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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first post here. My 32" regular TV died recently and I need to find a replacement ASAP. I have been thinking about going EDTV or HDTV, plasma or LCD. My wall unit can only fit a display 36.5" wide and 26" high. It looks like I will be able to fit 37" TH37PWD5 (5th generation) in there, but I will not be able to fit the 6th generation Panny display. I understand that TH37PWD5 is only EDTV. However, we are mostly watching DirecTV (with TiVo) and DVDs. (I might consider going with HD DirecTivo when it becomes available next year, but we are looking almost at 6 month from today.) So, my question is: will I be happy with the TH37PWD5 plasma display? What do people think about this model? How is the quality, reliability? Should I get this 37" Panny EDTV today or wait a little bit for prices to drop on some 32" HDTV (like Sony plasma or Samsung LTN325W LCD)? Is there a substantial differences in PQ between EDTV and HDTV plasmas of similar sizes? Any suggestions, tips, personL experinces? Thanks
 

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I replaced my 27" CRT set with a 37" Panasonic several months ago, and also watch mostly SD DTV via TiVo, plus a few DVD's. I have been very satisfied with the set, and of course prices have come down from around $3000, then, to closer to $2500, now. The plasma is better than the tube set in every way - sharpness, color fidelity, geometric distortion, etc. I bought a couple of small AR 215 speakers (about $50/pair) and they work very well with the plasma's 8w amplifiers - not home theater quality, but certainly superior to the tube set's built-in speakers.


I have not moved to HDTV yet (waiting for an HD DTiVo), but have seen numerous posts by people who have compared HDTV broadcasts side-by-side for ED and HD Panasonics, and most of them have found, surprisingly, that there is no significant difference between the two at normal viewing distances, and some even prefer the ED sets.


It is hard to find any concrete statistics, but in general Panasonic plasmas seem to be pretty reliable. Some of the "commercial" sets bought online have "carry-in" warranties which require that you ship the set (a bulky 85 lb. package) to a Panasonic Center for warranty service; you might want to check with your dealer to see exactly what kind of warranty coverage you will have. BTW, many credit cards offer an additional year of coverage beyond the mfr's year, and IMHO this provides pretty good protection w/o the need for an extended warranty.


As to whether you should wait for something newer and/or cheaper - this is always the question when consumer electronics are involved. There will always be some improved product in the pipeline, and if you wait until the ultimate technology at the absolute minimum price arrives, you will never buy a new TV. IMO plasma technology and prices have reached a level of "maturity" that makes them an attractive choice for many viewers, although there is still sticker shock when you compare their prices to CRT sets.


If you decide to buy the plasma, you will probably find much better prices online than at any B&M store. Dealers to check would include most of those that advertise on this Forum, and also Dell which periodically has sales with prices that are highly competitive, especially if combined with a coupon and free shipping deal.


Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great review, thanks! I was actually thinking about Dell. Is it "commericial" model? Also, you mentioned built-in speakers. Are they detacheable? Dell is not showing any speakers with this model.


Another possibility would be to wait until this model shows up in my local Costco, as somebody mentioned on this board recently. Anybody has any ideas what price Costco will be selling this 37"-er for?


One more question: how about "burn-in" problems with this model?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
hiker, thanks for the specs. You are absolutely right. I thought that the 6th generation is the one advertised on the Panasonic website: TH-37PA20U/P. That one looks bigger than both 6UY and 5UZ. So, I am going to consider 6UY too. Do you know what is the difference between 6UY and 5UZ? Did they stop manufacturing 5UZ and moved on to the new model completely? What big retail stores carry either 6UY and 5UZ (37" version)? Thanks a lot!
 

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The 6UY is this year's model and the 5UZ is last year's. There has been a lot of discussion of the improvements that 6UY has over the 5UZ. Like improved contrast ratio, brighter picture and most importantly the 6UY has the optional DVI/HDCP terminal. Search the forum. BTW, the last character of the model number has a meaning:

Y = BNC jacks (a RCA/BNC adapter can be used)

Z = RCA jacks


Retail stores won't carry the commercial models. Check with forum sponsors like Plasma Concepts, Visual Apex, Plasma Extreme.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great responses, thank you guys! One more question: if I will be primarily watching SDTV for now (except when watching DVDs) do I need to "expand" the 4:3 SD picture to cover the whole screen in order to avoid "burn-in" problems on the left and right sides (from the black bars)?
 

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I was referring to the built-in speakers on my old tube TV; the plasma doesn't have built-in speakers, just amplifiers which I use with the AR speakers. Incidentally, I bought a pair of Panasonic brand speakers (on sale at Sears for $200/pair) and tried them w/ my set - incredibly crappy quality for speakers w/ list price of $550+. Their "woofers" have diameters of 3" or so. Inferior to my $50 AR's in every way, let alone when compared to any bona fide HT setup. I returned them to Sears and am very suspicious of any built-in or accessory speakers for plasma TVs. You simply cannot get good bass response in the narrow form factor used for these speakers.


I ran the TV in 4:3 aspect ratio for several months with black or dark gray sidebars, and was just beginning to notice very faint burn-in with a pure white screen, although it was invisible in normal viewing. See many previous posts on this subject.


If you use one of the several aspect ratios provided to get a 4:3 picture to fill the screen, burn-in should be no problem at all. I finally ended up using the "zoom" setting with the picture-size/position control set to reduce the picture's horiz and vert size. This fills up the screen horizontally, w/o distortion. It does cut off a couple of inches at top and bottom which I hardly notice.


When I bought my plasma from Dell, they were selling the commercial model with a carry-in warranty. This may or may not still be true; the only way to find out for sure is to get ahold of a (rare) Dell sales rep who knows what he's talking about. BTW, Dell has an excellent return policy under which you can return a unit for virtually any reason w/in 30 days, and usually they will pay the freight.


I have not priced a 37" Panasonic at Costco or the other warehouse-type stores. Our local Sams Club has started carrying Pioneer plasmas at prices that are under other B&M stores, but still well above online prices, especially when you take sales tax into account.
 
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