I just recently got my NEC 50MP1 and absolutely love it. I may not be the best judge as far as comparisons to other Plasma's go because I went from a cheap 32" Sanyo CRT TV to the 50MP1. The picture on it is great IMHO. I am not a "videophile" so I don't see a lot of the flaws some people talk about such as lack of black level, chroma bug, etc. It has a very vibrant picture with a nice smooth and crisp look to it. I am VERY pleased with it and can't see ever going back to a regular CRT after this.
The NEC 50MP1 has plenty of inputs including a DVI input, and the picture through component input straight from my non-progressive DVD player is stunning. Using the "Stadium" stretch mode to watch 4:3 programming in the full 16:9 screen results in a good picture as well. The Stadium strech mode pretty much leaves the center of the picture alone and stretches the edges to fit the screen, but I didn't even notice after 15min of viewing.
The 50MP1 also has a split screen and PIP mode, so you can watch 2 programs side by side through different inputs or use it in a standard PIP mode through two inputs.
I also would like a comparison from those who have seen the Fuji 5002 and the MEC MP1. THe NEC is cheaper and has a built in audio amplifier, though only has a 1 year warranty and is FCC class A. The FUJI has a 3 year warranty which is nice and is FCC CLass B. But the few thousand difference in price would probably tip me to the 5o MP1 if the PQs were equal. ANyone out there seen both side by side?
Note: the Fuji 5001 is class A and is cheaper than the 5002 which is class B; list is the same, but street is about 1000 cheaper. Same with the Pioneer 503CMX and Pro 1000HD.
With some Class A models, IR interference can be an issue; it varies by model - you should search for that point.
As for PQ, I've seen the NECs and think the Panasonic panels (both the Panny 50 and Fuji 50) as well as the new Pioneer have slightly better PQ. The Panasonic and Fujitsu definitely have better blacks. The Fujitsu also has the DVI, as does the Pioneer 503CMX. The Pioneer has an expansion slot with the DVI on it, so it can be upgraded easily to HDCP if you are so inclined.
There is a review out on the current Marantz 50" plasma in, I believe, the current issue of Sound and Vision magazine. Correct me if i'm wrong but I believe it is the NEC with the Marantz label attached to it. The remote looks exactly the same as the NEC remote as are the menu items. The review was quite favorable to this plasma display. The big difference between the two brands is the purchase price. Hope this helps.
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