Ever since we tested the Panasonic TC-PVT25 series in June, we've been itching to compare it directly to Samsung's flagship 3D-compatible plasma HDTV for 2010. After finally getting the chance to review the Samsung PNC8000 series--the odds-on favorite, if there is one, to defeat the Panasonic--we can declare the verdict in this dogfight. Panasonic by a black nose.
The PNC8000 is an excellent performer, and deserves the silver medal among plasma TVs we've tested so far this year. In addition, we'd wager no other as-yet-announced TV will outperform either one in 2010. But the Samsung's crucial reproduction of black can't achieve the same inkiness as the Panasonic, so it falls short. It beats the VT25 to a greater or lesser extent in a few other areas, including overall color reproduction, bright room performance, and video processing, but none of those margins of victory are convincing enough to close the gap. The Samsung costs less, however, and its style and feature set will certainly turn heads, although for this price we'd expect to get a pair of those 3D glasses thrown in too. The VT25 might be the better performer, but the picture quality of the PNC8000 series will rightly claim its share of videophile devotees.