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I'm currently looking for a new 50" HDTV to replace my current Sony CRT SDTV. While the CRT is pretty decent I want a bigger screen for movies and of course the HD resolution.


After investigation the different options I have reached the conclusion that I'm not going to be truly happy with any of the TV's currently on the market, they all seem to have some kind of issue, even the super high-end ones. (I'm the kind of person who goes looking for flaws in his screen and once I've seen them I will keep noticing them for as long as I have that TV). There simply doesn't seem to be a TV on the market that is absolutely 100% perfect in every way. Except for size/resolution, I'm worried that any new TV is going to feel like a downgrade from my CRT in the area of PQ (blacks, color reproduction, image-processing artifacts, etc)


So what I'm looking for is the TV that will cause the least grief/annoyance.
  • I already ruled out LCD as a technology and I think plasma is the way to go for me.
  • Price/performance is a factor, I'm going to be more annoyed with a flawed screen if I paid a lot for it, so I'm looking for the right balance here.
  • I'm planning to have it calibrated after the burn-in period.
  • Preferably, I just want a monitor. No tuner, No USB, not DLNA, no built-in speakers. I'm only buying this to display video, I have a separate stereo system, a separate media player, tuner, etc. I know any TV will include one or more of these features since display-only screens seem to be impossible to find and hideously expensive. But the inclusion and/or quality of these features if present are not a factor as I'm not ever going to use them. PQ is the only thing that matters.
  • Wife-acceptance-factor is not an issue, I don't care how pretty it looks, how thin it is, etc. only the PQ is relevant.


Currently I'm considering the Panasonic G20, V20 and the LG PK550 and I'm leaning towards the LG. While the Panasonics seem to have a slightly better PQ, the price difference will result in more annoyance than the LG. Also, for the price of the LG I can more easily justify replacing it in a few years if technology has improved significantly by then.
  • Are there any other models/brands I should be considering ?
  • Is the quality difference of the Panny's worth the extra money ?
  • Any other factor I should be taking into account ?
 

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I sold my Sony Wega HDCRTV because I thought I needed a bigger TV. I also ruled out LCDs. Well, I tried out Panasonic S2 and returned it because the floating blacks were probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen in a production TV. There is also the rising blacks issue but I don't care much about that. Picture quality was otherwise great and no IR. Too bad the black levels change conspicuously in the middle of movies, making the TV completely unwatchable.


I tried a PK550 and it had good black levels and good picture. IR was worse than the Panasonic; I'm not sure I broke it in all the way but it was very noticeable on things like the MGM lion which would leave a ghost image. My DVD player flags also hung around for a long time. Also, there was very bad line bleed on things like scrolling credits. The green FBI warning screens had visible line bleed all the way across the screen from the horizontal lines in the FBI warning logo. That kind of crap is acceptable for a pawn shop CRT not a home theater panel, so I returned the LG as well.


I eventually bought a Samsung 550. I've only had it a week or so but IR seems to be between the LG and Panasonic, picture quality seems to be acceptable but meh, black levels are acceptable but meh. Input lag is bad enough to make many games unplayable but I never tested the Panasonic and LG for input lag so I can't compare. The set exhibits no line bleed, no floating blacks, and it basically works, so if you want a tv that basically works and isn't broken in one way or another, you might look at the Samsung. It's looking like I'll be keeping the Samsung and have resigned myself to buying another CRT for 4:3 SD gaming with acceptable input lag.
 
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