Post-CES Bargain Hunters Guide: Panasonic Plasmas - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter
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When the new crop of TVs are announced each year at CES, it's the end of the line for older models. Late winter and early spring is the best time to be a late adopter, but the trick is to figure out which deals represent a true bargain, and which deals to avoid. However, this is unique in television history, and dedicated videophiles need to take notice.

Another look at Panasonic's curved OLED display
Curved OLEDs were plentiful at CES 2014, while plasmas were nowhere to be seen

For 2014, some of the biggest news for late adopters is that Panasonic is discontinuing its top-rated line of plasma TVs. Plasmas offer the best image quality for the dollar, and the 2013 Panasonics were praised for raising the bar in that regard. Because they are so well regarded, it's unlikely that you'll find a new one on clearance—but when it comes to open-box units, there are bound to be some bargains.

The first thing to consider is open-box versus clearance items. Clearance sales are self-explanatory; you get a new-in-box item for a good price, end of story. Open-box shopping is a bit more of an art, but the rewards are potentially greater, if you know what you are looking for and how to look for it. For example, there are open-box units that were returned by customers, and then there are the store-demo units. Often, the very best deals are store-demo units, but each store usually only has one, so you have to be savvy and act quickly.

At some point, last year's TVs will come off the walls. Often, they will be missing the remote and TV stand. Just as often, those TVs represent the best bargains you'll find, because the extra savings factored into the open-box price because of those missing items can go directly toward a good wall mount and a programmable universal remote control.

Although you will find open-box merchandise at numerous retailers, I often find myself relying on Best Buy for the majority of my open-box A/V purchases. The company website recently added a feature that lets you search for open-box and clearance merchandise within a certain number of miles of a zip code—that's the key to tracking down the best bargains. If you are willing to drive an hour or two to get a great deal on a TV, you could potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

When buying a plasma that served as a store-demo unit, the main thing you should look out for is burn-in. The lifespan of modern plasma panels is such that a year in a store display is not a big deal. In fact, I would argue that most electronics either break early on, or they last for a long time. A TV that has lasted a year in a store is probably going to last a few more years in your home. Regardless, make sure that the TV you buy comes with a warranty.

You might be asking, why buy an antiquated technology like 1080p plasma when there are new 4K/UHD TVs on the market? And what about OLED?


Panasonic's VT60 comes very close to OLED image quality at a fraction of the price

CES 2014 saw the introduction of many new OLED TVs as well as LED-lit LCD UHDTVs. Still, there is a strong argument for buying a 1080p plasma. UHD/4K content is relatively rare, and upsampling has no tangible effect on image quality—a great HDTV looks just as good as a brand-new and much more expensive UHDTV when playing a Blu-ray. Dark-room viewing on a premium plasma can look quite exceptional—in fact, the best plasmas come rather close to achieving OLED image quality, at a fraction of the price for the same-sized screen.

As far as timing goes, it's going to be another two months before Panasonic officially ends sales of plasma televisions—March 31 to be precise. Until then, I don't expect to see too many discounts on the better models, including the ST60, VT60, and the ZT60 series.

Videophiles who have followed the saga of the Pioneer Kuro know all too well that plasma image quality does not always win out over the public's perception of plasma's pitfalls. For various reasons that do not necessarily relate to image quality, LED-LCD televisions rule the flat-panel market. However if you want to watch all of the currently available content out there in the best possible quality on a flat-panel television, you can't do better than a Panasonic plasma.

AVS forum has a Great Found Deals category for plasma TVs that includes dedicated threads for each model. A quick glance shows that there are already some good deals to be had at various Best Buy/Magnolia locations. The last of them will be on sale soon enough. Do you think it's worth buying a plasma in 2014? If so, is it worth waiting for clearance sales and store-demo units or is now the time to buy?

 

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post #2 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 12:49 PM
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Nice post! Too bad that for many, the last of these are already gone.

My system 2013-14

Panasonic TC-P65ST60, TH-50PX75U, Pioneer VSX-33, BDP-150, Fios, Yamaha RXV2500-P2200x2, Infinity QLS, M&K V-75x2
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post #3 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 12:59 PM
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+1

And, it is near impossible to find any deals on Panasonic Plasma's in Canada; their prices seem to be locked up by Best Buy and Future Shop.
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post #4 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 01:14 PM
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Good write up, however, Panasonic VT and ZT series are just about impossible to find. If you can find one, it usually comes at a premium (MSRP or above). Also, I would be really weary of buying a plasma that was a demo unit. Many of those things run for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. Of course, you can check the timer in the service menu, but it still doesnt give you any indication of how the TV has been handled while on display.

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post #5 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fulton246 View Post
 

Good write up, however, Panasonic VT and ZT series are just about impossible to find. If you can find one, it usually comes at a premium (MSRP or above). Also, I would be really weary of buying a plasma that was a demo unit. Many of those things run for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. Of course, you can check the timer in the service menu, but it still doesnt give you any indication of how the TV has been handled while on display.

That would add up to 3,650 hours after one year, or about 3-4% of its lifespan. Not a big deal IMO.

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post #6 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 05:08 PM
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I am praying for a miracle, I will have enough money for a VT in a couple weeks if any are left. Pickings are slim for sure. I should have bought one instead of buying Christmas presents. tongue.gif

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post #7 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 05:54 PM
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When the news first broke last year, I thought the Pannys might go fast,

but never in my life did I think they would be NIGH UNCATCHABLE after less than FOUR WEEKS. Just wow.

No I am not in the market, saving for a projector tongue.gif
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post #8 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 06:28 PM
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I'm travelling for work at the moment... The Sears in this po-dunk town has a showroom full of Panasonic Plasmas....guess the local WV natives don't care for the price tags....
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post #9 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heresnowhy View Post

I'm travelling for work at the moment... The Sears in this po-dunk town has a showroom full of Panasonic Plasmas....guess the local WV natives don't care for the price tags....

Which town in West Virginia? I only live a couple of hours from certain parts if WV. I'd be willing to make a road trip if they had what I was looking for. I have an S64 from SAMs and I would like to grab an ST or VT also.
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post #10 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 08:53 PM
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Surprised I just scored myself an open-box/returned 50ST60. Plugged it in and it looked good. Missing the manual and glasses, but I can use the glasses from my ZT. In great condition, Oct 13 build w/ just 110 hours. Didn't really need it, but had to buy it considering these are so scarce.

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post #11 of 33 Old 01-24-2014, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoooth View Post

Which town in West Virginia? I only live a couple of hours from certain parts if WV. I'd be willing to make a road trip if they had what I was looking for. I have an S64 from SAMs and I would like to grab an ST or VT also.

Shoot, I would drive from Minnesota for a VT.

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post #12 of 33 Old 01-25-2014, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris5028 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoooth View Post

Which town in West Virginia? I only live a couple of hours from certain parts if WV. I'd be willing to make a road trip if they had what I was looking for. I have an S64 from SAMs and I would like to grab an ST or VT also.

Shoot, I would drive from Minnesota for a VT.


With as cold as its been here in Minnesota Chris I would drive anywhere just to get the hell out of the cold!!!!!!mad.gif
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post #13 of 33 Old 01-25-2014, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoooth View Post

Which town in West Virginia? I only live a couple of hours from certain parts if WV. I'd be willing to make a road trip if they had what I was looking for. I have an S64 from SAMs and I would like to grab an ST or VT also.

Bridgeport WV. The store in the MeadowBrook mall....has Clearance tags on a lot if not all of them.
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post #14 of 33 Old 01-25-2014, 07:51 AM
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As a owner of a 55" GT50 I found one benefit, 3D glasses are dropping in price just picked up a pair for 60$ :-) make sure you have enough before they are gone.
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post #15 of 33 Old 01-25-2014, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dargo View Post

As a owner of a 55" GT50 I found one benefit, 3D glasses are dropping in price just picked up a pair for 60$ :-) make sure you have enough before they are gone.
Umm you can get the samsung SSG-5100GB glasses for a little less than $20

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-SSG-5100GB-3D-Active-Glasses/dp/B00BIP816Q/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

They are compatible with my ST60 and after a little research they are also compatible with your GT50

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1404905/best-3d-glasses-for-a-panasonic-st50

Cheers

Hook 'em
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post #16 of 33 Old 01-25-2014, 12:19 PM
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I am definitely happy with my 65ST60 ($1914.) and my 50ST60 ($859) and I am in Western Canada. You have to have several dealers...we do. The 50" will see much less hours on it and it is a backup.........I cannot stand LED ...........cloudy with meatballs for sure!!
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Originally Posted by heresnowhy View Post

Bridgeport WV. The store in the MeadowBrook mall....has Clearance tags on a lot if not all of them.

Thanks. They didn't have any 65" models. I'll keep trying. I may just grab a F8500 at this point.
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post #18 of 33 Old 01-26-2014, 09:53 AM
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+1

And, it is near impossible to find any deals on Panasonic Plasma's in Canada; their prices seem to be locked up by Best Buy and Future Shop.

if we're lucky though, there will actually be stock. last year's vt50 was cleared out at a good price here in Winnipeg, that was actually my plan last april, but I was just a bit too late(luckily actually). I could see a handful of vt60 still being around, and being sold maybe in the 2500(for 65) range, but it'll definitely be hit or miss based on location. my only concern is that some of these smaller shops won't need to clear them out because they won't have a new model to replace them with.

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post #19 of 33 Old 01-26-2014, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fierce_gt View Post

if we're lucky though, there will actually be stock. last year's vt50 was cleared out at a good price here in Winnipeg, that was actually my plan last april, but I was just a bit too late(luckily actually). I could see a handful of vt60 still being around, and being sold maybe in the 2500(for 65) range, but it'll definitely be hit or miss based on location. my only concern is that some of these smaller shops won't need to clear them out because they won't have a new model to replace them with.

If you do happen to find a deal, please post the location on this link:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1513883/post-panasonic-plasma-deals-in-canada

Might as well help out other Canuck's wink.gif
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post #20 of 33 Old 01-26-2014, 03:43 PM
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As luck would have it, I was able to snatch up a 60" VT60 from Best Buy the week before Christmas, brand new in the box. At the time, his computer only showed 70 in the entire south east region. Perfect timing for our old Samsung LCD to have another panel go bad.

Great article, so glad I didn't miss this boat like I missed the Kuro boat.
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post #21 of 33 Old 01-26-2014, 09:54 PM
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Any chance I could pick up a good plasma for $500-550 ish? I'm in Virginia and willing to travel a bit to get it. I get the impression you guys are all drooling over $1500+ 60 inch+ tv's though...

I just want something to set up in my room to tide me over for a few years before I get a monster. I was thinking in the 36-50 range.
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post #22 of 33 Old 01-27-2014, 12:56 AM
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Got my 65VT60 for $2294 from Amazon on 1/2/14.

Called about a week or so and got a price match down to $1999 biggrin.gif

Destroys my 2009 P54S1 Panny plasma

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post #23 of 33 Old 01-27-2014, 02:08 PM
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I tried to find a deal at a Costco when they had a 55 inch Panasonic 3D model for $599. I think they may also have had 60 inch non 3D model for ~$1200 IIRC. I got lucky and found a display model listed for cheap on Sear's Outlet website. The problem is that their listing are all over the map price wise and the cheapest TV listed may be 2000 miles away from you. The good news is that you can sort by price or distance so maybe you could get lucky and find a cheap one near you. I found a 50" UT50 3D for $300. I had to travel a little over 200 miles one way to get it, but I considered it enough of a bargain to waste a day going to get it.

Here's a link to Sear's Outlet listing just Panasonic plasma TVs. http://www.searsoutlet.com/d/products.jsp?md=srh_md&stxt=panasonic+plasma+tv

Here's a listing for the 50" UT 3D for $400 if you happen to be near Memphis, TN. http://www.searsoutlet.com/d/inventory_details.jsp?cid=892&pid=96205&mode=buyUsedOnly&to=cart&pn=1&ps=10&disp=sel&ffmChannelDelModeInApp=SPU&deals=No&itemSelectionType=all&&zip=31792 The next lowest price listing is $879.

It's listed as reconditioned. I think we all know Sears doesn't have reconditioned TVS, so it's either a customer return (open box) or more likely a display model as mine was. So if you find one nearby at a cheap price immediately put it in your cart and buy it. Unfortunately none of these are usually available for shipping and have to be picked up in the store where you find it. They most likely don't even still have the original carton so don't expect to get it. You can then call later and speak with someone in the department to make sure you are getting the owner's manual and the original remote. OEM remotes aren't cheap and any number of functions may not be accessible without it. Buyer beware. Mine had the aforementioned so I was good to go. Make sure you have a vehicle that allows you to be able to transport the TV in an upright, cushioned and stable condition. If your'e serious about finding one keep watching. They currently list having 129 of the 60" 3D TC-P60ST60 starting at $1020, so we should see those dropping progressively. I said progressively and not precipitously so just keep watching. Note: These TVs come with a full new warranty when purchased. BTW I love my TV and never would have thought I would be saying "I love 3D". GLTA
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post #24 of 33 Old 01-27-2014, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

When the new crop of TVs are announced each year at CES, it's the end of the line for older models. Late winter and early spring is the best time to be a late adopter, but the trick is to figure out which deals represent a true bargain, and which deals to avoid. However, this is unique in television history, and dedicated videophiles need to take notice.

Another look at Panasonic's curved OLED display

Curved OLEDs were plentiful at CES 2014, while plasmas were nowhere to be seen


For 2014, some of the biggest news for late adopters is that Panasonic is discontinuing its top-rated line of plasma TVs. Plasmas offer the best image quality for the dollar, and the 2013 Panasonics were praised for raising the bar in that regard. Because they are so well regarded, it's unlikely that you'll find a new one on clearance—but when it comes to open-box units, there are bound to be some bargains.


The first thing to consider is open-box versus clearance items. Clearance sales are self-explanatory; you get a new-in-box item for a good price, end of story. Open-box shopping is a bit more of an art, but the rewards are potentially greater, if you know what you are looking for and how to look for it. For example, there are open-box units that were returned by customers, and then there are the store-demo units. Often, the very best deals are store-demo units, but each store usually only has one, so you have to be savvy and act quickly.


At some point, last year's TVs will come off the walls. Often, they will be missing the remote and TV stand. Just as often, those TVs represent the best bargains you'll find, because the extra savings factored into the open-box price because of those missing items can go directly toward a good wall mount and a programmable universal remote control.


Although you will find open-box merchandise at numerous retailers, I often find myself relying on Best Buy for the majority of my open-box A/V purchases. The company website recently added a feature that lets you search for open-box and clearance merchandise within a certain number of miles of a zip code—that's the key to tracking down the best bargains. If you are willing to drive an hour or two to get a great deal on a TV, you could potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.


When buying a plasma that served as a store-demo unit, the main thing you should look out for is burn-in. The lifespan of modern plasma panels is such that a year in a store display is not a big deal. In fact, I would argue that most electronics either break early on, or they last for a long time. A TV that has lasted a year in a store is probably going to last a few more years in your home. Regardless, make sure that the TV you buy comes with a warranty.


You might be asking, why buy an antiquated technology like 1080p plasma when there are new 4K/UHD TVs on the market? And what about OLED?



Panasonic's VT60 comes very close to OLED image quality at a fraction of the price


CES 2014 saw the introduction of many new OLED TVs as well as LED-lit LCD UHDTVs. Still, there is a strong argument for buying a 1080p plasma. UHD/4K content is relatively rare, and upsampling has no tangible effect on image quality—a great HDTV looks just as good as a brand-new and much more expensive UHDTV when playing a Blu-ray. Dark-room viewing on a premium plasma can look quite exceptional—in fact, the best plasmas come rather close to achieving OLED image quality, at a fraction of the price for the same-sized screen.


As far as timing goes, it's going to be another two months before Panasonic officially ends sales of plasma televisions—March 31 to be precise. Until then, I don't expect to see too many discounts on the better models, including the ST60, VT60, and the ZT60 series.


Videophiles who have followed the saga of the Pioneer Kuro know all too well that plasma image quality does not always win out over the public's perception of plasma's pitfalls. For various reasons that do not necessarily relate to image quality, LED-LCD televisions rule the flat-panel market. However if you want to watch all of the currently available content out there in the best possible quality on a flat-panel television, you can't do better than a Panasonic plasma.


AVS forum has a Great Found Deals category for plasma TVs that includes dedicated threads for each model. A quick glance shows that there are already some good deals to be had at various Best Buy/Magnolia locations. The last of them will be on sale soon enough. Do you think it's worth buying a plasma in 2014? If so, is it worth waiting for clearance sales and store-demo units or is now the time to buy?

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Nice article but I'm keeping what I have,one thing I learn in this life nothing last for ever,so im not going to dwell on it.
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post #25 of 33 Old 01-27-2014, 06:33 PM
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That looks like exactly the deal I'd want. Unfortunately I live in Northern Va and memphis is 830~ miles away (about $180 in gas round trip) =/

I called and they said because it wasnt in a warehouse it couldnt be shipped so thats a no-go. Thanks for the headsup though, hopefully someone here will grab it.
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post #26 of 33 Old 01-30-2014, 05:53 PM
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I finally made the big jump after contemplating month over month to get a Panasonic Plasma or a Sony LED (I get a 20% discount on Sony TVs)... I originally started looking for an ST60. When I finally decided to get it in late December because of the news that Panasonic was stopping production I found out that they where all sold out. I sacrificed and went with the VT60. I guess I got lucky because I was able to get one of the few left in the NJ area.

 

I had to drive an hour away from home to pick it up in a BestBuy warehouse but it was well worth it... In love and will be for the next few years.

 

Next step is getting some really good tower speakers. I have decided that I want a 2.1 system.... Already started doing my research on those.

 

Good luck to anyone looking for the last great plasmas.

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post #27 of 33 Old 01-31-2014, 02:03 PM
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That would add up to 3,650 hours after one year, or about 3-4% of its lifespan. Not a big deal IMO.
Hope you're right about that expected lifespan. I just purchased a P50ST60 off of the wall at Best Buy. I always said I'd never buy a demo TV, but it was looking like that or nothing. Had to search this site to find how to read the hour meter (not impressed with the owners manual), and found 3,502 hours. I'm telling myself - if it sill looks great after all this time, it must not be a lemon. Paid $860.00 with stand, remote and two pairs of glasses.
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post #28 of 33 Old 02-06-2014, 10:00 PM
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Just picked up a 60ST60 at BB. It has some nasty burn in so it is going back. A lot of BB stores still have them as displays but ask for a remote and run the screen wipe before you buy it. The one I am returning has "Panasonic" burnt into the middle of the screen. Looks like I will be going with an F8500 now. You can search on BBs website under clearance.

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post #29 of 33 Old 02-09-2014, 05:54 PM
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http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-TC-P60VT60-60-Inch-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B00BC4SKSW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1391996937&sr=8-2&keywords=panasonic+vt60

Wow, what a difference a month makes. $3500 for a 60" VT60 on Amazon now. Becoming harder and harder to find new ones.
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post #30 of 33 Old 02-10-2014, 01:15 AM
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http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-TC-P60VT60-60-Inch-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B00BC4SKSW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1391996937&sr=8-2&keywords=panasonic+vt60

Wow, what a difference a month makes. $3500 for a 60" VT60 on Amazon now. Becoming harder and harder to find new ones.

I tried my darndest to find one under 3k and couldn't. I have a F8500 now. I may have to put a Panasonic sticker over the Samsung logo...

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