Well, I'm not sure about how good the Sony is, I've not seen it myself yet. As far as I've heard it doesn't have as good black levels as the Panasonic has, which is important, if you're watching in a dark room. However, I can't really say much about the Sony. CR seems to have reviewed it quite favorably, I've been told, so it will probably be no bad choice. However, Panasonic gets very good reviews from almost every reviewer I've seen, and after the price drop it's probably going to be noticably cheaper than the Sony. In the end you'll have to make the choice. I recommend you to try to find a shop which has both panels on display and compare them with your own eyes. Even better if you are allowed to play with the settings, so you can compare them better.
To me, from technological perspective I'd choose Panasonic. From the other side, meaning the aesthetics and overall looks, I'd rather have the Sony. The wife seems to really like the Sony style, even though last time I looked the Panasonic compared to it was the PD25. In any case with the new PD50 I bet she would still prefer the Sony, I like it too. It just seems to make a better impression, seems more squareish/bigger, which I guess we both liked. The quality of both seemed very good in the stores, I know Panasonic gets very good ratings, but Sony picture seemed just as good to us. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get either one for the wife decided it would cost us too much for the Sony. Which brings me to the question where you saw the Sony for the same price as Panasonic ? Last time I checked there was still at least $500 difference. Please send me a private messsage if you can.
Originally Posted by dthayman
I am going to purchase one of these 2 plasmas this weekend.
They are both the same exact price.
Which one is the one to go with.
Pros and Cons
Just the facts please--no Sony vs. Panny feuds
Ok here's a data point for you -
Every single Sony product i've ever owned has failed out of warranty. Some sooner than others. A VCR, 2 Cordless Phones, an Answering Machine, my 27" Trinitron TV twice, and my friggin Sony Dream Machine alarm clock that would randomly make me late for work. I love their engineering, but i have had terrible luck with their build quality.
Alternately, i have never had a Panasonic product fail yet. 32" HD Tube TV, 4 VCRs, DVD Player, CD Player, Autoreverse Cassette Deck, H/T Receiver, Equalizer, Cordless Phone, answering machine, and radio alarm clock.
I'm being completely honest here, and i'm not exaggerating.
Experience with product durability differs, so just to balance the equation, I'll mention I still have two of the original Sony Beta Hi-Fi VCRs that are â€” what? â€” 20 years old or so, and still work well. My eight or nine year old Sony 32" CRT still has a great picture, even after it had been dropped on a concrete floor. (On the other hand, I've has two Toyotas die prematurely, and they're bullet proof for everyone else.)
Back to the original question. I, too, had these two as my finalists (except it was the 42PD25/U in my case, not the 50.) I had a hard time choosing between them on picture quality. In one store the Sony looked better to me, in the next the Panasonic won. I compared them in a dozen stores, and never could make up my mind. About all I was sure of was that making a comparison in one setting is a crap shoot.
In the end, I went with the Panasonic because it had many more features and cost $500 less. The PD50 doesn't have the big feature edge, but it does have a built-in ATSC tuner, which the KE42M1 lacks (one reason it is being discontinued). If you can get HD OTA, that is worth considering. External ATSC tuners are not cheap (unless you use D*).
As far as other differences go, I believe the Sony has better internal processing and more saturated colors than Panasonic. I spent part of the $500 I saved on an iScan Ultra external processor, which more than offsets the first advantage. The PD50's color decoder seems to have been tweaked to have greater saturation than the 25, so that difference (I'm not sure I consider it an "advantage," but many do) has been minimized.
Sony seems to be departing the plasma business. While that wouldn't deter me from buying one, it bothers some, and if you are one of them, go with Panasonic, which is determined to remain the world leader in that technology. In case it makes any difference to you, the KE42M1 does not use ALiS technology. It uses the very highly regarded ED panel developed by NEC (Pioneer now owns the plant).
The good news is that this a "win-win" decision. You will be very happy with either set once you see it in your home.
What Randy said about Sony reliablility. My 27" Trinitron failed after a measly 3 1/2 years, couldn't be fixed right the first time (3weeks in shop), had to go back a second time to the shop. Also my Sony tape deck broke. I swore never to buy anything Sony again.
I can chime in a little on this issue....I've viewed these units numerous times side-by-side with different feeds. To my subjective viewing experience there is no question (to me at least) that when the panny has a great feed it looks better than the sony does (better blacks most certainly)..... When both units are fed a less than an optimum signal, especially in analog, there is no question in my mind that the Sony does a better job with the bad signal. Because of price the Panny is a better buy but I like the way the Sony handles bad signal content. It seems to me that Sony's XS series also does a better job of handling SD content than some of the other manufacturers. It's just that the 42m1 is so damn overpriced. I want to buy at least one of these two along with the JVC DILA I'm buying but for the life of me I can't decide. My cable company's signal sucks to say the least but the Sony's price does put me off somewhat.
I know I may be the village idiot with regards to technical specs on certain models but one simple question I have with the panny is that I understand that it has a high def tuner-but isn't that tuner just for over the air rather than for a ground cable line connection? I constantly see specs that indicate high def tuners but sometimes the manufacturers are not exactly clear on exactly what those tuners decode. Sometimes it's clear to me sometimes not.
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