I was hesitant to chime in on this forum but I can no longer hold back after reading all the negative blows the organizers and guests of the shoot-out event have experienced.
I watched the video of the shoot-out from start to finish. Was it Pioneer biased? Perhaps. Was it skewed in favour of Pioneer by purposely not properly calibrating particular sets? I doubt it very much.
I currently own a 58" Panasonic, purchased about 14 months ago for a home theater set-up. I also own an LCD Samsung for our bedroom. Both are calibrated to their full potential. The Samsung cannot even come close to the Panny.
A co-worker of mine just purchased a 111FD which I viewed for the first time last week. This is an uncalibrated set using the "out of the box" settings with only a few hours on it. I can safely say that the 111 is superior to anything else I've seen even though it is still in an uncalibrated and new state. I was so impressed that I ordered a 151FD the very next day. However, part of that decision was due to the news that the 9G panel would be the last of the Pioneers as I was really hoping to wait for the 10G panel. So, if I wanted the best, now was the time to get it.
So, to those who are trying to convince themselves that their LCD's can magically be calibrated to compete with the 111/151, give your heads a shake. People who purchase a Pioneer don't purchase them to watch them in their bright sunny living rooms. (well, perhaps some do) Nor do they purchase them to watch SD TV....come on, this is a high performance HDTV. Get an old fashioned CRT if that's your desire. Get an LCD for your bright living room! If you watch daytime soaps, get an LCD. Try watching hockey on any LCD and not having a headache by the 3rd period. Those who purchase Pioneers are home theater enthusiasts who simply want the best for that environment. Are LCD's getting better? Sure they are. The LED backlit sets such as the 950 Sammy and the Sony XBR8 are now approaching or are at infinite black levels. However, they still have not mastered the shadow detail of Pioneers. Will they get it right? Probably, but until LCD manufacturers fix their off-axis viewing issues, they will not be able to compete fully with plasmas.
So let's not insult the organizers of the event because you are sour about the outcome. I dare say the Pioneers would have still come out on top if they were uncalibrated and each of the other sets were. They are simply better. Everyone knows it, so, come on get over it and go back to your bright living rooms and enjoy your LCD's.
Oh, I only counted 2 Pioneers in the shoot-out, so not only can't you admit what you see, you can't count either.
Whew! That feels better.