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Get a 42-inch Panasonic plasma TV for $499

Whoa, did Black Friday come early this year? Whatever the case, this is a seriously awesome deal on a 720p plasma. Just make sure to act fast, because it expires today.

A 42-inch plasma for under $500? That's one helluva deal. Panasonic

Hurry, hurry, step right up! No, I mean it: hurry, because Dell is offering the 42-inch Panasonic Viera TC-P42X1 plasma TV for $499 shipped only until 1 p.m. PST Friday, i.e. today.

That's assuming they're in stock that long. This is a decidedly Black Friday-caliber deal, one of the best I've ever seen on a TV of this size.

Note: you have to add the TV to your cart and proceed to the checkout to get the $499 price. And you'll probably have to cough up sales tax.

CNET hasn't reviewed this particular model, but does note a review of its virtually identical, larger sibling: the TC-P50X1. The verdict on that model: "The best black-levels-to-dollars ratio of any HDTV we've tested."

For what it's worth, the customer ratings on Dell's product page average 4.8 stars out of 5. Even at its usual price of $749, this TV is loved by most.

I should note that it's a 720p model, so if you're hankerin' for 1080p (which you can't even get from most TV sources, though you can from Blu-ray players and game consoles), look elsewhere. Of course, some would argue that at this size, 1080p is overkill. Thoughts?

In the interests of expediency, I'm going to leave it there. Check the specs on Dell's product page, and be sure to read the user reviews and CNET's related review. But my Spidey senses (cheapy senses?) say this is an outta-the-park awesome deal. Get it while you can.

Bonus: Want a Blu-ray player to go with it? Circuit City has a refurbished Samsung BD-P1590 for $100 shipped. It supports BD-Live, Netflix streaming, YouTube, and more.