The weak economy hasn't stalled the American consumer's flat-panel fix.
Following a decline last year, North American sales of flat-panel TVs surged during the first quarter of 2009, according to a report released Monday from market research company DisplaySearch. With demand often outpacing supply on some models, 7.2 million flat-panel TVs flew off the shelves, an increase of 23 percent from the first quarter of 2008.
Aggressive pricing followed by Circuit City's liquidation tempted consumers in search of bargains, according to the DisplaySearch report titled "Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report."
Former small … Read more
CNET did not review the 42-inch Panasonic TC-P42X1, but we did review a larger model in the series, the 50-inch TC-P50X1. The two plasma HDTVs are identical but for screen size and native resolution--the 50-inch model has a resolution of 1,366x768, whereas the 42-incher's resolution is 1,024x768--although both are called "720p" (more info). We don't expect that resolution difference to have a major effect on picture quality.
In our review of the 50-inch model we did notice a pattern of faint gray lines across the screen. Unfortunately, since we didn't review the 42-inch … Read more
The capability of a TV to reproduce a dark shade of black is the number-one criteria for awarding a good picture quality score here at CNET. Often better blacks dictate higher prices, but in the case of Panasonic's newest line of entry-level plasmas, which includes the TC-P50X1, that's not the case. This HDTV reproduces superb blacks and excellent shadow detail, while costing a relative pittance for a big-screen HDTV.
Unfortunately, two major problems prevent it from earning higher praise, namely that it suffers from less than accurate color and the presence of faint onscreen lines that may be … Read more
Q: "David - Do you recommend waiting for the new higher-end plasmas from Panasonic or pulling the trigger on one of Pioneer's Kuro plasmas? Money no object." -- Mark, via e-mail.
A: Having just finished reviewing one of those higher-end Panasonic plasmas, the G10 series, I'd recommend that deep-pocketed videophiles grab a Pioneer Kuro while they're still available.
As we'll remind everyone for what's sure to not be the last time, Pioneer will stop making plasmas. That's significant for shoppers looking to buy a high-end TV for one big reason: Pioneer makes what are still, in my and many other experts' opinions, the best HDTVs on the market. The company's Elite Kuro series earned the only "10" I've ever awarded in Performance for a flat-panel TV, while the superb non-Elite PDP-5020FD series were nearly as good, minus some adjustments and color accuracy (and plus about two grand).
Pioneer's factory in Pomona, Calif., will continue to manufacture these Kuro displays through April before it closes, according to the company, but after that I expect them to disappear quickly from store shelves. Of course, as long as the company itself is still around, I expect it to stand behind any Kuros it sells.
Ever since we called the Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-111FD the "best flat-panel HDTV ever," we've been comparing the most expensive challengers on the market directly against it, looking to see if any could topple the champ. When Panasonic announced the TC-PG10 series at CES, we immediately knew it would go up against the Kuro in our lab. What we didn't know is that Pioneer would stop producing HDTVs, leaving the hill wide open for anybody to claim the king's throne.
The Panasonic G10 series is the new king. No, it's not as good overall … Read more