover, I notice less glare off the Runco which makes blacks look even better in more lighting conditions. The Runco also has quite a sharp picture. I thought it was just as sharp as the Fujitsu when I compared them. I don't like soft pictures at all. In fact, I returned the Pioneer 5070 because I thought it was too soft. This is why I wonder if you may have seen last year's model.

Occasionally when playing around with the Runco I find other cool features. For example, one can setup a quick swap button on the remote to switch between any two frequently used inputs, it has a limited PIP function, etc. I also can't believe how fast the Runco is in operation compared to the Fujitsu as well. If you care about this type of thing, the Runco is truly faster at just about every operation from displaying channels on changes, changing aspect ratios, changing inputs, etc.

In addition, the Runco scores exceptionally well on the HQV tests and actually beats the Fujitsu in this regard. I imagine that makes sense as it looks like Silicon Optix provides processing for the Runco from what I've read. I did see a Silicon Optix chip on the board Runco replaced for me to address a problem I was having with one of the DVI inputs.

The bad thing is that it's expensive...especially with others dropping prices (unless Runco has done the same). Having said that, I brought home 6 plasmas and could not personally find one I thought was better at local dealers. The FHD1 was very good, but at my distances I don't think it was better, and, at the time, it was more expensive and didn't fit into my cabinet.

I don't mean to sound like a Runco commercial. I've tried to provide constructive feedback on other plasmas I've evaluated as well. I'm just hoping to provide some feedback for anyone looking at plasmas in this range and who is not planning to wait for next generation technology. IMHO, it would be a big mistake not to have a look at the Runco. The Fujitsu and the Pioneer FHD1 are great as well.

Here are a few side-by-side pictures of the Fujitsu and the Runco. This wasn't done in ideal conditions and they aren't the best pictures, but I was just looking for different things like black level, false-contouring, etc. and decided to take a few snaps so I remembered differences between the plasmas. Neither plasma had been professionally calibrated. The images are from different quality sources including SDTV, HDTV, and HD DVD.


Fujitsu and Runco Comparison Pics
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post #19 of 33 Old 05-02-2007, 11:19 PM
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Great comparison shots RPNYC
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post #20 of 33 Old 05-03-2007, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr98 View Post

oh and i can't get anything bigger than the 50 because of room constraints. price not being an object for a plasma doesn't mean price isn't an object for a manhattan apartment

On the new 1080p models, you'll be able to sit very much closer w/o seeing any pixel structure. In other words, on a new Pioneer 8G Pioneer Elite 60"er, you'll could easily sit as close as 5' away for that REAL Home Theater effect or 10'-11' away and still realize the resolution benefits of 1080p on a 60"er. Just how far away are you planning to sit from the display?
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post #21 of 33 Old 05-03-2007, 04:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doogiehowser View Post

I spent over a month searching for a great picture and I believe I found it. Try the 50" Vizio. 15,000 to 1 contrast. Good SD picture. Stunning HD. I am watching the Red Sox game in HD and I've got my baseball glove ready just in case a foul ball is hit my way. I can't help but think Vizio is a rebranded Sony. I dunno how they can sell such a good quality set for so much less. There was a Panasonic next to the Vizio at the store, and the Vizio had a better picture.

Just because people pay more money does not mean they are buying better.

the 50 inch vizio uses an LG panel. nothing in plasma is a rebranded sony, because sony no longer makes plasma panels. they are only into LCD now.
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post #22 of 33 Old 05-03-2007, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyril View Post

How come you didn't go for the slightly better Fujitsu 58 series?
Or waited for the Aviamo?
I only went for the 51 series as a 63" isn't available for the 58 series and the Aviamo wasn't out yet.

I purchased my Fujitsu in July of 2006. There was no 58 or Aviamo series yet.
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post #23 of 33 Old 05-03-2007, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by RPNYC View Post

Hi,

A couple of comments. It was mentioned that Runco plasmas have external controllers. All Runco plasmas don't have external controllers. The SP-50 for example does not.

Influence, I'm wondering if you by chance saw last year's model Runco when you did a comparison. They clearly had higher black levels than the Fujitsu. The new models that were introduces in November of last year appear to be based on Pioneer's current panels and the blacks are very good. I don't know the data comparing the previous gen Panasonic glass in the Fujitsu compared to the newer Pioneer glass in the Runco, but subjectively the Runco blacks look better on most content. Moreover, I notice less glare off the Runco which makes blacks look even better in more lighting conditions. The Runco also has quite a sharp picture. I thought it was just as sharp as the Fujitsu when I compared them. I don't like soft pictures at all. In fact, I returned the Pioneer 5070 because I thought it was too soft. This is why I wonder if you may have seen last year's model.

Occasionally when playing around with the Runco I find other cool features. For example, one can setup a quick swap button on the remote to switch between any two frequently used inputs, it has a limited PIP function, etc. I also can't believe how fast the Runco is in operation compared to the Fujitsu as well. If you care about this type of thing, the Runco is truly faster at just about every operation from displaying channels on changes, changing aspect ratios, changing inputs, etc.

In addition, the Runco scores exceptionally well on the HQV tests and actually beats the Fujitsu in this regard. I imagine that makes sense as it looks like Silicon Optix provides processing for the Runco from what I've read. I did see a Silicon Optix chip on the board Runco replaced for me to address a problem I was having with one of the DVI inputs.

The bad thing is that it's expensive...especially with others dropping prices (unless Runco has done the same). Having said that, I brought home 6 plasmas and could not personally find one I thought was better at local dealers. The FHD1 was very good, but at my distances I don't think it was better, and, at the time, it was more expensive and didn't fit into my cabinet.

I don't mean to sound like a Runco commercial. I've tried to provide constructive feedback on other plasmas I've evaluated as well. I'm just hoping to provide some feedback for anyone looking at plasmas in this range and who is not planning to wait for next generation technology. IMHO, it would be a big mistake not to have a look at the Runco. The Fujitsu and the Pioneer FHD1 are great as well.

Here are a few side-by-side pictures of the Fujitsu and the Runco. This wasn't done in ideal conditions and they aren't the best pictures, but I was just looking for different things like black level, false-contouring, etc. and decided to take a few snaps so I remembered differences between the plasmas. Neither plasma had been professionally calibrated. The images are from different quality sources including SDTV, HDTV, and HD DVD.


Fujitsu and Runco Comparison Pics

I did my shopping in June/July 2006, so I guess these were "last years" Runcos I was looking at, which were definitely a little bit soft looking and lacking in black level compared to the Fujitsus at the time.

I must say, your comments and pictures will certainly get me to check out the newer Runcos, but now, I'm looking for something 60" or larger. a 50" at 10.5-11 feet of viewing distance isn't totally cutting it for me anymore. I really can't wait to see a Fujitsu or Runco based off of the this new Pioneer panel that everyone is hyping (I hope it truly is a break through in panel tech). Only time will tell.

Of course, now I'm in the planning phases for a revamp of my entire audio system in my media room. Even with my industry hookups, Sonus Faber Cremonas or Vienna Acoustics Strauss don't come cheap, especially when I need 7 channels. Plus I'll need to do a new amp/pre-amp combo with this deal as well as my trusty Denon 3802 is just not up to the task anymore.

What a terrible world I live in.
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post #24 of 33 Old 05-03-2007, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr98 View Post

i haven't been on this board in a few years. bought a fujitsu 42" HD set 2 years back thanks to all the advice i got here.

now moving into a new place, want the best 50" plasma money can buy. thinking about the Runco, Fujitsu, or Pio Elite.

any advice? is fujitsu still leading the pack? is there a clear choice? can i go wrong with a new P50?

many thanks

jr98


I would have said the pioneer pro FD1 but www.hdguru.com says the new panasonic 750u is the best flat panel he has ever tested, and that it is clearly better than the pioneer in every aspect.
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post #25 of 33 Old 05-03-2007, 09:25 PM
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heh
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post #26 of 33 Old 05-03-2007, 10:21 PM
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Bottom line, wait couple of months for the new Pioneers to come out.
I find both the Runco and Fujitsu are overhyped and overpriced for the minor difference in PQ they offer(ed).
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post #27 of 33 Old 05-04-2007, 06:44 AM
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RPNYC, are you certain on who makes the glass for the Runco & Fujitsu? Both are 65"ers, and I had thought Panasonic was the only one making that size.
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post #28 of 33 Old 05-04-2007, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avs2avs View Post

Bottom line, wait couple of months for the new Pioneers to come out.
I find both the Runco and Fujitsu are overhyped and overpriced for the minor difference in PQ they offer(ed).

I never see a Runco or Fujitsu but here is what I found. Of course I dunno how accurate it is: http://www.avdeals.com/classroom/whomakesplasma.htm
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post #29 of 33 Old 05-04-2007, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by ishoong View Post

I never see a Runco or Fujitsu but here is what I found. Of course I dunno how accurate it is: http://www.avdeals.com/classroom/whomakesplasma.htm

Thanks for that link, very interesting. Still, no mention of who actually makes Runco's & Fujitsu's 65" size glass, only the 55" & under.
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post #30 of 33 Old 05-04-2007, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by doogiehowser View Post

I spent over a month searching for a great picture and I believe I found it. Try the 50" Vizio. 15,000 to 1 contrast. Good SD picture. Stunning HD. I am watching the Red Sox game in HD and I've got my baseball glove ready just in case a foul ball is hit my way. I can't help but think Vizio is a rebranded Sony. I dunno how they can sell such a good quality set for so much less. There was a Panasonic next to the Vizio at the store, and the Vizio had a better picture.

Just because people pay more money does not mean they are buying better.

Can you describe what it's like to get such a close-up view of your own lower intestine?
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