Originally Posted by Harry6
I was surprised to find such a high level of agreement in asserting such strong preferences for the 1080p versus the less costly 720p 50" plasma. I must admit I'd hoped your answers would go the other way - $500 seems a very attractive price. Money is on the tighter side - a higher price point delays my purchase.
I doubt it would alter your views much, if at all, but my viewing conditions are:
Lighting ........... ..........Dim or night
Viewing Distance . ..... 10 feet
Program materials......Mostly Broadcast HD via IO digital cable from Optimum
/ Cablevision. Zero sports. National Geographic kinds of things, HD Broadcast Movies, Downloaded via digital cable, or rentals.
Have a conventional DVD player, Would likely pick up a Blue Ray down the road.
Estimated use............ about 2 hours a day....
Feel bad that no one has provided the answer you were hoping for!
It is YOUR MONEY that will be spent - and YOUR EYES that have to be happy (or at least Satisfied!) with the TV you buy.
And, FWIW, your Viewing Distance, Lighting, and Program Material all seem to favor the odds of being happy with a 50" panel - I just wish you were looking at one with 1366x768 instead of 1024x768 resolution.
Is the set at CostCo up & running? If not, are they willing to set it up for you? (We had great luck with requests to "Demo" sets at 2 local CostCo outlets last year - including opening boxed units up!)
Try to get a look at the set you are hoping to buy - even if you have to run to another store to see one in action. Stand a few feet away from it (Yes, this is closer than your intended viewing distance), and see whether or not YOU can spot the "Screen Door Effect" that the widely-spaced pixels create on a 50" 1024x768" panel.
Now step back a few feet, and look again: if you do NOT see SDE - OR if you are Absolutely Convinced that it will NOT bother you from your Normal Seating Position - then this may well be the right set for you.
And, if possible, try to find another 50" panel (or 51", if a Samsung...) that is running 1366x768 & see whether or not you think you'll still be happy with the Panasonic....
Sure, $500 to $750 is "only" a $250 difference - but for many of us that is a significant amount. (It is also a 50% Difference in cost...)
We pondered this same question at one time, and made a decision IN FAVOR of the "720p" panel - taking some of the (then MUCH Greater) cost savings & "investing" in a blu-ray player & a handful of BR DVDs, which look Great on the 50" - and even better on our new 60" Pan ST.
And the COMBINED cost of both the 50" and the 60" panel was less than we would have paid for a single LARGE set (58", per memory).
Turned out to be a Great Decision - FOR US. Hopefully your decision - one way or the other - will work out as well!