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Best 60" Plasma... on a budget?  

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
Hey Everyone,

I want to say a quick thanks to ALL the members of these forums. The collection of everyone's opinions, reviews, and experiences is invaluable to a guy like me who researches a purchase to death so I can get the most bang for my buck.

There was recently a thread started by bcar473 about what is the best 60"+ Plasma. I almost posted there but he didn't really have a budget and I do so I felt a new thread was justified. I have also spent many hours reading the different threads and will continue to do so, but any advice to my particular situation is much appreciated.

So a bit of background. I've been looking at HDTV's for the last couple of years, and have saved up about $3000 to spend on a TV. At this point even if I wait longer, I don't think I'll continue saving, as this is about the most I'm comfortable spending on a luxury item. I'm currently using a 30" 9 year old RCA so anything will be a huge improvement. Also it will probably be at least 4-5 years before I purchase another TV. My viewing distance is about 12', in a room that is fairly dark even during the day. My wife watches mostly SD cable TV, and I would be watching mostly DVDs and HD cable TV. I also prefer to buy B&M versus online for purchases this big, although if its a good enough deal and a good reliable retailer I'd consider it. The last thing to note is that I'm okay with waiting a few more months. I'm getting really antsy, and hopefully I'll have a new TV by the end of the year at the latest, but I an wait another few months if something is around the corner or price cuts are known to be coming.

Here are the list of features I've been looking for for the past few years.

Requirements:
* 58"+ My wife has even told me that the 50" TV's in the store aren't big enough to her. A blessing and a curse as there are a lot of good options at this size.
* $3000 or less
* Wall Mountable so it can go above the fireplace
* Enough inputs for the DVD player, HTPC, Cable Box
* 720P, this isn't really a limiting factor, just a note that at my viewing distance 1080P isn't really necessary

Preferences:
* The bigger the better, I love the whole "theater" experience but FP is out of the question according to my wife. So the 60" range is pretty much as much as I can get for the money.
* Plasma, it just looks better to me, but I'm open to any suggestions.
* Reliability, As I mentioned a brand with a reputation to last 4-7 years is a big plus for me, however buying from a retailer with a great warranty program (Costco) is just as good.
* Picture Quality, My wife could care less, but to me the quality of the picture is instantly noticeable whether it be good or bad.
* The ability to directly select input source with the remote. I use a Logitech Harmony and I can see this being the type of thing that'd annoy me. But I could overlook it if it was the only issue.
* Over the air HD Tuner, I live in a big city and should be able to pick up several free HD channels. I'm probably going to pay for HD cable so not a requirement but would be nice.

So far I've been looking at two TVs, one of which doesn't even fall within my budget

60" Vizio VM60:
Pros:
* The only TV I've found that meets most of my requirements
* I like the look of the bronze bezel, but this really isn't important to me
* With the upcoming Costco coupon falls well under my budget
Cons:
* In the store the PQ is far from great. Granted this is an uncalibrated unit, but from what I've read even fully calibrated the best I could expect is slightly better than average. As noticeable as PQ is to me I'm afraid this might be a showstopper. However as I also stated I'm coming from a 9 year old SD TV so anything should look great once I've got it in the house.

58" Panasonic TH-58PX60U
Pros:
* Great picture quality, and this was on an uncalibrated unit in the store
Cons:
* Price, while its not unreasonable for what you get, it falls outside of my budget. Its about $1200 more than the Vizio. If it was even half that I'd probably already be a proud owner
* Ugly, its probably one of the least attractive plasmas I've seen but I could really care less.

There you have it. I'm guessing I'm just asking for too much for my current budget and I'm probably better off just waiting a few more months. I have read that the 58" 1080P Panny is about to come out. Think this will drop the current prices enough to be close to my budget? Or will they just leave prices the same and charge a premium for the 1080P?

Thanks for making it through this long post, and for any constructive criticism, advice, opinions, or input you may have.

-Mid
post #2 of 91
The Vizio may be the only one in your price range. I haven't seen one. I'll say though that at 60" you can't get a better price/performance than the Pio 6070.
post #3 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidnightUT View Post

* Price ... If it was even half that I'd probably already be a proud owner

1-call, NewEgg, Amazon and J & R are pretty close to that halfway point ... including tax + shipping. I have never shopped at these but they seem pretty reputable.
post #4 of 91
TV authority has the 58" in stock. Price is hovering around $3k. There is no way I'd buy a Vizio. SD material on them is really lousy.
post #5 of 91
Shane's right about TVA having it listed in your price range, but it shows out of stock, and if you haven't read the TVA thread Sticky in the Plasma Forum, you should before even thinking about buying from them, so if you do, you go into it with your eyes open.
post #6 of 91
Thread Starter 
That price on TVA does look good. However thanks for the heads up on their reputation. I read around and it sounds like shopping with them is a little more risk than I'd like.

And I agree the 6070 does look like one amazing TV, but a display floor is likely as close as I'll ever get to one.

The more I read the more I think the Vizio isn't right for me. I've heard they have pretty poor SD picture quality from several people now and the wife won't like that. I guess I'll just keep waiting and hoping prices come down a bit further on the Panny.
post #7 of 91
Mid

Any reason you are not including the Philps 63 incher in your list, its cheaper than the 58" Panny and about the same cost give or take as the Vizio.
I have the 6070 Pio 60 incher and it is looking smaller and smaller every day, if the Philips 63 incher was around back 8 months ago when I got my Pio 60 incher I would have gone for the 63 incher instead.
I have gone to Costco and looked at the Philps more than a few times, personaly I think it shows a better picture than the 58 inch Panny or the 60 inch Vizio, all 3 of them are at my local Costco to look at side by side and the Philips has always looked the best out of the three.
And the extra 3 inches is a BIG plus.

Just my 2 cents.
Davyo
post #8 of 91
For $500 over your budget you can get the Pioneer 6070 from an on-line dealer. Price is really coming down.
post #9 of 91
For a few hundred more -- maybe not? -- the 63" Philips 9631 is excellent, though the lack of Ambilight really bugs me.
post #10 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamR View Post

For $500 over your budget you can get the Pioneer 6070 from an on-line dealer. Price is really coming down.

I agree. I have been watching the price drop on the 6070 for weeks. Finally purchased one from an AVS Forum Member. IMHO you would not be disappointed by spending and extra $500 for this set.
And I have 1 full day of experience.
post #11 of 91
For an extra $200 over the Panny 58PX60U, consider the 58PX600U. Although the PQ is the same in both models, the 600U's frame looks a lot better (IMHO), and it has better sound as well as CableCard. I've had this set since last October, and it is really outstanding from 12 feet away.
post #12 of 91
Stay away from the Vizio...they REALLY lack in the quality of SD programming as stated before. Last year I hesitated about purchasing my 5070 from a online retailer so I had Magnolia price match. I just lost out on tax, so ALWAYS try that. They say they really don't price match with online retailer, but they do! I personally would wait a few months as I think prices will fall substantially this summer as the new Pio's hopefully start rolling out, then the 6070 will be within your price range from an online retailer. Waiting and seeing if the 6070 will fall in your price range is worth it. Just a great television!
post #13 of 91
I agree with the statement that the 6070HD is worth the extra and not sure if the pricing will keep on dropping or at least that much. Also keep in mind that some stores offer financing like BB and some online authorized stores as well.
post #14 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by davyo View Post

Mid

Any reason you are not including the Philps 63 incher in your list, its cheaper than the 58" Panny and about the same cost give or take as the Vizio.
I have the 6070 Pio 60 incher and it is looking smaller and smaller every day, if the Philips 63 incher was around back 8 months ago when I got my Pio 60 incher I would have gone for the 63 incher instead.
I have gone to Costco and looked at the Philps more than a few times, personaly I think it shows a better picture than the 58 inch Panny or the 60 inch Vizio, all 3 of them are at my local Costco to look at side by side and the Philips has always looked the best out of the three.
And the extra 3 inches is a BIG plus.

Just my 2 cents.
Davyo

At my local store I think the 63" Philips was only about $100 cheaper. And as far as PQ goes it fell in between the Vizio and Panny. Again these were totally uncalibrated displays. Just from my observations I felt that the Vizio's display was mediocre, but with tweaking it could probably be decent. The Philips was decent, and with some tweaking it could be pretty good. And the Panny was great, and with some tweaking could have been awesome. The Panny actually looked enough better that at the same price I'd easily have picked it over the 5 extra inches of the Philips.

My other concern was that I hadn't heard much about the Philips. I haven't done any active searches about it, but I haven't seen it mentioned too often.

So how much difference does calibration usually make? I'm a geek so I'm actually going to enjoy squeezing every ounce of performance I can out of my TV. But when looking at picture quality in store should you usually just ignore it for the most part since they aren't calibrated and set for store display?

I guess a better question is that on a 1 to 10 scale of PQ, how many notches does calibration usually increase a TV's score on average? Are we talking 1 point at most, or more likely around 2 points?

Sorry for all the questions, but thanks so much for all the responses!
post #15 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by slksc View Post

For an extra $200 over the Panny 58PX60U, consider the 58PX600U. Although the PQ is the same in both models, the 600U's frame looks a lot better (IMHO), and it has better sound as well as CableCard. I've had this set since last October, and it is really outstanding from 12 feet away.

Thanks for the advice!

I already have surround sound, and will probably have an HD DVR so I probably won't have a need for the cable card slot. When it comes time to purchase I'll definitely re-evaluate my needs and see if these are features I'm going to need.
post #16 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RomanInvision View Post

I agree with the statement that the 6070HD is worth the extra and not sure if the pricing will keep on dropping or at least that much. Also keep in mind that some stores offer financing like BB and some online authorized stores as well.

Thanks for the insight on potential prices in the future. As I've mentioned I'm a bit hesitant about making such a large purchase online, but I've read some of the other threads where you've gone above and beyond for a customer and I appreciate that.

I'll be sure to give you guys a call for pricing on the 6070HD and the 58" Panny when I get a chance.

Thanks again for everyones comments
post #17 of 91
I got my 6070 online from beachcamera.com. I ordered it at 2am on a Sunday morning...by 11am Sunday, I got a call confirming order. I got a free DVD player with it, which arrived on Wed and the 6070 arrived on Thurs afternoon. Free shipping and no taxes.

I was a bit leary about buying something so large (physically and monetarily) online. I went to BB/Magnolia, and they will match the price of an AUTHORIZED online dealer, which Beach Camera is. But I still would have had to pick it up myself, plus pay sales tax. Or I would have to pay $50 for delivery. I just decided to go for it and get it online. I have no regrets. The price on that TV is only a little over $900 more than your budget and falling fast. To me it's worth paying a little more than originally planned for a top-quality set vs a Vizio. You'll really be happy with the 6070.
post #18 of 91
Does Samsung make a 60+ inch plasma? How much does it cost?
post #19 of 91
^^^ The Samsung HP-6373 has a great price point but if you are on a buget and what a great unit, as mentioned above you want to check out the Philips 63PF9631D/37 <<>>

If you can downsize a bit the Hitachi 55HDT79 has a smokin price <<>>
post #20 of 91
Regarding the 63" Philips model, I too have been seriously considering picking this up from Costco. I believe it doesnt gete alot of buzz because its kind of "middle of the road". The Vizio 60" is by far the best deal when it comes to pure value (with the costco coupon) and the Pannys/Pioneers are the best when it comes to quality. The 63" Philips isnt the best deal, and it isnt the best quality.

But for me (coming from a 65" RPTV) the 63" Philips seems to be the best choice for me. Its very reasonably priced at Costco. And I've compared the footage and I think the Philips looks noticeably better than the 60" Vizio in terms of picture quality. (although not as good as the panny). SD is still important to me so I do not want the Vizio. I have TimeWarner's top of the line HD package and 90% of the channels are still SD. I wouldnt be able to stand the poor SD material on the 60" Vizio. I've compared and the 63" Philips seems to display SD much better.

I'd agree with the above poster though, the lack of ambilight on the 63" model is purely frustrating. That is Philips best selling feature. Why they didnt include this is annoying and ridiculous.
post #21 of 91
It makes me shudder whenever someone says that brand A looks noticeably better than brand B. It really is impossible to make an informed choice when comparing any type of display in any showroom. Many here bad mouth professional reviewers as being predjudice and biased in their reporting, but come on, would you rather trust an employee of any store to set up and menu calibrate (if even that) something your going to spend thousands of dollars on? Most if not all B&M's simply open the box and turn on the display. The majority of us here understand that all displays are calibrated at the factory to look good in a bright showroom setting, nothing like the setting you will experience during home viewing. You constantly read here to let your eyes tell you what to buy. Too bad the info our eyes receive is being compromised.
post #22 of 91
All,

I've read many threads and I'm just about ready to pop for a 60" HD TV.

I really like the idea of the Plasma and just want some additional opionions on the PQ in a brightly lit room. I would say that most of our TV watching is done after 5pm so it's not like we are watching a lot of TV during the day when the sun is at it's brighest.

So the question is, should I go for a Plasma, most likely the Pioneer PDP-6070HD or take another serious look at the DLPs?

Thanks.
post #23 of 91
I personally would wait until you can afford a bran name PDP. I would shy away from the Vizio PDPs. While they offer a great value, the old saying "you get what you pay for" holds true. If the wife like the PQ on the Vizio than that is all that really matters now does it.
post #24 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidnightUT View Post

Best 60" Plasma... on a budget?



post #25 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by optivity View Post




optivity, this has been discussed forever, you are posting an OLD ad by Philips, which WAS corrected, the unit goes for MSRP $5,500, NOT $3,500, it was a CES and Philips screwup, which was corrected, the $3,500 63" Philips wil be the 720p set, not the true 1080p set, take care.
post #26 of 91
I saw the new Visio 63" at Costco, was right next to a 58" 60U Panny, the Panny SD picture killed the Vizios, the Vizios SD picture in my opinion was horrid, very washed out with no detail.
post #27 of 91
I doubt the vizio sd is horrible. You cant judge by the store. Even HD they have a poor signal. I liked what i saw from the 60 vizio, at first the colors were way to high, you really need to adjust everything on the remote to judge it. I'm sure the settings at costcos-etc are bad and way off.
post #28 of 91
How did you compare the Vizio's SD picture to the Panasonic's SD picture at Costco? At every Costco I've been to all the TV's are displaying a HD demo that loops over and over, none are hooked up to actual local cable TV.

I had a Vizio 42 (before I accidentally broke the screen) and the SD picture was fine, not quite as good as the picture on my 6 year old 32" JVC in the other room, but not all that bad especially considering it was on a bigger screen designed for higher resolution.

I couldn't really tell a great difference picture wise between the Vizio 60" and Phillips 63" that sit right next to each other at my Costco, of course the Phillips is bigger.
post #29 of 91
I just picked up the vizio 60" today and have been running a break in dvd most of the day but did do some calibration, HD looks very good via hdmi comcast digital cable. Watched some dvd's with the oppo 970 player and standard netflix dvd's look very impressive. The picture isnt perfect but for you just cant beat the value for the buck with this set.
post #30 of 91
Any comments on the Philips 63'' and how effective pixel plus 3hd is with sd signals?
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