This will end up being long. I got a lot to say. Hope it doesn't p**s people off (too much), and thanks to those who actually read it all.
This is a very preliminary set of observations with my first few hours with the 151, 51 BD and URC MX-980 remote (along with the rest of my H/T setup). In time, if I have anything more useful to say, I'll report back. I got the set Wed.
My local store (one of about ten in the D.C. metro area that I've been buying from for decades) delivered and setup on time, as scheduled. Concurrently, the professional installer/programmer, who I've used before and is terrific, was there to help with the setup, and then programmed the remote. (URC strongly recommends that a pro should do the programming. After watching what he did, and clearing my swimming old brain, I concur. Happily I have the $$ for that.)
The set, even before it was turned on, looked just great on my BDI Icon 2-shelf stand in the living room. Very pleased. As compared to the chunky/clunky Sony SXRD 60XBR1 that I was coming from (although it had a very good picture). Also, no external defects. I'm in an apartment, so can't crank up the H/T audio too much. But I'm on the top floor, so at least no one above and a staircase on one of my common walls. The best case, considering.
So far, no stuck/dead pixels that I can see. And no buzzes, even when I'm right next to the set, although, being older, my upper tones are gone. However, I use very expensive (don't ask, you'd be shocked) state-of-the-art hearing aids which restore my upper range to about 8k. Gives me much pleasure back in listening to music and TV and movies. I no longer have to cup my ears to hear, say, low dialog, etc. Are the buzzes higher than 8k? Anyway, moot point for me.
The MX-980 is very cool and beautiful. Way more so than the MX-850 it replaced. All functions work (with one maybe minor exception - I need to explore it further before providing details). Looked at Comcast HDTV, SD and BD and DVD.
Now for the picture itself (for HD, of course. SD is watchable. 'Nough said.) In trying to come up with something unique to describe what I'm seeing, other than agreeing with you all that it's unbelievable, exceptional, breath-taking and all the cliches like "mind-blowing," knocks my socks off," and all the rest, I'll just say it has a combination of "POP" and "WOW" that I'll call "POW." Seriously! And this is for the Comcast HD programming, aside from the even more amazing BBC "Planet Earth" BD series. I thought my SXRD was great. Doesn't hold a candle to this set. I was worried the brightness of the 151 (and plasmas, in general) would be disappointing, after comparing them with the latest LCD's in stores. Not so! Also, reflections are minimal enough to not be a nuisance, even during the day. No windows face the TV.
It generously exceeds my expectations, even though I knew it should. I'm one to believe it when I see it. Don't get as disappointed that way.
Not proficient yet in deciding on which settings to use. Much fiddling ahead. As I mentioned earlier in other posts, I will not be undergoing the "rigorous" break-in period. I will, however, avoid using black bars and stationary logos and such for the initial 100-200 hours. I have, for now, set the TV to "Auto," which switches from HD to what seems like "Full" when, say, a 4/3 commercial comes on. Of course, SD 4/3 programming automatically is switched to that Full(?) mode. However, all the switching to Full takes several seconds to do so, which is a little disconcerting. I'll be mixing up all the various programming choices, and I'll be running the Planet Earth BDs continuously while Im home, but not watching, since these are in full 16/9 mode, with no black bars. Perfect for this situation of casual break-in.
Interestingly, the pro, who has the 111 at home, says he uses the "Performance" mode, which he like very much. Hmmm. I decided to take it down one notch and use the "Standard" mode. Very nice, to say the least. Just to make myself think I know what I'm doing, I lowered the contrast to 38 from 40 and the brightness to +2 from 0 (not that I can see much/any difference). Tried the "less vivid" settings like pure and (can't remember the rest now), but they were so washed out looking as compared to the Standard, that I didn't bother staying with them. I'll be looking into them more in time. I also dabbled in the "Pure Cinema" mode, but don't now remember which sub mode I used, or if I even turned it back off. I'll be giving the set much more attention later today, my first full day with the set (it's very early morning as I write this). And I'll be reading the manual for all the setting data, but really, I'm getting the best info from you all on this site. Fabulous resource. I only hope that as an amateur I can contribute something worthwhile to other plasma newbies.
To them I say, if you have the $$, you really should seriously consider this set, as long as the plasma "issues" (reflections, burn-in) are not a concern. I must fully agree with you all that this is the best picture out there, cetainly that I've ever seen. You think I'm thrilled, or what?!