Though I don’t know exactly when it will be delivered, I finally picked a TV on Tuesday. I eventually decided on a 50″ plasma from Samsung, specifically the PN50B550. For the longest time I thought I was going to get a plasma from Panasonic. Now that Pioneer is out of the plasma making business, it’s commonly thought that Panasonic makes the best plasmas. In fact, reviews do state that most of the time Panasonics plasmas perform better than Samsungs. After doing all my research though, the two questions eventually came up: how much better were the Panasonics and how much more would I be paying for it?
It turns out that how good a TV looks can be a very subjective and personal thing. I looked at the PN50B550 and the Panasonic TC-P50G10 side by side in the store and it was very hard to tell the difference. I do realize though that comparing TVs at a store is not very useful. Going into the store, I knew the professional reviewers said the G10 had deeper blacks which provided a better contrast ratio. To my untrained eye though, I could not see a difference. The B550 looked great too.
Of course, I could have just relied on the reviews and their hard facts and decided yeah, the G10 is the one for me. The problem was I’d have to pay an extra $700 or so to get the G10 for a difference I knew existed but for which my eyes couldn’t really see. Then I discovered some odd design choices that Panasonic made. For example, the G10 has three HDMI inputs compared to the four on the B550. Also, the G10 had some resolution limitations on its VGA and component inputs. Another thing and I know this isn’t a big deal but the G10 has a really bland style to it. Aesthetically, the Samsung looks much better from the bezel to the “floating” glass stand.
The final thing that really sold me on the 550B was that with my EA employee discount, the price I got for it was less than the MSRP in the US. That’s a really good deal. In Canada, we usually get screwed on pricing for anything that is also sold in the US. So the fact I got it for the lower price and in Canadian dollars was a big positive.
I’ll be getting an update today when delivery is available. I am quite excited to get this new toy in my living room.