I own a Panasonic. Contrast isn't for color but the "contrast" between the blackest level and the brightest(or white)level. There is more to consider as well, like Aspect (picture sizing), Inputs, and so forth. Contrast rating for one company can vary from contrast from another. I don't think there is a "real" standard on this in the industry. Meaning one company may start at 2k:1 and go to 20k:1, while another starts at 4k:1 and goes to 18k:1. Does it mean that the one that starts at 4000:1 is better than the company that starts at 2000:1 contrast ratio? No. If you take notice most if not all manufacturers including Panasonic say "UPTO" when talking about contrast ratios. Me, myself and I like Panasonic. Pioneer too but why spend a thousand or more? This is something you are going to have to visit a few times and maybe at different stores to decide what YOU like best. Don't be afraid to check online stores for great deals. Good luck.
I am finally buying a new TV and need some help... I read and re-read the reviews and can't separate these 2 sets. any opinions or real-life experiences would be of great help. I am torn because the Samsung has twice the contrast ratio (i like colors), great blacks and a better sound system (i don't have an AV receiver and don't plan on getting one so this feature matters) though it doesn't do 1080p, which is nearly useless technologically for the time being. i read some grief from Samsung buyers and lots-o-love for the Panasonics. oh, I can't get a 50", I don't have the space (small apartment). HELP! And thanks