I first published this post in June as a comparison between the two most high-end plasma TVs from Panasonic and Samsung, and now it includes a third, the Samsung PND7000. All three are superb examples of everything good about TV technology (except maybe energy efficiency), but if you have money to burn and want the best 2011 TV available today, you might be wondering which one wins.
Earlier this year we called Samsung's most expensive plasma TV, the PND8000 series, the "Best overall TV of 2011 (so far)." Now that we've tested its less expensive brother, the PND7000 series reviewed here, that determination isn't as ironclad. Sure the PND8000 has a few extra features, chiefly a QWERTY keyboard remote and Web browser, but the two provide basically the same picture quality: outstanding, second among TVs this year only to Panasonic's much more expensive TC-PVT30 series, and better overall than the Panasonic GT30 and ST30 models. If you're in the market … Read more
A TV is a big purchase, and we all want to get the best TV for our dollar. But what makes an HDTV the best? If you spend more, are you guaranteed a better TV? With all the jargon, marketing, and hype, what performance and features matter the most?
Well, I'm glad you asked. … Read more
For the last couple of years it seems that our job as TV reviewers comes down to determining which TV is better: the best Panasonic plasma or the best Samsung plasma. In 2011, the vessel bearing the Samsung flag is the PND8000, and while Panasonic's VT30 still deserves the overall picture quality nod in our book, the Samsung is good enough to match the Panasonic's numeric Performance score of 9.
The PND8000's picture quality is superb, and we don't expect any other TV aside from the VT30 to surpass it this year--although the less expensive PND7000 series, which we have yet to review, might equal it. The kicker, and it's a big one, is that the 59-inch Samsung we reviewed actually costs less than the 55-inch Panasonic, while delivering a better design and even more features. Unless you're the pickiest of videophiles with the most unlimited of budgets, it's tough to justify the cost of the VT30 over the PND8000.
LCD televisions are the most-desired sets around the globe, but their sales growth is starting to slow, according to a report today from research firm DisplaySearch.
During the first quarter of 2011, over 44.2 million LCD televisions were shipped worldwide, earning the technology 80.1 percent ownership of the overall TV market. Though year-over-year growth was up by 9 percent, DisplaySearch said that rate was "the weakest year over year growth ever for LCD TV, and the only quarter with single-digit growth." By comparison, in the first quarter of 2010, LCD shipments were up 50 percent compared … Read more
For the last couple of years Panasonic's best plasma has been the most highly anticipated TV review on CNET, and 2011 is no exception. The top-of-the-line Panasonic TV-PVT30 series is the most clicked-upon TV on our site and my most asked-for review on Twitter, and despite its coming in No. 2 in our to-review poll to the flagship Sony, we're confident that no other TV commands the same expectations.
Contrast ratio is the most important aspect of a TV's performance. More than any other single metric, a set's contrast ratio will be the most noticeable difference between two TVs.
That is, if you could juxtapose them. Which you can't. Or if you could compare their claimed specs. Which you can't.
Understanding what contrast ratio is and how to judge it will help you determine the best TV for your dollar. But it's a lot harder than it sounds.
In its simplest form, contrast ratio is the difference between the brightest image a TV can create and the darkest. In another way: white/black=contrast ratio. If a TV can output 45 foot-lamberts with a white screen and 0.010 ft-L with a black screen, it's said to have a contrast ratio of 4,500:1.
Unfortunately, it gets more complex from there. … Read more
Today a representative for Panasonic told CNET that a design change in the company's 2011 plasma TVs allows them to maintain a relatively constant depth of black, or black level, over their life spans.
The change represents an improvement over 2009 and 2010 designs, which evinced worse black levels as they aged, as tested by CNET.
"The engineers made significant changes to the internal panel materials...to improve the luminous efficiency of the panels," said Bill Schindler, technical consultant to Panasonic. "In so doing they had a byproduct effect, which allows them to not adjust the … Read more
When Panasonic detailed its 2011 plasma TV lineup at CES this January, we immediately pegged the TC-PST30 as the one model that "might hit the value sweet spot." After putting it through its paces we're going to eliminate the uncertainty from that phrase.
The TC-PST30 ($1,350 for the 50-inch size) may lack the THX certification of its more expensive brother the TC-PGT30, but picture quality between the two is largely a wash, and excellent overall in both cases. Both share identical, well-stocked feature sets, highlighted by improved Internet suites, Wi-Fi dongles, and 3D capability (albeit sans … Read more
The GT30 sits in the upper-middle end, a notch below the company's 2011 flagship in panel technology and, we assume, picture quality. It's not without its flaws, but it's still a superb TV overall that sets the bar high once again--although it's not a significantly better performer than its less-expensive (albeit plainer-styled) line-mate, the TC-PST30 series. The Panasonic TC-PGT30 series belongs on the short list for buyers who want the advantages of plasma in a thin form factor but don't want to pay the premium for a flagship TV.
Update May 5, 2011: The introduction … Read more