I'm at a crossroads and maybe someone can help me out.
I've been checking out 42" flat screens, LCD and plasma, for awhile and am closing in on a decision. I've decided to ignore the whole 1080P LCD controversy because it's simply not a significant factor since I don't plan to sit within 6 feet of a 50" screen(!). And I've decided to stay with "antiquated" plasma because of the far superior black tones in movies, much improved screen life (about 20 years at my viewing rate) and burn-in issue being essentially solved.
With the range of plasmas, I liked the features of the Panasonic PX60U but just couldn't deal with the "duck feet" stand and silver plastic so held off even as I watched prices plunge from $2500 last Spring to as little as $1250 today (Best Buy theoretically had them for $1000 the day after Thanksgiving).
Lately I've seen the newer PX600 priced at $1600 online with some inconsequential (to me) added features and the same glass as the PX60U, but much improved styling.
But then there is also the PH9UK, again available for around $1500 online including stand and HDMI. CNET's review gives it an 8, which is excellent, and touts the superior picture quality of this "professional" plasma monitor.
Given that the Panasonic TH42PX60U consumer plasma was released almost a year ago while the TH-42PH9UK professional plasma came out last August, my guess is that the PH9UK is the basis for the next generation of consumer model beyond the PX60U and PX600 (really the same thing).
This seems supported in the pdf brochure available online touting the many improvements in the TH-42PH9UK, among these it's 10 lb. lighter weight than its predecessor (incidentally the same amount it weighs less than the PX600).
Is the TH-42PH9UK in fact the genesis for the next generation of consumer models, and if so, when will they be unrolled?
Does the TH-42PH9UK have newer and superior technology and build quality than the PX600 consumer model that would justify its purchase at about the same price even though it does not include a tuner or speakers (who cares on the latter)? It also lacks such niceties as an illuminated remote and 5 screen settings (only comes with 4).
And can it's one weakness based on the CNET test, its green primary color being heavily weighted towards yellow, be remedied as during calibration?
One major feature of the TH-42PH9UK is that it comes with a 5 year warranty if purchased prior to Decemeber 31st. Perhaps this is an indicator of the faith Panasonic places in the durability of its professional grade monitors, these often being left on around the clock in public places.
Can someone help clear this up?
And a couple recommendations to CNET. I love your website, a real service to consumers, but can you perform tests at the time of release for plasmas and LCD's from the leading manufacturers in the 42 inch size (the new standard for home TV's given sales rate). Your tests are outstanding but there is often significant lagtime before they appear, and at times major product improvements (the Sony 2500 LCD with 1080P available at $1850 online) are left untested at all.
And how about comparison tests similar to those conducted for same class cars by Car & Driver and Consumer Reports? Get 5 of the most popular and feature laden 42" LCD's and plasmas together and have a shoot-out. I'd love to see just such a test with the Sony 2500, Panasonic TH42PX600 and TH-42PH9UK, the Samsung 1080P and the Sharp Aquos.
So many agonize over the decision of LCD vs. plasma, and then which set is best. This is due to insufficient information being available to the layman, something that is just begging for a better solution.