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Need opinions on 50" plasma

1163 Views 13 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  hobbes49
Okay I've been trying to read as much as I can for the last few weeks and now I am just as confused as ever. I'm looking for a couple recommendations on the best plasma to get for my situation.

Looking for a 50", tyring to stay around $4,000. I know a few nice ones out there are in the 4k-5k range but I am hoping by the time I'm ready to buy in a month or two the prices will have come down a bit.

I've been hearing a lot about different Panasonic and NEC models. Anyway, here's what I would use it for

Lots of sports

25% - HDTV watching

40% - Digital TV (OTA or ESPN not in HD)

20% - Stretched DirecTV 4:3

15% - DVD Movies

I have a surround sound setup if that matters. So the only things I will be plugging into the TV would be my DTV box and DVD player.

Based on the criteria above, does anyone have any suggestions on what monitor would work best for me?

Thanks in advance.
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You have already named two of the top choices.

A consideration you didn't mention is the lighting conditions. Panys have deeper blacks, while the NEC has more vibrant colors. So depending on the darkness of the viewing area, one's strength might be the other's weakness and vice versa.

Anyone who has experience with both of these care to weigh in?
yeah i forgot to mention that part. we're house shopping at the moment, so not sure right now what the lighting conditions will be.
From all I've read here, you really couldn't go wrong with either panel. There are a lot of happy Pioneer owners also.

Because of the rapidly improving technology, you might want to narrow it down to a couple of top choices, try to view them at a B&M store, and watch for specials.

If you are house hunting, you may not be ready to pull the trigger until closer to Summer. I read just today that Summer is a slow time for dealers, and they might be more willing to deal then.

Happy hunting. :)
I was in the exact situation and just pulled the trigger on a NEC 50XM4. I thought for sure I would get the Panasonic, but a few of these threads on this subject really stuck out. I also watch about 80% TV, 20% movies and a lot of HD sports.

From my research, the NEC does better with HD, stretch modes (important for standard cable), and conditions where there is a lot of light in the room.

If I was going to watch 50% or more movies, I would have gotten the Panasonic. It is hard to go wrong with either model. They are both great units.
I just bought a 50" LG and highly reccomend it, it looks good in the sun thanks to its high contrast ratio 5000:1 and its very bright....i beleive 1500 brightness.....paid $4100 shipped about a month ago. got it from this site www.flatpanelman.com

model # MU-50PM10

you can usually negotiate with them on the price too
and the specs on your LG-MU-50PM10 and they look impressive. Noticed that it does NOT come with a stand nor speakers. Not sure about no stand but the no-speakers idea is great!

Only comment I have is the set only has one (1) set of Comp Video inputs: you'll have fun trying to connect a Prog DVD player. Have you thought about that?? You will probably need some external switching unless your main receiver has it built in.
Pioneers provide awesome sports viewing providing an almost 3D PQ.

Especially daytime viewing of sports is the Pio strength whereas the nights belong to Panasonic. Preference for Detail and Action = Pio/NEC Preference for viewing in darkness and deeper blacks belongs = Panny.

Some stores are clearing out the Pio 5040 models as the new 5050 is debuting. I think the NEC has an extra year of warranty and the fact Pio bought NEC since last fall and there is some sharing between the two.

Pioneers also have excellent scalers for viewing SD also. I cannot speak for Panny with SD though. I'm not anti-Panny just a personal preference in viewing both. You can't lose either way.

Don't mean to rag on LG but the Japanese have been the innovators of Plasma for over 25 years and the Koreans are trying to catch up and the Japanese plasma would be the thoroughbred and tried and tested and the fact LG owns Zenith which gets average reviews. If the budget mandates going Korean or Taiwan no problem but make sure you double check the half life hours as many of those off brands or budget units have a half life less than half of the higher end models from Japan - Look for 60,000 hr half life minimums = 20+ yrs viewing. I do agree that in the future LG and Samsung may become the innovators as many Japanese makers are leaving plasma market - Sony/Toshiba/Fujitsu and that's going to open doors for Korea and China. Good Luck! and Good Viewing!
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I purchased my NEC XM4 two weeks ago and could not be happier. I chose the NEC based on the numerous positive reviews on this forum. The key factors for me were the vibrant colors, decent blacks, "stadium" stretch mode, handling of SD and wealth of inputs. The moment I placed my order was a leap of faith since I was not able to view one in person. Fortunately, what I had read was in fact, true.

I was lucky enough to have it mounted in time for the Super Bowl and it was awesome. Now, I can't wait for the NFL Sunday Ticket in HD to start!!!

Good Luck,
The NEC 50XR4 would be a great option for you, with the amount of non-HD source you watch. The three year warranty, with one year for the panel, is also very nice.

Or you could do the 50XM4 and add a four year warranty for less than the price difference between the XR4 and XM4.

In a month or two, you never know what the prices will be like. You can always call to find out (can't discuss price on the forun).

[email protected]

1(888)286-5353 Ext 522
Quite a few folks here are happy with the XR4 and have purchased them throught forum sponsors such as TVAuthority. They've gotten great deals through the PowerBuy, prices were close to your range.

Perhaps TVAuthority can get another PowerBuy going?

What do you think Kin?

You can count me in...
I don't think there will be any official "power buy" for these. There really isn't too much room to move in these plasmas. We do however have seperate AVS pricing, and a special AVS program (perfect pexel policy). We do the best we can for you guys :)

Just to let you know, the residential (xr4) is in our five star program to boot.

If you have any questions about the programs, give me a call.

1-888-286-5353 ext 522
Originally posted by hobbes49

25% - HDTV watching

40% - Digital TV (OTA or ESPN not in HD)

20% - Stretched DirecTV 4:3

15% - DVD Movies
Given your viewing habits, the NEC would do very well. For everyday TV viewing (60% for you it seems) my NEC (50XR4A) is much better than my Panasonic-based panel (Optoma PD-50). Both however are very good - can not go wrong with either IMO.

However, if you have a dimly lit room, the Panasonic-based may be a better option as mine does better with little ambient light. If you have a brightly lit room then try the NEC. Also, for my eyes, the NEC does a much better job on satellite SD TV (I have Dish). They are about the same on HDTV feeds, but the colors of the NEC with sports are superior - again, IMO only.

FWIW: I bought my NEC from Aaron at TVA but almost went with Plasma Concepts - I based it on price. Again, both of these companies seem like good choices.

Good Luck.
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Thanks guys for all your replies. Kin, you'll probably be hearing from me at some point in the next few months.

Thanks again to everyone.
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