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60"--can't make up my mind

797 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  agogley
I am completing my home theater/media room and only need to purchase my display to complete the setup. I have done tons and tons of research, gone to every AV store I can find, and read darn near every post on this forum I could find. I am most definately getting a plasma screen (hence the post in the plasma forum). I work for the government and get transferred every 2-5 years so I need the flexibility that a plasma can provide. My media room has two rows of seating, one 8 feet away and one about 12 feet away (directly behind each other the back one up on a 7" platform). So based on that , I was considering the 60" range of plasmas. But even after all of my research I simply cannot make a decision. My initial budget range was about $7K for a screen but I might be able to make it to $8K...and I say might. These are the options I have been considering.


Pioneer 6100HD - According to my research, MSRP is about $10K, but estimated street price from authorized vendors make it for about $3K less than MSRP including shipping. Due to the price, this was my initial pick. I saw this set in a couple different Best Buys and I thought it looked good. However, several regular members saw the set and didn't think very highly of it. This caused me to reevaluate. I thought about the 1410, but it's impossible to find and there are no authorized online vendors that I can find for elite models.


NEC PX-61XR4A - According to my research, this set can be purchased from authorized vendors for about $800 more than the Pio 6100 (note that NEC's website doesn't use MSRP but average street price, which of course, is really MSRP). The NEC consumer model comes with a fantastic warranty and I hear good things about the performance. I have seen very conflicting information about the inputs. The NEC website does not list HDMI inputs as being present nor are they shown on the photos, but the downloadable spec sheet seems to indicate they are present. This model also has ISF calibration modes.


Panasonic TH65PHD8UK 65" - This is clearly a nice set and big at 65". Unfortunately, I think it really is out of my price range at $8,500. The new 65" 1080p model wont come out until late summer and who knows when we'll actually be able to get our hands on one. MSRP on that is $10K and I think it will sell for that, at least initially. SO the new 1080p is really out of reach.


Panasonic TH58PX600U - Advertised at MSRP $6,000 it is within my price range, albeit I'll have to wait sometime before I can actually get one. I am guessing that I'll have to pay full MSRP and shipping. I don't have anyway to compare a 58" versus a 61" to see how much the size difference makes. This model does have cablecard capability but no ISF calibration modes. Decent amount of inputs....but how long I have to wait, who knows. I am not sure about having an empty room until September or October.


does Anybody have any opinions?
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Opinions?...you betcha! I just love spending other people's money!:D Joking aside for the moment, as you have a dedicated HT Room, have you considered a projector system? As for large Plasma displays, the pickins are slim, and you stated you did not want to wait for the upcoming 1080P Panny 65"er or for prices to drop. As much as I like Pioneer, I'd pass on the current 61"er as it's an older previous generation panel. I've heard great things about NEC, but their distribution is weak in the US and it's tough to even see one. There's a guy on this Forum from Cleveland Plasma that is very knowledgeable on NEC's line, and I believe they are one of the few authorized sellers. I'd check w/him to get the straight skinny. My present front runner would be the current Panny 65"er, but then I've seen this one in action. Unlike you, I'm not in a big rush, so I'm waiting for the 1080p's before I do my next HT Upgrade. Whatever you decide, can't wait to see your pics on your completed HT system. Good luck.
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I did consider projection as I mused in R. Harkness thread about why we didn't choose a projection system.
I know what you mean... & Rich has seen more of these systems than anyone should be allowed. Once bitten by the Plasma Bug your addicted for life!
IMHO, I'd get the 58 and save the 2-3k over the other 61's. I ran the tv dimensions calculator for you and a 61 is only 10% larger and very probably won't be noticed. IMHO also, the 65 is really the only other competitor due to cost and similar size of the other 61 inch panels listed. The new 1080p 65 Panasonic would be the true coup de gras at 26% bigger than the 58 and 14% bigger than the 61's. Also, and most importantly it has 1080p which I think just might be stellar. Shame it can't be considered.


I am waiting for some of these new tv's myself and, like you, have been doing a lot of reading and really at my price range the 58 is leading the pack although Samsung has a new 1080p 57 inch LCD coming that I will at least get a price on before I act. Although Samsung is never in a hurry. I have a 40 inch LCD of theirs that I like. Please keep us informed.
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In one of the home theater magazines on the shelf right now, they have a "test" of several of the new front projection systems. They are much less expensive than previously, and they are brighter, so the room doesn't need to be in total darkness as they required before. With dedicated "theater" seating, I'd only do a large screen, and have the "immersion" factor come into play! A 58" plasma isn't going to do that from 12' away.
As I stated in my original post, the Panny 65" 1080p display will be out of my range as it will debut at $10K plus shipping. I just don't think I can afford that.
Here's the link to the Sound and Vision 9 page "test" of HD projectors for you to read about. I still think you may want to head in this direction, and be within your budget. Check the pricing and the cost of a good screen via the Forum sponsors at the top of the page.
I already said, I need to get a plasma for versatility reasons. If I move, I can't put a projection system just anywhere whereas a plasma can be hung on any wall and will perform very well.
I didn't really answer your question in the NEC thread.


You won't regret the 61XR4 if you go that route. I have had mine for almost two months now, and it kicks.


I have the following connected to mine:


Xbox 360: Component 1

HD Cable PVR: Component 2 (There are bugs on the HDMI interface in the cable box otherwise I would use that)

HTPC: HDMI.


Colours on this set are fantastic and it is completely tunable with per input memories that allow you to set virtually everything possible.
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Preorders are being done at Cleveland Plasma and Plasmaplanet on the 58" for a much favorable target than expected. Try half what the 65" may MSRP at but it is hard to resist that photo above. :D
I noticed the price for the 58". That is a significant reduction from MSRP. The question with the 65" is really if it will be at my price range. I have to think it will be more expensive then their current 65" model, which I can't really afford now. Maybe I'll see if I can't talk the wife into stretching for an extra couple thousand..but with the baby coming that will be really, really hard.
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