The good news: My new Panasonic plasma arrived. It’s really freaking sweet. I think that’s about the only proper description of it, as it’s not exactly “beautiful” since it’s electronics and it’s not artlike in a Macbook Air kind of way. I’d actually say that a nice plasma is the modern equivalent of a “bitchin Camaro”…
The bad news: Despite all my readings, somehow I missed the fact that the next-generation of Panasonic plasmas started shipping oh, say, 3 days after mine did. Augh! How did I miss it? Well, the 50″ units won’t ship until April, and I had stopped looking at 42″ displays already. My bad.
Good: I can return the 77U in the next 28 days for no fee.
Bad: I don’t really know if the 80U or 85U are really worth it. Here is my summary of the differences (or you can see the official comparison at Panasonic’s web site, which is much more impressive than I thought it would be when I first visited!):
|Current street price||$1600-$2000||$2300+||$2500+|
|Moving Picture Resolution (??)||N/A||900 lines or more||900 lines or more|
|480 Hz Sub-field Drive (??)||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|24p Playback(2:3) (??)||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Deep Color (??)||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|HDMI inputs||2 rear||3 (1 front)||3 (1 side)|
|Screen Coating||Anti-Glare Coating||New Anti-Reflective Filter||New Anti-Reflective Filte|
- New units have better contrast ratios. This is something which seems undetectable to us mortals, but is supposed to be “better”. Don’t know if I care.
- Next generation panel technology. From some of the discussions I’ve read on AVSforum, there’s a belief that the new tech has more vivid whites and blacks.
- Anti-reflective filter vs anti-glare coating. Panasonic added the anti-glare to the current generation for the first time, then dropped it for the next generation. This implies they either weren’t satisfied with it’s performance or have improved upon it with the new filters.
Am I missing anything obvious? Are these “non-issues” and I should put the topic to bed? I
Good: I feel like this is a no-lose situation. I got a great deal on my unit, and it looks awesome. So I either have a great unit, or a possibly slightly more greater unit.
Ultimately, here’s how I look at it: if I had purchased this unit and the new one wasn’t shipping until this Summer or later, there’d be no debate. But it’s already on display at Best Buy apparently, which is at least a little bit frustrating. Again, had I *known* about both models and made this decision based on price, then there’s no debate. But I can’t help already think I have something out of date on the day it arrived (as opposed to waiting the typical 30 days to feel that way).
JT, JT, JT. Come on now, you have been a tech aficionado for long enough to get past the “I ordered it, and the new model was available the next day” scenario.
Just to ease your mind, my parents have your TV (same make, model) – it’s brilliant. You won’t regret it, and any time lost trying to upgrade (and the money spent) won’t be worth it.
Move past the new models (think of them as something to buy in the future for the nursery or something), they are just there to distract.
Enjoy the TV, it’s a beautiful set.
The NEXT DAY? No sir, that’s a new one for me…
Sucks about the missing the new Pannies :), but you’ve done a good comparative analysis so others won’t make the same mistake.
It’s seems like it would be a logical choice to return your 77U and upgrade to either 85U or 80U considering the exact differences in features, spec, and price you’ve outlined here.
For starters, contrast ratio is the single easiest thing to see, even my mother can see it.
Anyone who’s watched a movie or scripted TV and hasn’t been able to see what is going on in the darkness knows how big of a deal contrast is. If you only watch sports, then you won’t notice though.
Believe me, you can see the difference.
As for the anti-reflective. This is like anything else, it’s always possible to be less reflective, so with each generation they strive to reduce glare.
The “moving picture resolution” pertains to the TV’s video processing and is important, but must won’t be able to tell the difference.
24p Playback means the TV can display a 24p signal from a Blu-ray disc without any type of conversion. Most HDTVs are 60hz, so a 3:2 pull down is necessary. I wrote about this here.
Most won’t notice.
Deep Color and x.v Color are really gimmicks, because there are no sources as they weren’t built into the BDA or HD DVD specs.
As for the main question.
I think you should stick with what you have, as the new models will be out of your pre-determined budget.
Personally, I’d buy the new one — a 60-inch — but I’m willing to spend more on TVs than most.
So, you are definitely on Level 1 of the five levels of Tech buyers remorse and second guessing.
But, as I emailed earlier, I would keep what you have. I don’t think the extra ca 800$ is worth it at the moment, and even with the 24p (which I think might be the most noticeable) you won’t see a tremendous amount without a blu-ray player.
Put that 800$ into a nice tech fund and in three years, buy the best thing out there.
As “buyers remorse” and “tech buyers paralysis” goes, this one is pretty mild. It’s not as if you bought the 720p version and the next day the 1080p was AVAILABLE. Or, you buy something one day, and the NEXT day a whole new generation of MBP comes out.
Can’t you put this “display” at work for a few days and write it off anyway? 🙂
p.s. Keep an eye on the pricing on the one you JUST bought for the next three weeks and then try to do a 30 day price guarantee with your vendor or with your CC. That’ll make you feel a LITTLE better
p.p.s good thing you have this big LD community forum to post this type of question to, otherwise this could be costing you at least 150$ an hour to get through! 🙂
another thing. Doesn’t your set have 3 HDMI? the panny website seems to think so.
My recommendation is if Best Buy already has the television on display, then simply check it out in person and do an in-store comparison. Looking at the provided spec comparisons it seems that the most noticeable difference should be the contrast ratios, so you should probably start there. However, seeing as how a comparison of the brightness of the whites can be irritating to the eyes and hard to judge, due to the blinding factor of bright lights, I advise you to simply compare the darkness of the blacks.
Once you’ve actually compared the plasmas in person you must ask yourself two final questions: are the upgrades worth the difference in price and would it be worth the wait? IMHO, simply judging by the specs, they aren’t worth it. If you could somehow get a discount on the 85U or 80U so that it was only like a couple hundred outside of your budget, then I’d say go for it. However, seeing as how discounts around this time of year seem unlikely, I say enjoy what you have, especially if you got a good price on it.
I was just thinking about what tivoboy said about the HDMI inputs. That in itself would be the deal maker or breaker for me. If you need all three HDMI ports – HD cable/dish, Blu-ray player, and upscaling DVD player – and don’t care how funny looking it is to have a cable sticking out of the side of your set, then you should probably go with the 85U or 80U. But, on the other hand, a good receiver can remedy a lack HDMI ports.
I just stopped by the Best Buy on Geary in San Francisco and they didn’t have an 80U or 85U for viewing. However, I do see the online availability on their website. Also, I just received a Best Buy Reward Zone coupon in the mail for 12% off any single item, which should include the 85U. It’s good between 3/7 and 3/10. I’m assuming you’re a member, so look for that in the mail.
I went to the Panasonic CES press conference with this exact scenario in mind — I had just purchased the 720p version of your set along with Panasonic’s PT-AE2000U (1080p) front projector (http://hometheaterview.typepad.com/hometheaterview/2007/12/ces-2008-do-i-r.html).
Bottom line: if you can swap them out for the same price, or if you really need the front HDMI input, go for it. Otherwise, keep what you have. I suspect you were looking for a good panel at a good price, not higher specs (if you were willing to pay more for better absolute black level, you should have bought Pioneer’s Kuro, which is still the one to beat). If it makes you feel any better, tell yourself that the reason you got such a good deal was becasue the new models were about to come out.
On paper (err, web) the contrast ratio is better… but that’s not the whole story. Who knows if the overall picture will be better or worse until someone looks at it? I say enjoy what you have and in 18 months make it the bedroom TV and get whatever the greatest is then. By the way, what’s up with Pioneer possibly giving up on plasmas??
It’s not a good feeling to have something “outdated” arrive but just because something with better specs comes out, costing hundreds of dollars more, it doesn’t mean you need to trade up. For an $800 difference, I’d keep the first TV, although I’d want to see one of the newer sets in person to be sure.
Also, keep in mind that manufacturer specs are often exaggerated so those contrast numbers may not be real. Could the contrast really improve by a factor of three in one generation of TV set?
I say keep the current set. The difference is probably going to be negligible, and you got a great deal on an awesome TV. Enjoy it, and rest easy in the knowledge that you would have had the “new one came out” problem eventually, whether in 3 days or in 30.
I guess it all depends on how much you think you’ll need those extra features.
24p – I don’t have this in my 1080p set, but I sure wish I did. Do I notice the 2-3 pulldown that occurs with my set? Not really. But if I look real hard at certain panning shots, then yes. Not a huge deal though, and I’ve learned to live with it. Can you?
Deep color/x.v. color – Really? Do we need these? Yes, those new sets are capable. Yes, Blu-ray players are capable. But do we have any material that’s encoded in Deep color or x.v. color? Last time I checked, which admittedly was a few months ago, there aren’t any.
480 Hz Sub-field Drive – I have no idea what this is, but I’m going to assume that it has to do with 480i/p material. With the advancements in the high-def world, is it really necessary to worry about SD anything???
HDMI inputs – 3 vs 2. A pretty big deal unless you have a very capable A/V receiver with plenty of HDMI inputs.
Contrast ratio – After seeing pictures of Pioneer’s KURO concept, I was blown away. And if there is a huge contrast ratio difference in real world testing, then I say this is a big deal. Even though plasma’s are famous for their inky blacks, improving upon that would make a better overall viewing experience.
To be succinct, I have no idea what you should do. Sorry.
Wow way off on the 480Hz speculation. 480Hz refers to the subfield drive most plasmas employ. Like the new panys, they run 60fps with 8 subfields per frame (60×8=480Hz). You can’t look at it loke LCD because it’s totally different. That’s why their response time is 4time faster than an LCD (lcd=4ms / plamsa=1ms)
On their 800 and 850 series panels it’s the same eccept when in 24fps play back mode when the Tv runs 48fps and 10 subfiels at 480Hz.