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Help me buy a new Panasonic Viera fast!

by tvnow123 / May 17, 2009 3:48 AM PDT

Help me buy a new Panasonic Viera fast! Edit | Delete | Quote | Reply
Alright so I have looked into the Panasonic Viera Series, and I will be buying one in the next few days! I do have a few questions though:

I see many different model numbers of the tv, but their overall features that are listed in the title in the BestBuy papers or 6th avenue papers are the same. "50" Class 1080p Plasma HDTV (TCP50S1)" and the other says " 50" Viera 1080p High Definition Plasma TV (TCP50U1)"

Now even their Mhz feature is the same, EVERYTHING in the title and features seems the same, but what about the model number? The numbers in there are also the same, but there is an "S" for one of them, and a "U" for the other.

What is the difference behind this in terms of features? One of them costs like $100 more, but I don't know if it's because that one has more features and later technology, or what.

So when picking TV sets out, if everything seems identical, even the numbers in the model # except for one letter, does one have better features than the other, or is the price a few hundred dollars more for no real reason?


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RE: Help me buy a new Panasonic Viera fast!
by WildClay / May 17, 2009 7:24 AM PDT

The best place to go is to and use their "compare" feature under televisions. Here are some differences in order of importance, at least in my opinion: (To me the S1 is the hands down winner for the price difference, your views may vary)

TCP50U1: Unless money is the only consideration, forget this one!

1. NO AR -- Anti-Revlective anti-glare filter. This is really a big deal in a plasma set depneding on your room and typical viewing conditions. Having an anti-glare screen if critial if you like to have a light on or watch tv a lot in the daytime. Cuts down reflections off the screen, without one some screens ca ndouble for a mirror when off. When on, that AR mostly keeps reflections and glare from being noticed.

2. 30,000:1 Contract Ration (Native) - For any TV the contrast ratio is a critical spec, the higher the better and you always want to use the "native" spec not their "enhanced" spec, native is all you can count on in comparing between brands and even models of the same brand.

3. 900 Lines - Moving Picture Resolution, I will save you the deep technical jargon on this and just say it is a measuremenmt designed to work more like the human eye in perception of movement on a screen, where pixels just tell you the dots on the screen, this measurememnt tells you how much of the picture can move in a time frame that your eyes can precieve. This set fall 180 lines shorter than the S1, can you tell or now, I can't reallly say.

4. 5,120 Shades of Grandiation -- Again not get technocal on you, this pretty much means how many levels or color control it has, the higher the number the more accurate the picture will be, when it stops mattering is up to the viewer...

5. No Game mode -- This is a "nice to have" tends to punch up the colors for when the TV is used to play games.

6. Uses nearly 200 Watts less power. This is not likely enough to even notice on your electric bill.

TCP50S1: -- Winner by far in my opinion...

1. HAS AR -- Anti-Revlective anti-glare filter. This is really a big deal in a plasma set depneding on your room and typical viewing conditions. Having an anti-glare screen if critial if you like to have a light on or watch tv a lot in the daytime. Cuts down reflections off the screen, without one some screens ca ndouble for a mirror when off. When on, that AR mostly keeps reflections and glare from being noticed.

2. 40,000:1 Contrast Ratio (Native) - Same note as above, now is this significant, for 200 bucks? Likely on its own it might not be, but it means this a little better set and other specs not listed a likely to be a little better also, if it were my choice for 200 bucks I would take the higher contrast ratio.

3. 180 Lines - Moving Picture Resolution, this specs out higher that the U1, again by itself it may not be worth the 200, but now combined with the better contrast ratio it is telling you this set is better under the hood than the U1. 200 Bucks better is for you to decide, but I would personally get the better set.

4. 6,144 - Shades of Grandiation -- See above, but this is going to produce a little more accurate pictiure.

5. Has Game Mode

6. Uses more power to watch.

Overall, the S1 is a better set all the way around, the price is not that different at list although I suspect a retail the difference may be more, but still the S1 key differences with the extra money are the anti-glare screen the hugher contrast ratio, these are two things you will really notice and not just tech jargon.

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by WildClay / May 17, 2009 7:27 AM PDT

On item 3. on the S1 it is 1080 Lines not 180 as I mis-typed.

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by tvnow123 / May 17, 2009 7:50 AM PDT

Wow, really nice post there WildClay, I'll be sure to give it a read in a few minutes and post back.

Thanks a lot again, I can already see there's a ton of info so I can't wait to read it Silly Thanks!!!

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RE: 1
by WildClay / May 17, 2009 11:40 AM PDT
In reply to: 1

I did a little more looking and if you have narrowed your choices to between those two sets then I would strongly suggest you get the S1, both are good sets but the S1 is easily worth the little extra. Again in staying away from the techno jargon, the Game mode gives you one one more picture mode you can adjust to your liking giving you more flexability over your viewing modes for either type of movie or lighting or however you want to use is.

There are several other techie things in the S1 that are also better that you can only dig out of the specs from the manual and provided you know what they mean.

Perhaps most important in addition to the anti-glares which I just can't tell you enough how important that is, is that after you buy it you will never have to second guess if you would have been happier with the better set, you will have the better set.

You should be impressed with yourself as it is, you really narrowed your choices does to two very fine TV's. I have a Panasonic Plasma also and almost got the lower model of the two I was looking at and now hear 6 months later I have come to not only not regret getting the better one but in seeing the other set at a friends, it just put a smile on my face in seeing I had made the right choice and I researched them for over a year!

For such a small price difference and considering that you will likely have it for 5 years or longer look at it this way, at 100 bucks difference, you are paying 5 cents a day for a better TV.

Some other advice, wait at least three months before getting it calibrated if you decide to pay someone, but the Pani out of the box rarely needs no calibration unless you are some kind of vidiophile. You want to wait to three months to give the set a chance to settle in.

My advice to all considering getting a set calibrated is to get the DVE HD Basics calibration disc, you can get it from Amazon for 20 bucks and calibrate it yourself if you have the patience. The nice thing about the DVE disc is that it teaches you what all the setting controls mean and do, they way even if you don't calibrate to exact industry standards, you will know which adjustments will address any given issue you want to resolve. Most imporant on calibration though, is if you like what you get out of the box, don't bother!

If you afford it also get a nice 7.1 or at least 5.1 surround sound system, another choice you will not regret. Since 5.1 are almost impossible to find these days, get 7.1 and just don't hook up the other 2 speakers if you don't have room for them or can't afford them now.

Also note that at 50" you will notice the quality difference in Standard Definition and High Definition, it will be annoying at first but over time like most things in life you will just get used to it. Getting HD cable is worth it, buying Blu-Ray discs to replace discs you already have is a mixed bag, it is most worth it in action films or one where color adds a lot, in a typical say romantic comedy, it will make no difference, in say Top Gun or films like that, you will love the added depth Blu-Ray will give you.

When you get a Blu-Ray DVD player, get a good one, it is worth the price to get the best you can afford, I will not go in to the differnces, but as in many things (except monster cables) you get what you pay for.

As for cables, don't buy the cheapest and don't buy the most expensive, the middle of the range ones are the best bang for the buck.

Lastly on installation, that is a subjectve call, if you are pretty handy and can read a manual and are not wall mounting it then install is a waste of money, if not then it is worth is. Make sure to get it delivered that includes taking it out of the box and putting it on a stand, it is not a one person job.

Good Luck!!

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by jonnybones / May 22, 2009 2:55 PM PDT

"6. Uses nearly 200 Watts less power. This is not likely enough to even notice on your electric bill."

I don't think I can agree with that.

If we say one watches TV (or has it on) 5 hrs a day...

1kW*$0.19 per kW/hr (average for my area)=$0.19 a day
69.35*6 years (I am guessing how long it will be your main TV)=$416.10 MORE it will cost in the long run.

NOW....whether this is worth it or not is totally up to you, I have not looked any more in depth into the post history, I just love math Happy

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You might be right
by WildClay / May 22, 2009 11:59 PM PDT
In reply to: -

That one might notice 5-6 bucks a month variance on their electric bill at your calcs may or may not be true, I would not, mine varies around enough naturally that I would not see that. Perhaps it would have been better stated to say fairly insignificant over the life of the set. My TV gets about 2-3 hours a day since I don't watch much on work days.

However, for that difference, 19 cents a day, and to get what are significant differences for that price still makes the better set a much better deal, just for the anti-glare screen alone, the 30%+ better contrast ratio, and the the 1080 vs 900 effective motion suggests the better set is a tighter system all the way around and I would expect that would take a little more power.

If as you suggest they are watching 5 hours a day then a better picture I would think is even more important they get the anti-g;are and better picture.

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by jonnybones / June 1, 2009 11:52 AM PDT
In reply to: You might be right

Oh I just wanted it to be clear that they are not the same price over the course of the TV's life.

Now, with some potentially more helpful input, buy the anti-glare one. I have a TH50PZ77U (older model) and it is great. I have to close the slats during certain hours of the day but the resultant penetrating light doesn't cause any issues. I am very happy I got the anti-glare version.

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Panasonic Viera
by jmarsltd / June 18, 2009 11:43 PM PDT

I am/was like you. I spent many hours and a 'headache' reading reviews. I started working on which model S, U, V, G and so on. Finally decided on G10, was reviewed by CNET. It has Viera Cast, which is new, and I had to read about it. Went to Sears, they had the S1 on Sale (Fathers Day) till 20th or 21st. Almost bought it, checked Sears website and they had G10 on sale also. G10 is newer model, they did not even have any in store yet, they had to order online. 46"G10 was $300 more than 50"S1. So Happy hunting or should I say Happy Fathers Day? Sears also had free delivery and removal of old TV. You can find this model online cheaper but I was more interested in the 'removal'. I have one of their 35" Tube types - probably weighs 3X what the new one does.

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look at the c/net reviews of the S1 & g10
by givemeaname / June 19, 2009 3:55 AM PDT
In reply to: Panasonic Viera

The G10 has better blacks then the S1 and the THX mode is better then it's bigger brother the V10. Most BB stores have the G10 on display now.

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by samkh / June 19, 2009 8:24 AM PDT
In reply to: Panasonic Viera

is it if you need to buy 1080p now. Only Pioneer has better PQ. Panny 720p PX not bad at all for the price if you are only watching SDTV and upscaled DVDs.

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The Answer is ...Neo PDP!!
by MikeyParent / September 29, 2009 12:52 AM PDT
In reply to: G10

I know this is stale, but in case someone else (like me) finds this thread when doing their own comparison shopping:

The main difference between these two units is that the S series has the newer - and much revered - Neo PDP plasma panels.

These are said to rival the Pioneer Kuro displays in quality.

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