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Panasonic lowers 1080p plasma bar

Panasonic announced two new less-expensive 1080p plasmas, the TH-42PZ77 and the TH-50PZ77.

Panasonic TH-42PZ77
When it hits stores in a few days, the TH-42PZ77 will be the cheapest 1080p plasma.

Despite the fact that the benefits of 1080p native resolution are difficult to discern at the 50-inch screen size, let alone 42 inches, Panasonic has to keep up with the LCD competition if it wants to maintain spec-sheet parity in the eyes of comparison shoppers. That's probably the main reason why the plasma powerhouse announced two new, lower-priced 1080p models today at CEDIA in Denver: the 42-inch TH-42PZ77 ($1799) and the 50-inch TH-50PZ77 ($2799).

These sets trim $200 off the list prices of the formerly least-expensive 1080p Panasonic plasmas, the excellent 42-inch TH-42PZ700U and the ever-popular TH-50PZ700U, making them the most affordable 1080p plasmas on the market, and strongly price-competitive with similarly sized 1080p LCDs. Here are some more items from the press release:

Panasonic TH-PZ77 series key features

  • 1080p native resolution
  • Two HDMI inputs
  • Antiglare screen coating
  • SD memory card slot
  • September release date

The most-notable item on that list from our perspective is the antiglare coating, which is the same magical stuff found on the screens of the lower-resolution TH-PX77U series. Don't confuse it with the "antireflective" coating applied to the screens of the more-expensive TH-PZ700U and TH-PZ750U series; Panasonic's antiglare coating, if it performs as well on the PZ77s as it did on the PX77s, does the best job of attenuating glare from room lighting of any plasma we've tested yet. Check out the full review of the TH-50PX77U for details. In fact, the PZ77 plasmas seem like 1080p versions of the PX77 models in most respects, down to the lack of a PC input. We'll know more when we have a chance to review them.