Overview at one month with the 800U:
There is no TV that is perfect; but this one is about as close as it gets overall.
With about 140 hours on it, it just continues to get better, richer, more accurate, more stunning.
Note for new owners of 800U. This picture you see in the first 5 hours of use is NOT the same picture you see after 100 hours of use. If you have any type of calibration disc, you will be able to confirm that yourself. This single biggest area of change I see is in overall screen purity. That one aspect purity looks just like any other HD set out of the box.after break-in it is in a class by itself IMO.
Sound system: At first I felt the sound had a flat spot. During the last week I spent a deal of time, just auditioning the sound. And more importantly comparing it to the 32 Trinitron. Our ears were so trained to the Trinitron which focuses only in the 250-1200 range, we thought that was normal..but of course it is not. The Panasonic simply does not have that Peak at 1,200 that we thought was a flat spot compared to the Sony's peak at 1,200. So I do stand by my very first impression the sound is excellent, smooth, even, pure, and solid; from about 40 to 20,000 (I should say as far up as I can hear?). The sound is clear and completely undistorted from a volume setting of 10 to 45. Be careful with sound: Just like Picture Quality; there are Good sources and Bad sources, so be careful not to confuse a Bad Source with underperforming sound system. It is just that the sound system on the 800U is so good it will reveal a lot of flaws in a Low Quality Sound Source.
Blacks, it is among the best, and addresses 98-99% of my requirements. It does produce blacks as dark as the frame, and you have to have High Quality source material to get that. Black details IMO in the 16-22 ranges are better than what I have seen on other sets.
Color Accuracy: I have not seen any set that is better.
Screen Color Purity combined with Lack of Video Noise combined with Lack of Crushing at both ends: Those three capabilities combined together is one specific area that Panasonic kills all the competition. From absolute black to absolute white, this set has far less video noise then any I have seen or tested. The screen lighting is more even and solid (purity), then any other display we have owned or tested. The sets' ability to reveal full black and full white details at the same time without crushing AND have pure whites (not yellow), is not touched by any other competitor on the market today. There are such a large number of models on the market today that produce very high levels of video noise in the 10%-20% range. A very high percentage of sets on the market today have very uneven screen lighting and exceptionally poor purity in the digital 160-200 range (often seen as false colors, or color blobs of red, green, or blue on what should be a grey screen.) It is those three items that I think has made the 800U so majorly popular. My wife makes simple. It just looks better
Fast Motion: It addresses all of my requirements, and it certainly kills any LCD's on the market today by a wide margin. Yes I know it is not as fast as DLP's (nothing is); but you have to give up way too much PQ in a DLP for the major gains in a Plasma.
Remote Control: Cnet and my wife love it. I hate it. I think it is stupid, I can't find the buttons in the dark, nor can I feel the difference in them. But surprisingly I do not watch the remote, strangely I watch the TV. So this is a non-issue.
The manual: It stinks. Just how many languages did it get converted to before it got to Texas English. I know for a fact it had to go through at least 25 iterations. Here is one simple example:
1. AI Sound: Equalizes overall volume levels across all channels and external inputs (on/off)
2. Audio leveler: Minimizes volume disparity after switching to external inputs (slider scale -10 to +10?)
Ok, so you think you kind of know what the two above explanations really mean don't you? - do they or do they not interact with each other? Is the AI sound really global as implied? Is the Audio Leveler, unique per port as implied? Maybe because it is under advanced settings? But why is Audio Leveler available under channels as well (a non external source, isn't it?)?
On Screen Help: Where are you? Not a biggie, but still, where are you?
Software and Program Information: No Program Content Information? No time clock from the station? The set's clock goes dead with power interruption? No start or stop time for the program? No visible slider bar for where you are (time wise) in the program? Is this a sitcom you are watching or a movie? That information tells you what you want/need to know. All the other companies have had that simple feature included for YEARS! Hello Panasonic this is not 1950.
The tuner: It's slow. Slower than Sony or Samsung, but still faster at tuning than Mit's (circa 2006). When switching between stations (flip/recall/whatever), it should be less than a second, getting to 3 seconds is a little annoying.
The CAT is dead: They failed to deliver the goods, what else can I say. Panasonic needs to figure out how to make that work correctly in a normal house. The CAT also has Extreme Rabies; it should not be killing color accuracy, gamma, or picture controls as it does now. Those are the real reasons everyone says to turn the CAT "off": 1. It does not work and 2. It has Rabbies if you turn it "on".
Like I said no TV is perfect. But from an overall HDTV stand point this is the best HDTV I have seen - EXCELLENT.
WOW, is all I can say.
Panasonic up by 1 in the 9th inning, the bases are loaded.
What will 2010 models bring?
Tripple Fast Motion?
Full Born CAT-Alive(not dead with rabbies)?
Full OTA Program Information?
Much Faster Tuner?
Wireless N Built-In?
No double image stuff?
Ok, so what will my opinion be at 1,000 hours.............guess we have to wait!