Earlier this year we awarded the 50-inch Panasonic TH-50PZ800U our Editors' Choice among 50-inch plasma TVs, and now that we've reviewed the newly released 58-inch version, it predictably gets a similar review, with an identical score and Editors' Choice award. Part of the reason has to do with its color accuracy, for which the TV's THX Display Certification deserves credit.
The bigger Panasonic still didn't perform as well as our new reference standard, the Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-111FD--which we assume will perform as well, in turn, as the 60-inch Elite PRO-151FD--but those Elite models are just too expensive to earn our Editors' Choice. The 50-inch Elite, for example, costs more than the 58-inch Panasonic, and the 60-inch Elite is off the charts.
If you're shopping for a massive-screen plasma, the other high-end option is the 60-inch non-Elite Pioneer, model PDP-6020FD. Too bad it's significantly more expensive than the 58-inch Panasonic itself, and judging from our review of the 50-inch version, its color accuracy is a big issue. Couple that with the fact that, according to our observations, the 58-inch Panasonic delivered even deeper black levels than the 50-inch model, we feel the EC and higher rating compared with the non-Elite Pioneer is justified, again.
For folks just looking for a massive screen, regardless of form factor, it's still difficult to justify the higher cost of plasma over rear-projection. Our current rear-projection EC is the 61-inch Samsung HL61A750, a superb-performing LED-based DLP model that can't quite match the overall picture quality of any of those plasmas, but costs a dark sight less.
What's your take? Let us know in the comments section.
The Panasonic DMP-BD55 basically has it all. It's Profile 2.0 compliant, has onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, and features excellent image quality. Not only that, but we've given it the highest rating we've ever given any standalone Blu-ray player, making it only outclassed by the Sony PlayStation 3. And even with all that, the vast majority of home theater buyers looking to get into Blu-ray shouldn't buy it--even if they're set on a standalone player.
That's because, as good as the DMP-BD55 is, Panasonic also has the less expensive … Read more
CHIBA, Japan--Already skeptical about the ability of OLED to uproot the TV technology dominance of plasma and LCD in the next few years, Panasonic cast even more doubt on the opening day of Ceatec 2008.
Speaking to a group of reporters, Panasonic AVC Networks President Toshihiro Sakamoto reiterated that OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs will not be made in sizes of 30 inches or greater for now, and it's still not suitable for mass manufacturing. Currently, Panasonic does not have an OLED product on the market, but Sony does: it makes and 11-inch OLED TV, and is working on a 27-inch model. … Read more
CHIBA, Japan--It won't be ready for at least three or five years, but Panasonic's Total Living Space Solution is a cool, elegant combination of all your home gadgets and appliances in one.
The display is the size of an actual living room and kitchen, set down in the middle of Panasonic's booth here at Ceatec. Since Ceatec is an opportunity for companies to show off some of their more forward-looking products, Panasonic took advantage.
If there's a place that's more of a sensory overload than Las Vegas, it's Tokyo, which makes it a perfect place to host what many say is the best consumer electronics show in the world: the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies, or Ceatec, for short.
It's that time of year again, after IFA in Berlin and before the madness of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, when Ceatec gets its turn on the world's technology stage.
It's a huge show: just less than 206,000 people showed up to see the 895 companies show off their wares last year. The 2008 confab, which runs from Tuesday to Friday in Chiba, Japan, just outside Tokyo, promises to be even bigger.
While Ceatec offers a glimpse into the future of gadgetry, it's also a parade of practical products. Some tech exhibits can be merely a glance at what a company's R&D department is toying around with in a basement laboratory, with no practical application in sight. However, it's very likely that Asian and European consumers will see them in stores sooner than those in the United States.
From the standpoint of a manufacturer or marketer, this show can be kind of dramatic. It's often the last tryout before products get cut from a company's portfolio. Although many products shown are made especially for the Asian or European markets, it's also a final test in another way.
"The reception these products get at Ceatec will help decide if they will enter the U.S. market," according to Richard Doherty, a consumer electronics market researcher at The Envisioneering Group. Doherty hunts the halls every year at Ceatec looking for the best upcoming technology.
But just like at CES, not everything is designed to become an actual product. Both big and small names in electronics come to Ceatec to display a large portfolio of products so that investors, journalists, potential partners, and retailers can take a look.
While some of the products will already be in development, others are just strategic deterrents, designed to throw competitors offtrack from where a company's real product road map is going.
But Ceatec is probably a better show for consumers and gadget hounds, since much of what will be in a company's booth isn't so far from sitting on a store shelf. For example, according to Doherty, 60 percent of the products shown by electronics giant Samsung at CES this past January will become actual products by year's end.
"At the Japan show, more like 9 out of 10 products will make it to market within the year," he said.
And for the stuff that does make the cut, it will sometimes take two to five years before it appears on this side of the Pacific. … Read more
Can wishing make really make it true? We'll find out, as fanboys and bloggers alike continue to fan the MacBook rumor flames. First came reports that Apple would ditch plastic in favor of aluminum for its new MacBook design. That was quickly followed by a single blurry photograph purported to be a picture of one of the actual new MacBooks, which set off a flurry of speculation.
When will we know for sure? Patience, grasshopper: Word on the street is that the new MacBooks will drop on October 14.
Meanwhile, Dell was in a simplifying mood this week: The … Read more
This product is so new, it doesn't even have a name. Yet.
During the announcement of the new ToughBook notebooks, Panasonic also took the opportunity to show off one of its upcoming Intel Atom-based tablets. This white unit is meant for use in the medical field. Aside from a touch-screen display, it has features like RFID and a fingerprint sensor built in. You probably won't see this ToughBook in stores anywhere but don't be surprised if you see a nurse keying in your particulars and medical history on something like this in the future.
The company will … Read more
Panasonic's fabled Toughbook line of rugged laptops gets a new addition Thursday, with the Toughbook F8, a 14.1-inch system that Panasonic calls the world's lightest 3G-ready notebook. The F8 has a built-in carry handle and weighs 3.7 pounds, and includes a standard Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, up to 4GB of RAM, and a 160GB shock-mounted hard drive.
The new F8 has the same semirugged features the Toughbook line is known for, such as a magnesium alloy chassis, spill-resistant keyboard, and flexible internal connectors. It also boasts wireless options, including 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Gobi 3G technology, which should let the system stay connected on different mobile broadband carriers around the world.
Besides the new F8 system, Panasonic's existing 12-inch W7 and tablet T7 Toughbooks are getting upgraded to the W8 and T8. All three new Toughbooks are designed to survive drops of 12 inches for the laptop itself and 30 inches for the shock-mounted hard drive, as well as 6-ounce spills and up to 220 pounds of pressure on the lid.
All three new systems will be available in November 2008, and we've got specs of each model after the break: … Read more
When Panasonic announced its two new Blu-ray players in early September--the DMP-BD35 and DMP-BD55--the press release was long on features but mum on pricing. Now Video Business (via The Digital Bits) is reporting that the BD35 will retail for $400 and the step-up BD55 will cost $500. (Except for the latter model's analog 7.1-channel audio outputs, the players--both of which will boast cutting-edge Profile 2.0/BD-Live capability--are largely the same.)
By comparison, the older Panasonic DMP-BD50 retails for around $600. The new models are said to deliver improved video quality, faster disc-loading times, and lower power consumption, … Read more