Panasonic

The Madness Continues: Part II- 2008 Mitsubishi & Panasonic

April 7th, 2008 · 17 Comments · LCD Flat Panel, Microdisplay Rear Projection

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Mitsubishi LaserVue TV (center) Sharp LCD (left) Pioneer Plasma (right)

Mitsubishi revealed to a small gathering of industry press its 2008 model line which includes new LCD model series, new DLP rear projectors and the first production Laser TV.

Laser HDTV

LaserVue is the official name of Mitsubishi’s Laser TV. The demonstration revealed an image that was significantly improved compared to the prototype I viewed at the 2008 CES. It is now quite bright and the colors (especially the reds) are the most vivid of any display device I have seen . This was quite evident in a side-by-side demonstration against a 65″ Sharp LCD and a 60″ Pioneer Kuro plasma. Mitsubishi is keeping most of the specifics, such a specs, number of models, pricing and feature list under wraps till the end of June, however they let a few details slip out.

The LaserVue HDTVs will ship in the 3rd qtr. of this year. They consume only one half the power of LCD flat panel (for the same screen size), and the sets will be capable of delivering a 3D image (movies may arrive later this year)

LCD

Mitsubishi announced three series of LCD flat panels, but it’s keeping details of its middle series under wraps until late June. The model line up consists of seven models as follows

LT-40148 $2499
LT-46148 $2999
LT-46149 $3499
LT-52148 $3599
LT-52149 $4099
Diamond Series LT-46246 $3799
Diamond Series LT-52246 $4499

All 2008 Mitsubishi LCD HDTVs include: slimmer (under one inch wide) frames, 120 Hz refresh, low profile speakers and built-in Gallery Player software to display high definition paintings and photography from Gallery Players library at 99 cents per image. Carried over from its 2007 LCDs are: 10-bit panels, 6-color signal processors, x.v. color and Deep Color.

The Diamond series adds CableCARD with TV Guide On Screen Daily program guide, improved signal processor and a high gloss frame with Blue Light Accent. Screen sizes available are 40”, 46” and 52”

DLP

There are seven DLP HDTV rear projectors in the Mitsubishi 2008 line. Improvements for 2008 include the latest Texas Instruments Dark Chip DLP chip, thinner frames, and an improved light engine with 18% greater brightness. Mitsubishi moves from a 6-color wheel to a 5-color wheel, while maintaining its 6 color signal processor. The rear projectors are available in 60”, 65” and 73” sizes.

All models are equipped with an infra-red emitter jack for use with 3D glasses (not included) for upcoming 3D discs. All models are shipping this month.

WD-60735 $1799
WD-65735 $2199
WD-73735 $3199
WD-65736 $2499
WD-73736 $3599
Diamond WD-65835 $3399
Diamond WD-73835 $4699

All models include 1080p, x.v. color, Deep Color, Color 4D noise reduction. Diamond models add high gloss finish, Smooth 120Hz to ‘optimize fast action” and Dark Detailer “for higher contrast” (according to the press release).

The 2008 DLP models improved brightness and contrast along with 3D readiness may justify the purchase if your viewing environment requires the added brightness. For controlled lighting you may want to consider a 2007 closeout.

As for the LCD models, Mitsubishi (like Samsung Sony and other vendors ) has mainly concentrated on styling and features for its 2008 models, (with the exceptions of all 120 Hz refresh across the line for improved motion resolution) and the Smooth 120 feature to reduce artifacts of film based sources.

You may want to consider one of the 120HZ 2007 closeout models for a better deal.

Panasonic

Panasonic’s 2008 line of plasmas represent a very significant picture improvement over its 2007 models. 2008 performance enhancements include: significantly improved blacks, higher contrast ratios, 100,000 hour lifetime (time to half brightness the industry method of measurement), improved color gamut, better anti-reflective filters, lower power requirements and a game mode for faster response.

The line starts with the 42” (1024x768p resolution) and 50” models (1365×768 resolution) called the TH-42PX80 and TH-50PX80. These boast a 15,000:1 contrast ratio and three HDMI inputs. A few weeks ago I had a chance to perform a side by side comparison of the 50” Japanese model side-by-side with the 50” Pioneer KURO. The back level was just a shade darker on the Pioneer, and this is the entry model with its lowest rated contrast ratio! Minimum Advertised Prices (MAP) are $1199 and $1699 respectively; available now.

The rest of the line is all “Full HD” 1080p (1920 x1080) and have a rating of 900 lines motion resolution. The entry series is the PZ 80 (i.e. TH-42PZ80) and they are available now in the 42”, 46” and 50” sizes (MAP $1599, $1999 and $2499 respectively) and is rated at 20,000:1 contrast (with a dynamic contrast rated at 1,000,000:1) and 4096 shades of gradation from black to full white.

The PZ85 series jumps to a 30,000:1 contrast ratio (and same million to one dynamic contrast). The 85 series adds hidden speakers and a VGA type analog PC input. The PZ85 series models are available now and are offered in the 42”, 46”, 50” and 58” sizes.

The PZ800 series (May/June) adds THX video certification, has four HDMI inputs (up from three for the lower models) single sheet glass front, 5120 shades of gradation and the big news, 48 HZ display for judder free viewing of native 24 fps sources (such as films) . I was unable to get a demo and look forward to testing this feature. Like the other models in this year’s line, it accepts 24fps signals via HDMI; however, the lower models only offer 3:2 pulldown which, (unlike the even 2:2 cadence of this model), produces judder (jerky instead of smooth motion) during pans. Prices are to be announced.

The top of the line PZ850 series will be available in June in the 46”, 50”, 58” and 65” ($TBA). These models add IPTV allowing access to specific internet content including YouTube and Picasa. In addition, there is a Pro Menu setting for profession ISF calibration in the user menu and AVCHD motion playback via the built-in SD card slot (all Panasonic plasmas have SD card slots for still photo viewing).

In addition, the 850 models have a wider color gamut, and include a Digital Cinema Color mode that claims 120% of the digital TV broadcast color space for more vivid images that allow for color reproduction similar to what you can see when at a digital movie theater that complies with the movie industry’s Digital Cinema standards. Like the 800 series it has 48 Hz playback, 4 HDMI inputs + PC input, 5120 gradations but drops the THX certification.

The demonstrations of the 2008 plasmas were quite impressive with a side-by-side of top 2007 model versus 2008. The black levels was far deeper than the 2007 model and may be as deep as the 2007 Pioneer KURO. The verdict will have to wait a few weeks for a production sample comparison.

The HD Guru recommends to the purchase of the 2008 models over a closeout 2007s. The performance gains well justify the additional expense.

LCD

Panasonic expanded its LCD offerings with five new models in two series. All use Panasonic’s own in plane switching panels that produce a contrast ratio of 1200:1 and Dynamic Contrast of 10,000:1. Features include SD memory card slot, Game mode, and three HDMI inputs.

The 85 series are 1365 x 768 models in 26” and 32” screen sizes and the 37” model is 1080p.

The step up units are the 32” TC-32LZ800 and 37” TC-37LZ800. Features include PC input, 4 HDMI inputs and Panasonic’s Motion Flow Technology that sequentially fires the backlight to greatly improve motion resolution without the resorting to 120 HZ refresh rate.

With increased contrast ratio and improved motion resolution of the Motion Flow model) you may want to consider a 2008 model.

Copyright ©2008 Gary Merson/HD Guru™. All rights reserved. The content and photos within may not be distributed electronically or copied mechanically without specific written permission.

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17 Comments so far ↓

  • bruce

    ok I need some advice Should I go with a 50″ plasma or the 50DLP? or should I wait for the Laser? I have a fairly bright room.

  • Mitchell

    Vincenzo, water may be the only factor that adversely affects the life (or death) of electronic equipment greater than heat. I would suggest the least expensive HDTV for your “hot” outside porch so that when it stops working in a couple of years it won’t be so painfully frustrating. If $$ is no object than I’d suggest the Pioneer Kuros HD5080 as it has been rated very high in glare reduction/light reflection.

  • Vincenzo

    I have my tv set up on my outside porch. What’s the best hdtv for hot outdoor climates? I’m concerned about longevity.

  • Paul

    Yeah, NO ONE should confuse LCD with best-in-class picture quality. They still can’t match DLP’s, and the disparity grows even further with plasma technology. I’ve been very intrigued with laser technology ever since reading about Novalux’s laser technology. Hopefully, Mitsubishi can get this technology to market at a competitive price.

  • Steve

    Tim – The THX specification is not audio, it’s video. That’s why the -850 series doesn’t have it, it instead uses Panasonic’s own Digital Cinema Color.

    Jim – Sony LCD and Pioneer plasma? I agree the Pioneer plasma’s are excellent, but the Panasonic plasma’s run circles around LCD’s from ANY manufacturer.

    Treefingers – sorry but DLP is run circles around by Samsung, Panasonic, Pioneer, Runco, Hitachi and Fujitsu plasma sets. I’d rather have a DLP than an LCD, but DLP doesn’t hold a candle to plasma in response times, colour accuracy, motion resolution and response times. As to your opinions as to whether or not the HD Guru knows what he’s talking about…I can assure you he does. Sorry bud.

  • Tim

    sanan said…(Even the HD Display (768p) of the Plasma Pany’s support above of 700 lines of motion resolution)

    This is true. The 700 line Motion Response on Pany’s 720P (really 768P) panel actually tested better than the 600 line motion response on a 120Hz 1080P LCD. Go figure.

    THX Certification applies to a product whos audio system has met a set of performance standards set by THX. You can Google (THX Certification) for the long response.

  • steve

    The single sheet of glass is on the front of the screen. There is not plastic bezel on the top and the sides.

  • sanan magoi

    TIM and SEAN

    Even the HD Display (768p) of the Plasma Pany´s support above of 700 lines of motion resolution.

  • John

    For the 800 series panny:
    What is the benefit of THX video certification?
    What is meant by the single sheet of glass?

  • Tim

    SEAN…..(900 lines of motion resolution)

    Unlike the best LCD’s (even 120Hz)on the market which are rated at only 600 lines of motion resolution, the Pany’s retain 30% more or 900 lines.

    1080P sets can only produce a 1080P image when the picture you are watching is static or still. Every TV looses some of it’s original 1080 lines of resolution once motion is introduced into the image you are watching, which is usually always if your watching anything.

    So, it means that under tests to see how many lines of resolution a panel can retain during moving pictres the Pany’s faired much better.

    This is due to the technological differences between LCD and Plasma. Even LCD’s with 120Hz are not able to run response times much faster than 4ms. Where the Panys have a response time of just under 1ms.

    Some of this has to do with the Pany’s use of a 480Hz sub field drive. It just runs 4times faster than 120Hz LCD’s.

    Hope this helps.

  • JIm

    DLP? Do you like changing bulbs every 1 1/2 to 2 years, sit of center and see bad picture? you dlp lovers were just to cheap to buy LCD or Plasma….
    Don’t kid yourself….Sony LCD or Pioneer Plasma can’t be beat…PERIOD

  • Michael

    Treefingers:

    Samsung are the best selling but the cheapest quality. Just look on AVS forum for information about the side shadow problem and the crappy customer support Samsung is giving their customers. I will never buy another Samsung product and I know that I have cost them numerous guaranteed sales because of the poor quality of their products.

  • Treefingers

    i cant believe you didnt talk about and Samsung DLP TVs they are the best DLP tvs in the industry and in my opinion the best TV available. I guess anyone that actually knows anything about TVs wont be reading this and will already know to go with performance of the DLP as opposed to the aesthetics of an LCD or Plasma. (Honestly people, why do you buy an LCD or Plasma if you arent gonna wall-mount it, a DLP will go on the same stand)

  • Sean

    Regarding the Panasonic tvs
    “The rest of the line is all “Full HD” 1080p (1920 x1080) and have a rating of 900 lines motion resolution.”

    what does ‘900 lines motion resolution’ mean?

  • sanan magoi

    excellent review of the panas. congrats.

  • BK

    How were the Laser TVs in terms of off-axis viewing angles and silk-screen effect? Any improvement over DLP/LCOS?

  • JD

    The new 2008 Panasonic plasmas might offer lower power consumption, but they are still one of the most power hog TV’s out there. I was debating between purchasing the Pioneer Pro-1150 or wait for the new Panasonics. The 1150 consumes 376 watts while the new Pany 50PZ85U consumes 690 watts. I decided to go for the Pioneer, which is being offered at a deep discount at this time, based on picture quality and power consumption.

    The power rating on the back of sets is the maximum amount of power a device can draw, not a real world average.

    I am waiting for an industry standardized test disc that is now being authored. Once available, you will see actual power consumption reported on this website.

    The HD Guru 

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