Our friend Gary Merson, aka the HD Guru, got his hands on some early pricing for certain Panasonic HDTVs--and now he's got some numbers for Panasonic's 1-inch thick plasma, the 54-inch TC-P54Z1. Not surprisingly, the "Z1" will set you back a pretty penny when it comes out this summer. Six grand to be exact.
Now, we love Merson, but we're not so sure his statement declaring the Z1 potentially "the hottest HDTV for 2009" is all that accurate. Yes, Panasonic's loaded the Z1 with lots of features and high-end specs--and it should deliver a great picture. But the fact is not that many people care if their flat-panel TV is 1-inch thick since most people don't mount them on the wall anyway. It's really the size of the base that matters, and the overall size of the TV.
In this economy, the hottest TVs are going to be the ones that deliver the most bang for the buck. In his post, Merson also notes that the step-down 54-incher, the TC-P5410, will cost $2,699. Yes, it's twice as thick at a whopping 2 inches (note sarcasm), but it's got lots of nice features, too, and it's less than half the price. You'd think more people would buy that one instead, wouldn't you?
What do you guys think? Does shaving an extra inch of depth off the TV really matter much to you?
Note: for the complete skinny on Panasonic's 2009 HDTV lineup, check out David Katzmaier'sthat rounds up all the new models.