I was not checking these in a BB, I live in a city of about a million people and there is only one shop that even carries the Elite. It is an extremely high end shop. They won't even carry the ST model of the panasonics, the lowest model set in the shop is a 60GT50. I have also followed the VE shootout for at least a few years, and sorry but the VT50 beat the Elite in the last shootout, and it barely beat out the VT30 the year before that. The Elite has not had any improvement since then, and now there are the VT60 and ZT60 that are better than the previous model years. The ES9000 was NOT included in that shootout either so we will have to see if the Elite even makes the shootout this year and see where that comparison lands. The Elite I was comparing to the ES9000 was in a preferential location in the shop in sort of an alcove with no direct lighting anywhere near it, so the fact that on the test patterns showing the shades of black were indistinguishable from one set to the other speaks volumes, especially as I've said, I had the remotes and had set both sets to comparable modes (THX on the Elite, Movie on the ES, Pure on the Elite, Natural on the ES) with comparable settings, meaning that one did not have lighting, brightness or contrast set proportionately different than the other, ie. one was not turned down and one turned up.
I am not trying to be insulting but you are basing your opinion off exactly what you said invalidates an opinion, which is that you seen the ES9000 in BB, where who knows what mode or what the settings were that you are comparing the Elite to. I spent time TODAY, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth...I had already bought the Elite, I would not have switched my order to the ES9000 if there was any indication that the Elite was superior. The black levels were virtually indistinguishable between them. From a technological standpoint, I do understand that a full-array, local dimmed set has an advantage, but whatever voodoo they used on the ES9000 makes that technological advantage nearly imperceptible.
Here is a review that also makes a statement about just how good the blacks are....
and in particular this quote from that review
"What struck us most strongly about the ES9000 is not its size, but rather its ability to reproduce deep blacks. Most home theater aficionados lean towards plasma displays for black levels, but Samsung was especially eager to show off the ES9000's performance in a completely pitch black room.
A demo reel showed off impressive blacks against vibrant colours, but it wasn't until we moved onto The Dark Knight that we were wowed. It's hard to judge from the photos we snapped at the demo, but they were the best blacks we've seen from an LED LCD HDTV."
This is not any bash on the Elite, and it was the one I initially bought, but when you compare the two objectively, color, motion, black level are so evenly matched that unless there is something that makes one better for calibration I think that they would be even closer post calibration (given that that the closer you move to an ideal the less variance there is). Thats when the details come into play, the ES has better web functionality, built in camera, 5 more inches, none of those things factored into my opinion but certainly did my wife's. Even though the bezel on both sets are completely different, they both have the same goal... to disappear during viewing, one by being matte black, the other by being super thin, so I think that if you watch your set in a darkened room as I do its non-factor either way. If it was going in a room with lots of ambient light, well, I might have had to tell my wife she was wrong on what one she thought was better in that department LOL.
Both are excellent, excellent sets, and 99.9% of people would be lucky to have either one, I am sorry but I just cannot agree that one is clearly superior to the other in terms of overall PQ.Edited by pred1973 - 1/21/13 at 10:13pm