The best place to go is to www.panasonic.com 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.
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?