I'm about to purchase this TV (7000) in the next day or two, I've researched it to death and read this whole thread.
Are there any overwhelming negatives that would prevent you from recommending this TV? Like the lack of brightness recently discussed, or anything like that I may have missed.
Basically I'm down to this TV, or a Samsung LED like the 6500/7100, or waiting for next year. And I'm assuming most of you would recommend plasma over LED correct?
I've had mine a little over a month now and I really like it. First, I should point out my previous tv was a crt. I never thought I'd buy a plasma until I started looking, again, at the leds. They have always looked harsh to me and I was never sure if it was the store setup or inherent in the design. One of the Magnolia employees was helpful (amazing, I know) in comparing both kinds, leds and plasmas, with the same (or at least as close as you can get just swagging in a store) setup. My biggest concern about the plasma, well two, were the image retention and how they deal with windows in the room. Our house has a lot of windows and there's no getting away from them. There's no doubt that a big slab of glass will reflect light, but it's a lot less than the crt and because it's flat it has one reflection point as opposed to the scattered reflection of a curved crt. I have a big window (6 ft wide) directly opposite the tv screen. If I watch in the day AND I must have the drapes open, I just angle the screen a bit and the light is bounced away from me. It's really far less an issue than I thought and I doubt the led would handle it any better. The magnolia guy claimed that the 7000-8000 and the high end panasonics had less reflective glass, but I was never able to corroborate that. They certainly appeared to reflect less of the light fromt the spotlights at the store.
On the IR front, I have seen some image retention. The most obvious was just recently and was cause by the tv itself while I was playing music over the wifi connection from the computer. The ALLSHARE graphic was still there after about 30 minutes of having the music playing. It didn't take very long watching other regular tv programs for the image to disappear, but it was concerning. I did not do any special slides etc to break in the tv, but I have been keeping the grey bars etc off by stretching 480 programs to the edges as much as possible. If only everything was 1080 16:9.
One more thing I will share because I was delighted when it worked. I have a Panasonic mt90 hd video camera. I have used the panasonic software that came with the camera to convert the native mt2s video to avchd mt2s video and then put it on a portable Transcend hard drive and then plugged that into the usb port (with auxiliary usb power) and had the video play on the tv.
I'm very picky about how things look and I think this has an awesome picture. I have it in Movie mode. I don't have a plethora of tvs in my house to do side by sides, but I have not been disappointed with my purchase up to this point. (Holding off on that firmware update