Sunday, July 6, 2008

Panasonic 50PZ800u Review - The Good

The Panasonic 50Pz800u

So I've had my Panasonic 50PZ800u for a little bit over a month. I am going to write up my review in two parts. The first part will be all the things I love about my new TV. The second part will be all the things that annoy me about the TV.

Let me start off by saying that I love this TV. I am extremely happy with my purchase and I don't think I could have bought a better TV for myself. I had a big party last night for the Fourth of July, and had a lot of people over watching lots of different source material and everyone really enjoyed it.   We watched a few different things.   We watched Ratatouille, National Treasure, and Planet Earth all in HD, and the picture looked fantastic.  I think it even convinced one of my friends that it was time to buy a new TV.

My setup is not extraordinary.  I don't yet have a stereo system hooked up to it, so I'm using the TV's onboard speakers.   They actually sound pretty good and I can't really complain about them.  I have a Wii and a Standard DVD player hooked up over component cables, a MediaCenter PC and the DirecTV box hooked up over HDMI, and an old Xbox hooked up over the Composite connections.  On to my review.

Picture Quality - Admittedly, this is my first HDTV.  The step up from regular TV is gigantic so if you haven't had a HDTV yet, you won't be disappointed with this as your first one.   That being said, I've seen a lot of my friends' TVs and I think mine stack up well against all of them.  It's hard to really compare TVs without a side to side comparison, so I won't even try it, but all I can say is that I'm very happy with the set.  The movies I have seen are all fantastic.  You watch Planet Earth on this thing and it is unbelievable the detail that you can see and how great the picture looks.  If you are like me, and watch a lot of sports, you won't be disappointed.  I watched the NBA finals on this TV and was just watching the Wimbledon Finals right now.  The experience was fantastic.

All of the sources I have on the TV look good.  The connection to the computer the, DirectTV feed, and the OTA antenna, being the only true HD sources I have,  look fantastic.   The Wii and the non upconverting DVD player look good but obviously not as sharp as the HD sources.

People like to break down this category into things like black levels, color accuracy, etc.   I say that's rubbish.  Judge with your own eyes and taste.  All I can say is that for me, and pretty much everyone else who has watched the TV, this TV will suit you no matter what your taste may actually be.

Price and Shopping Experience - I bought my TV from Amazon.  Like most would be, I was a little nervous about buying such a high price item online.  However, when I was only paying about $2280 for this TV with delivery included, it was too good of a deal to pass up.  Considering that the step down version of this TV, the 50PZ85U retails for $2300, and this is a significantly better TV than that, then it was a no brainer for me to go to Amazon.  The delivery was when it said it would be, albeit slower than I would have liked.  But it was delivered safe and sound and with no problems whatsoever.  If I had to do it all over again, i wouldn't hesitate to buy my next TV through Amazon.

THX Setting -  This is the big feature that accounts for the price difference between the 85u and the 800u.  Is it worth it?  Hell Yeah!  This is the setting I watch most of my programming in.  The colors look realistic.  Some could say that it looks a little duller, and it wouldn't be totally inaccurate.  The colors are not over-saturated, and a lot of people like the over-saturated look.  My girlfriend for one.  But I love the look of THX.  It makes colors look like Colors are supposed to.

Design -  I know not a lot of people care about this aspect of their TV since they just want something that will produce a good looking picture, and not necessarily look good in a picture.  However, I have a girlfriend who has dreams of being a designer.  And so it is important that the TV looks as good as the pictures it can produce.  I thing this TV looks great on or off.  The "one sheet of glass" design is nothing to get too hyped up about, especially since they put on a plastic bezel around the edge.  But it still looks fantastic and one never even notices the bezel.  The girlfriend couldn't stand the fat lip under the 85U, so she almost made me get the 800 on this fact alone.

So overall, on a scale of one to ten, I give it a 9.  No TV is perfect, and I have a few problems with some things, but I'll get to those in my next post.  Overall a great TV, and if you are willing to spend the cash, it seriously is the best bang for your buck.


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