Panasonic VT25 plasma wins HDTV shootout

An independent, side-by-side HDTV shootout conducted by industry experts crowns the Panasonic TC-PVT25 series "the 2010 King of HDTV."

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier
2 min read

Calibrators Kevin Miller and D-Nice drench the audience in color at Value Electronics' 2010 HDTV shootout. Value Electronics

New York independent home theater retailer Value Electronics has published the results of its annual 2010 flat-panel TV shootout, which pitted six high-end HDTVs against one another in a side-by-side comparison. The unanimous winner, as voted by the attendees of the event, was the Panasonic TC-P58VT25 plasma TV.

Five other high-end 3D TVs were included, with the following overall results:

    1. Panasonic TC-P58VT25 (plasma)
    2. Samsung PN58C8000 (plasma)
    3. LG 55LX9500 (full-array local dimming LED-based LCD)
    4. Sony KDL-55NX810 (edge-lit local dimming LED-based LCD)
    5. Samsung UN55C8000 (edge-lit local dimming LED-based LCD)
    6. Sharp LC-60LE925UN (edge-lit LED-based LCD)

As may be expected when evaluating many picture quality parameters, this ranking isn't exactly strict. According to the Value Electronics Web site: "When the audiences voted on the best picture quality Panasonic was the unanimous winner. Voting on LCDs split the votes between Sony and LG. Sony has a better picture straight on, but quality goes down rapidly when you move off-angle; some judges rated it #2, but the audiences voted in this order." The site also stresses that numbers 2, 3, and 4 are "almost tied for 2nd," and 5 and 6 are "almost tied for 3rd, and in a few ways had superior attributes."

The voting audience wasn't exactly a bunch of noobs. It was composed of executives and senior engineers from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), National Association of TV Broadcasters (NAB), and manufacturers including LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony, as well as "serious a/vphiles and leading members of their respected user forums."

The TVs were all professionally calibrated by well-regarded HDTV experts, namely Ed Johnson, Dewayne Davis (known on AVS Forum as D-Nice), and Kevin Miller, former TV reviewer for CNET and founder of TweakTV. Kevin breaks down many of the testing details in his blog post, which also includes links to benchmark test results for each TV. Robert Zohn, the founder and president of Value Electronics from the video after the break, stressed the unbiased nature of the shootout, and Zohn says he doesn't even sell the Sony NX810 entered into the competition.

For what it's worth, I also ranked the VT25 series as the best 2010 TV in terms of overall picture quality so far, although I'm hesitant to award it our Editors' Choice before I can pit it against a couple other models, including the LG PX950 and the Samsung PNC8000 (review sample arriving as soon as next week, according to Samsung) in my own side-by-side comparison. I also have both the NX810 and LX9500 in-house and should have reviews of them up by early October. As for the Sharp, this is the first I've even heard of it, but if demand is high enough I'll get one in to review--although the company still hasn't sent me any of its earlier 2010 models, despite repeated requests.