This is my first post here... I need help, so I've come here to the experts.
Here's the deal: I'm on the fence about which of these TVs to buy. They all seem to be the best at what they do--the Samsung 8500 is the best LED, the Pioneer the best plasma of all time (if I believe all that I read), and the Panny the best plasma on the market today.
They all have pros/cons, and it's very tough to compare since it's not apples to apples. I also need to decide quickly since there is only 1 (ONE) Pioneer left in my area (about 50 miles away). I would need to go buy it today. It's a small mom and pop store and if I buy it, then I'm keeping it... No Best Buy-type return policy on this baby since it's discontinued. So I need to be sure about what to get. HELP ME!
The real problem is that seeing ANY of these in the store is deceptive. In the case of an LED or LCD, the TVs may be set to the max contrast and backlighting. A Plasma's reflective screen doesn't seem so bad in a darkened showroom. You don't get to spend an hour fiddling with the settings to see how good the picture can be. And sometimes, the TVs are just being fed off a coaxial cable--which doesn't help you gauge HD and the TV's true limits.
Here's my take:
1. Pioneer Pro 101-FD... $3000
Pros: supposed to be the best of the best... the holy grail of TVs. The Pro 101-FD has handpicked components, etc. and so it is supposed to be a step above the equivalent ELITE TVs. Reviewers still compare all new TVs to the Pioneer Kuros. This could be my last chance to get one of the best TVs ever made (if you believe everything you read).
Cons: Pioneer no longer in TV business; worried about continued support. No speakers since it's just a monitor (don't care about the tuner, but I'd need to shell $$ for a sound system day one)--I'd buy the equivalent ELITE TV model if I could find one. Reflective screen. Haven't been able to see one in person yet--may have the same lack of crispness that I've seen in the Panny plasma (could be common to plasmas?).
2. Panasonic TC-P58V10... $2700
Pros: Top rated TV of 2009. According to CNET, second only to the legendary Pioneer.
Cons: I feel like the picture definitely has smoother movement than an LED, but I also feel like it lacks a crispness or sharpness to the picture. The details don't seem to pop. I've tried playing with some of the settings, but I didn't have enough time with it to see if I could get the same crispness that the Samsung 8500 naturally seems to have.
3. Samsung UN55B8500... $4000
Pros: Phenomenal TV. I've spent the most time with this one. Super-thin. Extremely sharp, crisp picture. Samsung rep on TVs is great. Big improvement over the 8000. Second-best rated TV of 2009 (second to the Panny).
Cons: Perhaps still too early in LED technology? Pixelation/movement and the typical drawbacks of LCDs and LEDs. Some things--TV, movies, sports--look like they've been shot on a camcorder. It takes a lot of tinkering with the settings to get it to look "normal" or at least close to normal. I've played with turning the 240hz off and on to see if I could get smoother movement. Once you do get the settings right, movies seem to look great. I cannot get sports to look all that good.
OK... Not taking price into consideration, what's the expert verdict here? Would love to hear people's opinions and their votes about which way to go on this.