Originally Posted by R Harkness
So am I reading you right that, beyond mere form factor, you prefer the Panasonic's image to those RPTVs you looked at? I'm curious, on grounds of picture quality alone, where the Panasonic's image sits in the HD displays you've seen. (In other words, where there any displays whose HD image you found "better" but for other reasons didn't buy them? If I've read you correctly, you liked the Panasonic PQ best?) I guess I'm just trying to start a mini-poll about where the Panasonic may stand in terms of people's ranking of PQ.
When looking at so many HD displays at so many stores, the differences between the sets began to look mimimal. They were all
looking very good, but most were also running those "canned" HD loops. Sometimes I'd luck into sets that were broadcasting regular TV or HD feeds. (Usually, sporting events because the salespeople like to keep abreast of those things while they're working.
) Whatever good impressions I had of sets I viewed, I would try to "destroy" by coming to this site and reading up what other people who owned or experienced the sets had to say. (Which is why Sony and Samsung kept getting dinged off my list. In my previous post, I forgot to mention a 70" Samsung DLP whose picture I really
liked. But after reading what some owners had to say about the set, I didn't want to chance it due to some problems some owners were having.)
Size was a major factor for me. I wanted a big
display, but also a display that was sharp, detailed, and had good blacks and contrast. I can live
with a good RPTV, but I prefer
the look of a plasma. (Like you, I favor a direct projection set over a mirrored image. Heck, if there was a CRT that was large enough and didn't weigh a ton, I'd buy one of those. But that's never going to happen.) The problem was finding a display that was large enough and looked outstanding.
The picture on the latest DLPs and LCos based sets were very nice, but I couldn't stop myself from seeing the SSE. I figured that once I got a set into my house I could learn to live with it, but it would still feel like a compromise. Then I saw a couple of fleeting "rainbows" on the Mitsubishi sets that were broadcasting "non-prime" material. So, I shied away from those two technologies.
I really, really
liked the Pioneer FHD1, but it simply wasn't big enough. Fujitsus were nice, but they hadn't come out with anything new lately, weren't big enough, and were cost prohibitive. So, it was back to Panasonic. If I bought the 58" that I thought put out a really good picture, I'd still have the regret of not having a larger sized TV.
I should say that I'm a fan of Panasonic's direct view TVs. I have owned (still own) many over the years. They look very good, especially in light of the price paid for them. (When people were going nuts over the Sony Wegas, I bought a Panasonic Tau. The Tau had to be tweaked to get it where I wanted it, but it was worth the time necessary. I have a 10 year-old Panasonic CRT which has a VCR incorporated into it which I use everyday at work and the TV and the VCR have never failed no matter how much I abuse the set and move it from location to location.) So, I ended up buying a TV that I had never
viewed, but based on my past Panasonic TV experiences, what people were saying about it at CES and other trade shows, and the specifications that were slowly emerging over the Net. (Really, not much of a gamble with my return policy.)
The short answer to your question--I'd probably give the nod to the Pioneer FHD1 for picture quality, but I don't think that's a fair assessment. I don't know how well a Pioneer would fair if they had a same size 1080p set as the Panasonic. That would be a true apples to apples comparison. (Maybe I'm "fooled" into thinking the Pioneer is better due to the image being smaller and therefore more "intense.") And I also don't know how well the Pioneer handles SD sources; I've only seen it with top-grade material. (HD DVDs looked wonderful even on my old 5 year-old RPTV.) The 65" Panny is far and away much better than my 42" ED Panny when viewing SD material.
I will say that the difference
between the picture quality on both the Pioneer FHD1 and Pansonic 65" sets is a non-issue to me. Both look outstanding. It's picture quality and SIZE
which makes the Panasonic wear the crown in my house.
(Now, I'm off to look at the new Toshiba Regza sets. I suppose Toshiba wanted to flush out their "old" technologically-advanced sets this year before hitting us with SED next year.