In most forums, we just post a reply called "Bump" to drive a thread back into sight of other members when we feel we're not getting the trafic we'd hoped for. However, usually it means either that the info is out there, in other threads, and can be found with savy searches (ie using the proper keywords, modifying them as you go along) or that the post topic or question asked isn't sufficiently "on target" to bring interest.
I can understand your frustration, as it is hard to get a good idea of the comparative quality of the NEC displays, versus info about the Pannys which are abundantly discussed here. Some time back (a couple some years ago) key posters here considered the NEC displays to be among the best, but mosty sold through commercial channels and at considerably higher pricing than the competition, shifting the focus towards other brands.
Plasmas are NOT a product most of us would want to buy sight unseen, as it is their image quality (and aesthetic contribution to one's interior) which is usually the motivation. So if a brand is not in the line of sight of the consumer, then consumer sales will not be legion. Thus the relatively low number of AVS forum members with NECs.
Since, two events have concurred to change this situation somewhat. The increased presence of online vendors (such as our own forum sponsors at the top of the page) who offer NEC at competitive pricing, and breaches in the Panasonic supply chain transferring a proportion of sales to other brands including NEC.
A few months back, I was impressed with a demo disc on a NEC VP4 which had the clearest picture of any display in the store. Does this mean it is the best panel? No, just that properly tweaked and set up, it can/will have quite pleasing picture quality. However, it was mostly slow pan scenery views with architecture, fountains and such, which maybe don't reveal possible flaws, so it is important to at least view panels with a minimum amount of control over sources, connections and adjustments.
From what you've said, regarding preference for onboard DVI input and no added bells and whistles, the NEC panels seem to come so equipped in base form: just the panel, but with oodles of inputs. However, as their main purpose is commercial display use, their DVI input is not HDCP ready. To us in Europe, at least at this date, it is a moot point, but maybe to those in the USA it is an important factor to consider. The forthcoming next generation of NEC displays will have HDCP compatible DVI inputs.
If there are any stores in your region, try to take a look at as many panels as you can, taking into account the ambient lighting conditions you are viewing them in and realizing that setup can make a huge difference and that it will take many stores to get even a faint idea. For example, I had to see the latest 42" Panasonic PA20 consumer display in about 15 stores before I found a panel set up so that it didn't look like a dreadful display. It literally poisoned me against the 6UY models which I had finally decided to jump the gun for. Had me even thinking that Panasonic, boosting the contrast to 4000:1 had taken a giant step backwards in image quality.
My dream would be to find a shop with an auditorium with the Panasonic, Fujitsu and NEC 50 inchers side by side using the same hookups for each source. No such place on this side of the pond, seemingly, that is unless I get all three and resell those I like less?
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