The plasma (Panasonic or Pioneer) has always been the TV of choice for me and many others, as it is ideal for almost every environment, has excellent color, contrast, depth, durability, reliability, warranty coverage, response time, lifespan, and viewing angle. All of these the Panasonic has over the Samsung 650LCD.
Heres why: Because the Plasma can create a deeper level of black than any backlit LCD, it has greater contrast ability, thus providing potential for more colors and greater color depth. Field of depth is improved by the Video processor inside the Panasoni 85 series. Panasonic Plasmas are rated for 100,000hrs of life, versus that of the Samsung: 60,000hrs. This translated to about 35 years fr the plasma (7hrs/day, 7days/week) ad 23 for the LCD (same circumstances). Panasonic plasmas off the Plasma Concierge Warranty sandard with purchase. This means in-home coverage. NO other manufacturer's warranty offers that kind of service. LCDTV's are comprised o a board of 6 million twisting liquid crystals (3 x-tals per pixel). The time it takes for these x-tals to twist from open-to-close represents the response time of the set. A longer response time indicates more smearing and blur when viewing moving images (i.e. television). Plasmas have no response time, making them perfect for viewing movin material, such as sports, video games, Cable TV, etc.
As far as reliability goes, Panasonic tralis Pioneer (The most reliable sets) very closely, dispite costing thousands less, making i an excellent choice for a reliable set. Samsung has a slightly different track record. Many people on this forum recall that I used to work for Best Buy Corporate. I, more than anyone else, intimately know the reliability of all television sets currently sold at Best Buy. I can tell you that the Samsung fares better than in-house brands, such as Dynex and Insignia, but it isn't far off. Viewing angle is as simple as this: with an LCD you loose contrast and color wen yo go off to the side, with a Plasma, you do not.
I was never a big fan of Samsung. I hated how the reds were pink and the greens flourescent. Even after a professional calibration their contrast was much lower than their competitors (i.e. Sony, LG, Panasonic), their contrast, which they advertise to be so high (as ludicrious as 500,000:1). I disliked ther potential for image persistance and their unreliability. Even with their new sets, I find myself walking down the open-box isle of my local BB and finding it plagued with Samsung 450, 550, and 650 series LCDs (typically 32-46"). This brand is not one I would choose for an average consumer to deal with.
To conclude, go with the Panasonic TH-85U series, you will not be disappointed.