Top positive review
72 people found this helpful
Perfect HDTV. Low price. Stunning picture. What more could you want?
on July 30, 2009
I ordered the TC-P46S1 from Amazon on July 6. TV was delivered exactly one week later by CEVA logistics. Fantastic service!
Now on to the set. I have owned two televisions in the past 15 years. The first was a 19" Zenith CRT. The second was a cheap 27" Apex CRT that I bought from Sam's Club about seven years ago. I had been waiting to buy a HDTV until a decent 1080p set was available for a price that I considered reasonable if amortized over ten years. Each person has their own definition of reasonable, but I felt that time had finally arrived.
I researched this purchase for about two months. Early on I decided I wanted Panasonic plasma. Plasma is currently the only choice for those who want the best possible picture at a given price point. The only question was which model and what size? There were three models in my price range when I decided to buy: the X1, the S1, and the G10. The X1 series is Panasonic's 720p line of plasmas. It comes in 42" and 50" sizes. For my viewing distance (10 feet), 720p was a definite possibility. The S1 series is Panasonic's lowest 1080p plasma line. The G10 is a step up from the S1 and includes a THX mode and Viera Cast, Panasonic's internet and video on demand service. A decent rule of thumb is that each step up in size is about $200 and each step up in model type is about $200. For example, the 42" G10 is about the same price as the 46" S1 and the 50" X1.
I created cardboard mock-ups of the 42", 46", and 50" sets and placed them where the TV would go to help determine the correct size. It quickly became clear that 42" was too small while 50" was too large for my personal taste. The 46" was perfect. Unfortunately, this eliminated the X1 series from contention as there is no 46" set in that line. I would have bought the X1 had it been available. That set is the best HDTV for the money that is offered right now, IMO. Still, 46" was the sweet spot for me, so I was going to have to move up to a better model. Now the question was should I go with the TC-P46S1 or TC-P46G10?
In my case, I was planning on buying the Panasonic DMP-BD60 Blu-ray player to go with the set. When I was ready to buy, Amazon was offering $150 off the BD player when purchased with an S1 set or $200 off when purchased with a G10 set. The price of the BD60 itself was $200, so that made the deal irresistible. The BD60 also offers Viera Cast, which would have duplicated that functionality if I went with the G10 set. So the decision came down to whether or not I wanted THX for an extra $150. In the end, I decided the cost was not worth it and went with the S1. I have no regrets about that decision at all.
The color and detail on this set is fantastic. Watching the BBC Planet Earth Blu-ray set in 1080p is awe-inspiring! This set paired with the BD60 is a match made in heaven and a much better setup than many others costing hundreds of dollars more. Colors look realistic (and can be made more realistic with some tweaking or a professional ISF calibration). The set has plenty of connections including three HDMI inputs; however, I've found that pairing this with a good AV receiver that has HDMI output makes the number of the connections on the set irrelevant. Even the onboard sound on the TV is decent, but if you're purchasing a TV of this caliber, you would probably want to hook it up to a decent sound system to fully appreciate the home theater experience. The set also has an SD card slot for viewing photos, so the TV can stand in as a very large digital picture frame if you are so inclined.
One of the knocks against plasmas are that they put off more heat than LCDs. Really, this is a non-issue, IMO. The amount of heat generated is far less than a much smaller CRT. Yes, it's warmer than an LCD, but are you really willing to live with all the faults of LCD (less contrast range, poor off-angle viewing, and poor black levels) just to have a TV that is a little bit cooler? Are you watching TV in your family room or a freezer? One consideration that is a possible concern is that the anti-reflective coating is not very effective. If you have strong reflections that you are unable to control, you may want to consider an LCD, although the best LCDs have glass panels instead of matte screens anyway. Overall, I don't think you can buy a better TV for the money (well, maybe the TC-P50X1). Highly recommended!