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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It was set up along with the HDTV model and a Pioneer and Fujitsu HD. The Panny EDTV displayed yellowish whites and the picture looked soft. The feed was the in-store HD feed. The sales guy and I reset the menu for both Pannys and they still looked worlds apart.


After all the good reviews I've seen on this board, I was set to spring for it. But now I've got some serious second thoughts. Any help you can offer would be appreciated.


p.s. This is my first new TV in 15 years so I need time to catch up on the jargon. It's great fun shopping around but also very confusing.
 

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"very confusing". me too. Wouldn't it be nice if we could fill out a form & hit the "find me the perfect plasma" button. It could go something like this:


1. % of TV viewing using: DVD, OTA, Cable, Sat., Gaming, Computer.

2. Viewing distance:

3. Hookup needs: DVI, BNC, ect...

4. Room lighting???

5. Lenth of warranty.

6. Audio needs: Speakers

7. Tuner: Yes or No

8. Placement: Wall or Stand

9. Viewing interest: Movies, Sports

10. Is your VCR flashing "12:00"
 

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psu7979,


If I had your experience I'd be wary of plunking down the dough too. I have seen Panny ED models that looked a little soft in the stores, but it was always the fault of the store.


The Panny ED picture is not inherently soft. In fact with DVDs it can look sharper than most plasmas out there. I suggest it was the set-up. Click on the link below my name and you'll see pictures of DVDs playing on my Panny ED model. You'll see the picture is not soft.


It depends on how much leg work your want to do, I suppose. I personally would never buy a display until I saw it performing as I'd like, with my own eyes. Yet, quite a few forum members have bought the Panny on recommendation only, and have been extremely happy.
 

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Most of us have gone thru this at one time. I was fortunate that 17 months ago a member here invited me to his home to see his Panny first hand. At that time very few stores even displayed plasmas.

I have rarely seen, since then, a store set up showing HD as good as ours does at home. Don't know what the reason is. I didn't do any fancy settings - just "plug and play". (This is, of course, a std. def. Panny.)

In the last couple months, we have watched a lot more HD - even tho that means we can't skip thru commercials or time shift.

Where are you located. If in Ca. or Or., Magnolia has excellent set ups for displaying various plasma units.


...mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the feedback. The problem with buying at Circuit City is that they are not set up to switch around the feeds and really tinker with the sets until you are satisfied. I have a hard time plunking down 3-5K when I can't even see the set performing anywhere near what I'd call acceptable. Unfortunately, here in South Jersey, Tweeter is the only decent place to buy one but they don't carry Panasonic (or Hitachi for that matter which is my backup pick if the plasma doesn't work out).


Is Circuit City pretty good about returns if I just plain don't like it?
 

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I just noticed the same thing at the CC in Deerfield, IL. It was especially soft. I asked the guy what the feed was, he said it was a recorded feed that went to all the TVs and was not HD (who knows). I have seen the panny look great b/f so I know it is the feed or set-up or whatever.
 

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One thing you need to check is how the panel is connected. I have noticed at many BBs here in N.Y., that they have their Pioneers connected by both component and RF to the same panel! It seems that for whatever reason, the component HD connection often becomes unstable. In those instances, the store personnel set the Pioneers to a lowly RF connection! It's amazing but true. It's easy for you to check since you merely need to hit the input button to see what input it's currently using (assuming you didn't notice something didn't look right immediately). Once the Pioneer panel is set to RF, the $3,000 Sampo suddenly looks worlds better than the noise ridden Pioneer. Of course most shoppers will never know what's going on and think the Sampo is the superior panel.
 

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"Softness" can be pretty subjective, although my Panasonic ED looks as sharp to me as any TV I've seen, using analog TV, digital TV, and DVD inputs (no HD yet.) . The "yellowish whites" sound like something's definitely wrong, however, although I can't imagine exactly what.


I shared your frustration when buying a plasma several months ago - it is annoying to be spending what seems like a fortune for a TV without being able to see a decent display, with various models and brands side-by-side, with a variety of feeds to compare. (The situation here in Tucson is probably worse than it is in New Jersey!)


I ended up buying from Dell. You can return the plasma to them within thirty days if you don't like it, although you will have to pay freight which would probably amount to at least a couple hundred dollars. (If the plasma isn't working properly, they will replace it w/o charging freight.) IMHO, however, you will probably end up being well satisfied.


I understand CC is also good about returns, although you wil generally pay several hundred dollars more there than at most online stores. Just be sure to have whatever agreement you make documented in writing to avoid possible future misunderstandings. Sometimes their policies vary from store to store.
 

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psu7979,


Just another note on how frustrating it is trying to determine a plasma's worth from a store demo:


When I was looking at the Panny ED plasmas over a year ago the best demo I saw was in a store that had the Panny in it's own dedicated room.

I thought I was seeing the display at it's best. The one thing I noticed was that close-ups looked amazing, and medium shots. But there seemed to be an increasing smudginess or slight blur as images got tinier on the display - e.g when a character was standing far away in a shot etc. I thought it was a bit of a drag, because otherwise the image was totally seductive - I figured I could ignore it so I bought the Panny.


Imagine how happy I was when the Panny arrived, I plugged it in, spun a DVD and that blur to the picture was completely gone. Nothing. Compared to the store Panny the one in my home was crystal clear with everything, every detail. I don't know what Gremlins posses store set-ups, but I'll never trust them totally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Rich,


I appreciate the encouragement. It's a really difficult decision for me and I'd hate to have buyers remorse after getting it home only to find that the images are no better than in the store. I guess I have to believe the overwhelming positive reviews from respected sources that say this is a very solid unit.


I've got about five weeks until I need to purchase it so I'll shop around until I absolutely have to make my final decision.


The way the industry is going, I might just save a few bucks by waiting.
 

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The local big box stores are a terrible place to evaluate a plasma display. Today I saw a store feeding a plasma with a std def VHS tape player via the composit input. I guess they were trying to save money. Needless to say it looked terrible. I would at least have pulled a $70.00 DVD player out of stock and put in a $15.00 dvd.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by psu7979
Unfortunately, here in South Jersey, Tweeter is the only decent place to buy one but they don't carry Panasonic (or Hitachi for that matter which is my backup pick if the plasma doesn't work out).


Is Circuit City pretty good about returns if I just plain don't like it?
I've never seen a Tweeter that didn't carry the Panny plasmas. Granted, they seem to want to shove you over to the Pioneer models alot, but every store I've been in has had as least one or both Panny models, and they were at least moderately calibrated.


As far as returns go, I've never really purchased anything beyond media or a cable from CC (general rule, I just never liked them much), but according to their return policies, you should have no trouble. Like Steuert said, just make sure you get written documentation of the policy.
 

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I recently have had the same experiences at Circuit City, BB and Tweeter where there are various plasmas to see side by side (Pannys ED and HD, Hitachi42HD20, Sammy SPN 4235), but they don't have them set up to see anything else other than their pre-set HD feed, and occasionally, Direct TV.


Everything I have read here suggests that the Pannys would give the best picture of the bunch, but from what I saw, the Hitachi looked crisper (although it pushed red) and the Sammy was equivalent to the Pannys. But I don't know enough to fix all of the calibration issues, and I can't see all the panels perform with all inputs.


So, the question is - how do you decide? Do you take a leap of faith based on others reviews or on what you saw, even though it's incomplete? Should you believe your eyes?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rdl44
Do you take a leap of faith based on others reviews
My experieince:



For the Panny Plasma and reviewers in this forum- Yes


For DVD players based on that forums reviews - No way.


:D
 

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I've yet to visit a dealer who displays plasmas properly. As a result I waited months to buy my Panny trying to convince myself that it would really look as good as people on this forum claim.


My local Sears never had their Panny operating, not in six months. The rest of their plasmas were showing the "Sears Network," which is distributed to 40 or 50 TV sets and looks just terrible. No way I was going to spend big bucks based on those experiences. Meanwhile, our local audio/video specialist was displaying three 42" plasmas on a wall in a darkened corner. All three were showing the same DVD and the color and PQ was gorgeous. Problem was that the pictured always appeared distorted vertically. I asked several salespeople about that distortion and all denied that there was any. Had me doubting my own eyes.


I finally held my nose and spent the big bucks and found that not a single store demo that I had seen had done justice to my Panny. The colors are rich and deep, and the PQ is great. The distortion which the salesguys denied resulted from their displaying widesreen DVDs in the zoom mode. Probably to prevent burning in the bars top and bottom, but you'd think that they would have known that and been able explain it to customers. Of course, when properly displayed in the full mode there is no distortion.


Until these B & M stores learn enough about these new fangled TVs we'll just have to depend on the good advice available here on AVSForum.
 

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I have been to 2 CC and 2 tweeter and two other boutique HT stores yesterday and I must say I had the same experience. I have read the panny 42" and the Pioneer 433 & 503 CMX reviews on this forum extensively and I expected a close shoot out between these two models. Well it was no contest. I mean the difference is not marginal! It was night and day. The Pioneers Pro 1000 had stunning picture very sharp with vivid colors. It feels like a 3D. The blacks are not deep blacks however. I knew of this short coming on the Pioneer before the audition so I was actually looking for it. I didn't had a chance to see how the pio handles dark scenes. The panny looked washed out, unexciting. The result has been the same from store to store Including the boutiques who had a better setup than the other stores. The pioneer were being fed a high def football game and the panny were playing Monster Inc at tweeter and toy story at CC. The Panny at the boutique were also fed HD football game. I still think that the set up at the store didn't do justice to the panny but it is sure hard to ignore what I saw. This is just quick observation. I will go back again next week and spend more time with both units.
 

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My experience with BB and CC and 42 ED Panny is very similar. For some strange reasons Panny looks very washed out at these stores when compared to 50 inch Pio 5031HD usually conveniently sitting next to the Panny. However, this Pio is more than twice as expensive as ED Panny and my theory is that both stores make the Pio look as good as possible and they don't care so much about Panny because they get significantly more money selling Pios than selling Pannys. I have no other explanation because when I watch this Pio model ISF'ed at my friend's house it looks probably somewhat better with HD material, similar with DVDs, but looks worse with SD material than my ED Panny. The PQ of the Pio at my friend's also looks rather close to the PQ of the store Pio, unlike the PQ of the Panny which is a night and day. I bought my Panny based on the hundreds of posts regarding Panny and other plasmas that I read on this forum. And I am very happy with my decision and very grateful to many contributing members.


Andrzej
 

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Yes, I've often seen the Panny look duller than the Pio side-by-side. Although recently I saw them in one store where they looked pretty similar in brightness.


Something I'm curious about is this: What kind of brightness/contrast settings are the Pioneer owners using once they've lived with their plasma for a while? I ask because many are attracted to the Pio over the Panny for it's extra brightness and vividness. However, for me the Panny has been plenty bright - and it is placed in a brutal light environment for day time - right beside a wall that is almost all window. In fact, for NTSC especially, I have the brightness (contrast) levels cranked way, way down, which I find makes for a soothing but still plenty bright picture while watching from dusk into night time (day time I can use a brighter setting).


In other words, I don't even use the brightness the Panny is capable of, so I can't see the benefit I personally would gain from the brightness of the Pio - I'd just be cranking it down, especially for watching films in low light, as I do.


But perhaps Pio owners on the whole might enjoy watching the brighter picture on the whole. Any word from the Pio guys?


Thanks,
 

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Not to be accusatory, but I have always wondered if some places would intentionally make some dispalays look better than others to ramp up sales for those they get more profit on....


Just a thought.......


This of course wouldn't apply tot he places where you get a "huh?" from the sales-kid.


:D
 

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I bought my Panasonic (37") from a shop (Magnolia) which had a 10 day return policy (no quibbles). In the shop, DVDs looks absolutely briliant, but most off our viewing is SD. We tried hooking it up to an SD feed in the shop to see what it was like, it wasn't impressive. Then after asking about the return policy I decided to take it home and see what it looked like in the living room. It still had problems, and was going back in 10 days, until I borrowed video essential, then finally it looked good with SD.
 
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