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Own 58s1 for 2 days, may return for 58B550, need opinions

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone. First, let me say that I'm not trying to create a Panasonic versus Samsung thread. I know there are those of you out there who like Panasonic, just like there are those who like Samsung. This is not that thread.

Here is my situation. I watch mainly HD cable -- sports, Discovery, HD Theater, etc. I almost never watch movies. I own a Sony XBR LCD with a bluray player (family room tv) and I've never watched a bluray movie.

I currently own a 58s1. This is my basement tv. I've had it for 2 days. It's a very nice tv. It just doesn't wow me. I have it set to vivid/cool. I don't care for normal or warm. The picture seems fuzzy, not very sharp. I've tried various user menu adjustments, and they don't seem to make much of a difference.

I went back to Best Buy today and they happened to have a 50s1 sitting right next to a 50b550. I have to say, at least to my eyes, there was really no comparison in terms of picture quality. The Samsung was very sharp and crisp. Also, the colors really popped. The whites were brighter and cleaner, as opposed to the s1 where the whites were kind of dingy. It's almost as if the Samsung plasma was more like an LCD in terms of brightness and color, yet it still retained the deep rich feel of a plasma.

I talked to several people before I bought the s1. They all said I should go with the Panasonic because it was more natural, life-like and real. They said the Samsung was artifically bright and oversaturated in terms of color. All of this may be true, but my eyes tell me that I like the b550 better.

The only reason I went with the s1, and I mean the only reason, was for fear of the buzz. I just didn't want to deal with the hassle of returning the set for another, and possibly another (I know, I know, how ironic because that's what I'm considering doing now).

Here's what I'm looking for. I'd like to know if there are others out there in the same or similar situation as me. In other words, you considered both the s1 and the b550 (any size) and decided on one versus the other and why and whether you're happy with your decision.

Thanks in advance for any responses.

e
post #2 of 32
Sounds like you need to buy an LCD
post #3 of 32
Didn't you just post this same story in another thread you started today?
post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecutter View Post

Sounds like you need to buy an LCD

Well, I have an LCD in the family room upstairs. It's nice, but I figured that a plasma would be better for the basement because (a) there are no windows and the lighting is fairly dim so glare is not an issue, (b) I would be using it mainly to watch sports, and plasma is superior to LCD in that regard, (c) I wanted a large screen size and didn't want to spend a lot of money, and right now plasma offers a lot of bang for the buck.

It's funny that you mention I should have bought an LCD, because in looking at the Samsung b550 today, I felt that it looked very LCD-like, yet also had the benefits of plasma as well.
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by omeletpants View Post

Didn't you just post this same story in another thread you started today?

No. I posted about it in someone else's thread. I didn't want to hijack their thread, so I started my own.
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by e-man22 View Post

All of this may be true, but my eyes tell me that I like the b550 better.

Then return the Panny for the Sammy. Why do you care what other people think?
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by VA_DaveB View Post

Then return the Panny for the Sammy. Why do you care what other people think?

Yep, you don't need our approval.
post #8 of 32
I don't believe there have been any real reported cases of the 550 series buzzing, most seem to be coming from the 8xx series.

Can you describe the "fuzziness" you are seeing? How far away from the television do you sit?

If the people in this thread don't want to be of any help, I suppose I will try and either steer you clear of exchanging the set or perhaps tell you to go ahead and try it.
post #9 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VA_DaveB View Post

Then return the Panny for the Sammy. Why do you care what other people think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBiker View Post

Yep, you don't need our approval.

If my eyes tell me one thing, and the salespeople and/or people on this site are saying something else, then yes, you're right, I need to go with my gut feeling and not look to others to validate the decision.

My only hang-up with making the switch is the possibility of getting a buzzer. The s1 is silent. I consider PQ as very important, however, a buzzer would diminish any perceived advantage that the the Samsung has over the Panasonic.

The salesperson said to me that if the set buzzes, I could return it. I just don't want to go down that road because then what? Another b550? Back to the s1? See what I mean?
post #10 of 32
I bought a 50" G15 and was somewhat disappointed for the first few days but after a week the TV's picture improved significantly. I would wait a week before you make your decision.
post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeonus View Post

I don't believe there have been any real reported cases of the 550 series buzzing, most seem to be coming from the 8xx series.

Can you describe the "fuzziness" you are seeing? How far away from the television do you sit?

If the people in this thread don't want to be of any help, I suppose I will try and either steer you clear of exchanging the set or perhaps tell you to go ahead and try it.

Thanks, I appreciate it.

I agree. Most of the reported buzzing is coming from the 8xx series, but there are also several reports (even recent ones over the last few days) of the 6xx series buzzing. Also, if you look on Costco's web site, the last few reviews for the 58b540 (which, as I understand, is basically the same as the 550) are about the buzzing problem.

In the store, the fuzziness of the s1 is relative because I am comparing it to a b550 right next to it. I've seen this at BB and at Costco (at Costco I'm comparing the s14 to the 540). The Panasonic is just not as sharp, crisp or bright as the 550. I assume they are both set to vivid or some sort of store mode. It's most apparent when comparing text on the screen (large or small) or facial features. In my eye, there's definitely a softness/fuzziness to the Panasonic image.

At my house, the softness/fuzziness is not as apparent because I don't have another set sitting next to it to compare. What I do notice, though, is that the picture just doesn't wow me. Again, it's nice, very nice, and I realize that I got a great deal on it, but even at that price point, I guess I was expecting more, and my eyes see more with the 550 (of course, minus the potential buzzing issue).

At the end of the day, I realize that no one can make the decision for me. I was just hoping that there might be one or more people out there who are going through (or who went through) the same or similar situation as me and could offer some guidance either way.
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by e-man22 View Post

Thanks, I appreciate it.

I agree. Most of the reported buzzing is coming from the 8xx series, but there are also several reports (even recent ones over the last few days) of the 6xx series buzzing. Also, if you look on Costco's web site, the last few reviews for the 58b540 (which, as I understand, is basically the same as the 550) are about the buzzing problem.

In the store, the fuzziness of the s1 is relative because I am comparing it to a b550 right next to it. I've seen this at BB and at Costco (at Costco I'm comparing the s14 to the 540). The Panasonic is just not as sharp, crisp or bright as the 550. I assume they are both set to vivid or some sort of store mode. It's most apparent when comparing text on the screen (large or small) or facial features. In my eye, there's definitely a softness/fuzziness to the Panasonic image.

At my house, the softness/fuzziness is not as apparent because I don't have another set sitting next to it to compare. What I do notice, though, is that the picture just doesn't wow me. Again, it's nice, very nice, and I realize that I got a great deal on it, but even at that price point, I guess I was expecting more, and my eyes see more with the 550 (of course, minus the potential buzzing issue).

At the end of the day, I realize that no one can make the decision for me. I was just hoping that there might be one or more people out there who are going through (or who went through) the same or similar situation as me and could offer some guidance either way.

Well, I own a 650, so I can only go off of what I experience, but I will say some broadcasts "WOW" me, while some lack clarity and detail, even though they may be 720 or 1080i. I never really have a problem with my set being "dull or flat" on broadcasts, though, it always seems to retain excellent color and pop in that regard.

Are you experiencing this "fuzziness" on every station? Is it possible the broadcast quality might the cause, rather than the television itself?

Lastly, I know you said you don't watch bluray movies, but those would be the best test as they are uncompressed video.
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeonus View Post

Well, I own a 650, so I can only go off of what I experience, but I will say some broadcasts "WOW" me, while some lack clarity and detail, even though they may be 720 or 1080i. I never really have a problem with my set being "dull or flat" on broadcasts, though, it always seems to retain excellent color and pop in that regard.

Are you experiencing this "fuzziness" on every station? Is it possible the broadcast quality might the cause, rather than the television itself?

Lastly, I know you said you don't watch bluray movies, but those would be the best test as they are uncompressed video.

So is it safe to assume that your 650 doesn't buzz?

The fuzziness is on most HD stations. Understood, there are some stations that are better than others, but it's just kind of flat.

In the store, I assume they're running a bluray feed (or maybe it's just an HD cable feed), but in either case, at least we're comparing apples to apples because both tv's are running the same feed. I've spent quite a bit of time comparing the two over the last week or so, and every time I walk away with the impression that the Samsung is much more clear, crisp, colorful and bright (which, again, is something that appeals to me).
post #14 of 32
I've looked at the 58S1, V10, B550, B650 and B860 at various stores, some right next to each other. Drew the same conclusion: the Panasonics' were definitely softer and a tad bit dull in comparison with the same boring feeds - but I had no access to the remotes so who knows how they were set up. It is interesting to note that this was consistently the case in 5 different showrooms.

BTW, I already own two Panasonic plasmas and couldn't wait for the 58V10s to come in stock, so I decided to take a chance on the 58B650 despite the buzz concern. I guess I'm insane? I have to admit, that buzz thread has me really worried. We'll find out next week when it gets delivered....
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by e-man22 View Post

So is it safe to assume that your 650 doesn't buzz?

The fuzziness is on most HD stations. Understood, there are some stations that are better than others, but it's just kind of flat.

In the store, I assume they're running a bluray feed (or maybe it's just an HD cable feed), but in either case, at least we're comparing apples to apples because both tv's are running the same feed. I've spent quite a bit of time comparing the two over the last week or so, and every time I walk away with the impression that the Samsung is much more clear, crisp, colorful and bright (which, again, is something that appeals to me).

My PN50B650 only offers an audible buzz on an all white screen at 6-7' away, but it is only heard when the volume is all the way down and isn't audible on any other content. I've had it over 1100 hours now.

If you are really concerned about the set, head over to the store, and ask them for the remotes to the televisions. Set the Samsung to "Movie Mode" and set the Panasonic to whichever they use (THX?). Turn off Dynamic Contrast and any other features while viewing.

The store is most likely sending a 720p feed through a splitter, though I don't know if it is analogue or digital. The quality may be reduced because of this.

Maybe someone else will chime in, but if you are really unhappy with the picture quality of your set then only you can decide if it is worth the hassle.
post #16 of 32
I don't know how you can compare the 2 models on vivid mode at a store. Vivid mode looks horrible at home and it produces a lot of artifacts and noise on the Panasonics. Sounds like you just want an lcd. Buy one then.
post #17 of 32
Many people have said the exact same thing. Go with what your eye likes, all that matters. I have an S65 and I couldn't live with the "correct" cinema settings, even after days of trying. But I have it set to Standard and I like it. Most people here are color snobs, just put on your upper class accent and say, "Oh, you don't like accurate color. How.......normal of you. "

I won't buy a samsung because I have had two of them fail on me. Previous generations, if 4 years is old enough.
post #18 of 32
I had a panny 65s1 for two weeks and I returned it. It didn't impress me either. The picture seemed a little fuzzy, the primary colors were not accurate....except for blue. The red looked maroon to me. Green was too fake.

I tried but it wasn't for me. I'm gonna wait and see what the new year brings.
post #19 of 32
every time I look at the panasonic line it always looks grainy and not as smooth as the samsung line. I think samsung does a better job in that area.
post #20 of 32
When I was shopping I went into a Brandsmart, they had the 50" B550 and the 50" S1 side by side, they also had the 58" S1 and 58" B550 side by side, all 4 TV's were grouped together. To my eyes there was a lot of noise on both of the S1 pictures, the B550's were smoother and sharper which gave more depth to the picture. They also had the 58" G15 and the 58" B560 side by side, I did not see any noise in the G15 picture but still prefered the B560 PQ which I thought was a nice improvement over the B550's, actually thought the picture was excellent.

Of course what I saw could be due to a lack of calibration but thats what I saw.
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by e-man22 View Post

Hey everyone. First, let me say that I'm not trying to create a Panasonic versus Samsung thread. I know there are those of you out there who like Panasonic, just like there are those who like Samsung. This is not that thread.

Here is my situation. I watch mainly HD cable -- sports, Discovery, HD Theater, etc. I almost never watch movies. I own a Sony XBR LCD with a bluray player (family room tv) and I've never watched a bluray movie.

I currently own a 58s1. This is my basement tv. I've had it for 2 days. It's a very nice tv. It just doesn't wow me. I have it set to vivid/cool. I don't care for normal or warm. The picture seems fuzzy, not very sharp. I've tried various user menu adjustments, and they don't seem to make much of a difference.

I went back to Best Buy today and they happened to have a 50s1 sitting right next to a 50b550. I have to say, at least to my eyes, there was really no comparison in terms of picture quality. The Samsung was very sharp and crisp. Also, the colors really popped. The whites were brighter and cleaner, as opposed to the s1 where the whites were kind of dingy. It's almost as if the Samsung plasma was more like an LCD in terms of brightness and color, yet it still retained the deep rich feel of a plasma.

I talked to several people before I bought the s1. They all said I should go with the Panasonic because it was more natural, life-like and real. They said the Samsung was artifically bright and oversaturated in terms of color. All of this may be true, but my eyes tell me that I like the b550 better.

The only reason I went with the s1, and I mean the only reason, was for fear of the buzz. I just didn't want to deal with the hassle of returning the set for another, and possibly another (I know, I know, how ironic because that's what I'm considering doing now).

Here's what I'm looking for. I'd like to know if there are others out there in the same or similar situation as me. In other words, you considered both the s1 and the b550 (any size) and decided on one versus the other and why and whether you're happy with your decision.

Thanks in advance for any responses.

e

I recently purchased a Samsung PN50B650 as I perceived the picture quality to be sharper than the Panasonics, and reviews said the Samsungs had the most accurate colors. Ironically, I may be returning my B650 for an S1 due to the comparatively poorer black levels and ease in which the Samsung's get image retention. That said, in my experience the Panasonic's actually get brighter. I have a friend who owns a Panasonic S1 and contrast is very comfortable at 75 out of 100 — you wouldn't want it any brighter than that. Meanwhile on my Samsung, I have the cell light and contrast set as high as they can possibly go because anything less isn't bright enough.

You need to not run your display in vivid/cool mode, as it's going to look the worse that way. Use movie/cinema mode, set your contrast to 75, your color temp to normal, and let your eyes adjust to the more accurate picture for about a week. You will absolutely not get a good picture with vivid/cool.
post #22 of 32
I've had my 54S1 hooked up for a few days now. The pq on my BR player is awesome! Even when using regular dvd's. I was truly blown away by the movie Cars and it was like I was watching it again for the first time. The black level is excellent and not one hint of IR!

I looked at the Sammy also but the reported buzzing, IR and poor customer service steered me away. I'm sure that I would be happy with Samsung too. I doubt there will be a significant pq difference btw. the two.
post #23 of 32
Thread Starter 
Wow, these are great replies -- exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for. So, it seems like many others have seen the same thing that I'm seeing in the stores and have based their decisions on that. At least one poster, though (spanbauer), is going in the opposite direction. As they say, I guess that's why Baskin Robbins makes 31 flavors, right?

By the way, Spanbauer, does your 650 buzz at all? If so, is that factoring into your decision to return it and get the s1?

Keep the responses coming. This is really helpful.

e
post #24 of 32
Everyone who is basing Panasonics as looking noisy in the store has to at least take it off vivid mode. I have a 50S1 at home and there is nothing noisy or grainy about it with a good source. This stuff is pretty simple to understand people.

YOU CAN'T BASE THE PQ OF A SET BY LOOKING AT IT ON A BEST BUY WALL ON VIVID.
post #25 of 32
I just got a 42" G10 and out of the box with no tweaks in Standard mode it looks very good to me. I would get your S1 off of that Vivid setting. Vivid looks pretty horrible on my G10 as well. Vivid is too bright, washes everything out and seems to add noise to the picture. Vivid is not where you want to be. Here are the CNET settings - probably a good place to start. Set these up and see if you don't like the picture better.

From CNET:
Panasonic TC-P42S1 picture settings
by katzmaier - 3/11/09 12:18 PM

Related products:
Panasonic TC-P50S1
Panasonic TC-P46S1

Below you'll find the settings we found best for viewing the Panasonic TC-P42S1 in a completely dark room via the HDMI input with a 1080p, film-based source. Your settings may very depending on source, room conditions, and personal preference. Check out the Picture settings and calibration FAQ for more information.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-9996461-1.html

--Picture menu
Picture mode: Cinema
Contrast: +55
Brightness: +63
Color: +32
Tint: 0
Sharpness: 0
Color temp: Warm
C.A.T.S.: Off
Video NR: Off
Zoom adjustments: [grayed out]

-Advanced picture submenu
3D Y/C filter: [grayed out]
Color matrix: [grayed out]
MPEG NR: Off
Black level: Light
HD Size: Size 2
H size: [grayed out]
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post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by e-man22 View Post

By the way, Spanbauer, does your 650 buzz at all? If so, is that factoring into your decision to return it and get the s1?

No, my B650 does not buzz at all; that's actually what I thought was going to be my biggest issue. Instead, my biggest gripe is the black levels that look like my old 2007 LCD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StinDaWg View Post

Everyone who is basing Panasonics as looking noisy in the store has to at least take it off vivid mode. I have a 50S1 at home and there is nothing noisy or grainy about it with a good source. This stuff is pretty simple to understand people.

The Panasonics have more dithering to them than the Samsungs, with or without vivid mode. Plasma dithering is perceived as picture noise to many.
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by e-man22 View Post

Thanks, I appreciate it.

I agree. Most of the reported buzzing is coming from the 8xx series, but there are also several reports (even recent ones over the last few days) of the 6xx series buzzing. Also, if you look on Costco's web site, the last few reviews for the 58b540 (which, as I understand, is basically the same as the 550) are about the buzzing problem.

In the store, the fuzziness of the s1 is relative because I am comparing it to a b550 right next to it. I've seen this at BB and at Costco (at Costco I'm comparing the s14 to the 540). The Panasonic is just not as sharp, crisp or bright as the 550. I assume they are both set to vivid or some sort of store mode. It's most apparent when comparing text on the screen (large or small) or facial features. In my eye, there's definitely a softness/fuzziness to the Panasonic image.

At my house, the softness/fuzziness is not as apparent because I don't have another set sitting next to it to compare. What I do notice, though, is that the picture just doesn't wow me. Again, it's nice, very nice, and I realize that I got a great deal on it, but even at that price point, I guess I was expecting more, and my eyes see more with the 550 (of course, minus the potential buzzing issue).

At the end of the day, I realize that no one can make the decision for me. I was just hoping that there might be one or more people out there who are going through (or who went through) the same or similar situation as me and could offer some guidance either way.

I've never been a brand preference kind of guy so it really doesn't mean anything to me which TV you go for but before making another decision get the remotes in hand of each TV and make some adjustments to get the best picture to your liking and then you can do a proper evaluation. Without doing that you have no idea how each set is adjusted.
post #28 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanbauer View Post

The Panasonics have more dithering to them than the Samsungs, with or without vivid mode. Plasma dithering is perceived as picture noise to many.

Just curious, what is dithering?
post #29 of 32
How has the S1 turned out for you so far? Or did you already make the swap?

I am in a similar situation, struggling between a 58" S1 and the 58" 650. Both plasmas.
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by e-man22 View Post

So is it safe to assume that your 650 doesn't buzz?

The fuzziness is on most HD stations. Understood, there are some stations that are better than others, but it's just kind of flat.

In the store, I assume they're running a bluray feed (or maybe it's just an HD cable feed), but in either case, at least we're comparing apples to apples because both tv's are running the same feed. I've spent quite a bit of time comparing the two over the last week or so, and every time I walk away with the impression that the Samsung is much more clear, crisp, colorful and bright (which, again, is something that appeals to me).

Buy an LCD, put it on a Vivid-type mode, crank up the contrast and sharpness, and turn on all the edge enhancement and color enhancement features...you'll love it.
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