: Panasonic TH-50PZ85U vs. Samsung PN50A650 Plasma TV Review

2008-06-26, 08:28 AM
Not sure how objective these guys are but it certainly seems like they know what they are talking about!

Edited for brevity from press release

The Plasma Shootout compares a broad range of results, including picture quality, design, color rendition, calibration, contrast, viewing angle, menu functionality and other categories.

While several drawbacks were discovered, both TV models tested exceptionally well for most categories.

In a key rating result, the Samsung PN50A650 plasma, while not as bright as the Panasonic TH-50PZ85U, scored surprisingly better in two prominent picture quality categories to win the overall picture quality rating. This marked a significant change from previous results from prior product reviews. "Samsung's natural, clear picture on this plasma model impressed us for sure." said Mr. Wiley.

The Panasonic Plasma tested superior in brightness and contrast and other areas, while the Samsung plasma bested the Panasonic in design, color rendition and several other categories. Mr. Wiley noted that reviewer Jack Burden found a couple of discrepancies in specification size from one manufacturer, and a significant heat output issue that warrants attention before deciding whether or not to purchase.

Comparison Review (http://plasmatvbuyingguide.com/plasmatvreviews/panasonic-th50pz85u-vs-samsung-pn50a650.html)

2008-06-28, 04:29 PM
I just picked the samsung 650 50" plasma up at Breau & Martineau in Gatineau today. I had just purchased a full suite of appliances so they worked out a deal for me.

2008-08-04, 01:26 PM
It was time to replace my Toshiba 51HX83 rear projection...a really good TV for what it was...it had a great HD picture for a projection TV, and had excellent sound (thanks to the big cabinet and it's beefed up speakers and amp)...I was replacing it because we wanted to change the look of our family room, RP TV's make that tough (they take up a lot of space, and dominate the view).

I did research for about 6 months, and looked at every make/model available in my area (GTA Ontario). I was convinced all along that I would wind up with a Pioneer Elite, but had a hard time convincing myself that paying $6000 for a TV was sane...I don't spend all my time watching TV (no offence intended to anyone who does!), so I gotta save some money for my other hobbies...so that lead me to the Panasonics, more affordable, but still pricey enough, and this year's don't seem to be quite as good as last, from what I've read...so the next thing you know, I discover the PN50A650, on sale last week at the Future Shop for $2200...about $150 less than the Toshiba I was replacing originally cost me...now we're talking! I finally pulled the trigger.

This TV has a great picture on all inputs...HD TV, standard def TV, DVD, games...clear and sharp...fantastic vibrant colours...great blacks...ok, it doesn't "dissappear" in a dark room like a Kuro does when it's displaying "nothing", but I don't spend a lot of time in a dark room watching "nothing", so I can live with that!

Then menus and on-screen controls are great on this TV...menus look sharp, are easy to navigate, all changes have "instant" effect so you can see what you're doing. One really nice touch is that the volume control appears as a vertical bar on the left side of the screen, so it doesn't pop over the picture when you turn it up or down.

Lots of inputs, including 4 HDMI...no probably hooking lots of stuff up (I have cable box, DVD player, Wii, XBox).

The "Touch of Colour" rose-tinted frame is really nice, too...although I can see how this could be a "personal taste" thing.

The only (minor) issue I have had so far is the somewhat "thin" sound...but this is to be expected when comparing it to the Toshiba RPTV...there's no replacing space when it comes to creating powerful bass...and not a problem when the home theatre system is on! I have found that all flat panels sound thin to me.

I truly can't believe how nice the picture on this TV is...I have spent the last 4 days thinking that I dodged a huge bullet when I was looking at more expensive makes/models...this is a great TV...and with a 2-year warranty, it is competive with even the Elite in this category (the 2008 Elites come with only 2 years, per Pioneer's website, unlike the 3-year warranty on the 2007's)...I am very glad I didn't spend more.

I highly recommend this TV to anyone and everyone!

By the way, many thanks to everyone on Digital Home who posts information...invaluable during my search for a new TV!

2008-08-10, 03:33 AM
Let me jump on this bandwagon by posting this message I originally posted on another forum:

I've had an A450, A650, and 5010 in my house within the last month (though not at the same time) so I can offer my opinion.

Out of the box, the A450 has the best color accuracy...skin tones look right and a good level of saturation. Both the A650 and 5010 have a very noticeable red push. I adjusted the 5010 grayscale, using D-Nice's service menu settings. I also tried other people's posted tweaks, as well as trying some of my own, but could never get the color on the 5010 to be anywhere near as nice as on the A450. I haven't tried adjusting the A650's colors yet, though with a full set of CMS in the user menu, I expect that it'll have at least as nice colors as the A450 (once I pick up some calibration equipment).

Not surprisingly, the 5010 has the best black levels. The A450 has the worst. The A650 is in between. The thing is unless I'm viewing a very dark scene, the A650 blacks look very black and in no way distracts from viewing enjoyment.

The A450 washes out terribly in ambient light. The 5010 and A650 handle it about the same, meaning pretty well.

The A450 has horrendous image retention. It literally takes seconds for an image to "burn into" the screen. The 5010 is very IR resistant, as is the A650.

So which display did I end up keeping? Call me crazy, but the A650 stays in my house (price is on par with 5010). I use the display for viewing everything from TV to movies to PS3 games to photos to computer desktop...and I value color accuracy over low black level. I find it easier to live with sometimes noticeable higher blacks than with always inaccurate color.

My 2 cents.

One more thing to keep in mind if you plan on using the 5010 (I assume 5080 works the same way) is that if you want razor sharp text when hooked up to a PC, you must set HDMI input type to PC. However, doing this sets the color control to 0 and user cannot change it. This results in super oversaturated colors.

David Susilo
2008-08-11, 09:41 AM
Alternatively you can always get the Kuro 5080 for about $2K. Yes it's a 720p set, but there's a lot more to picture quality than sheer pixelcount. Just like in cameras, prints, etc etc etc.

It's very true that you don't watch "nothing" but think one really important thing while watching movies:
more than 80% of my Blu-ray collection and DVD collection (currently more than 2,500 titles) are in 2.35:1 ratio. There are blackbars on the screen. When all the lights turned off, I don't want to see "slight grey" or "light black" on the screen. I want the blackbars to be flushed with the darkness. Only Pioneer blacks can deliver that at the moment.

2009-08-18, 08:49 PM
Hi all,

This is my first post, so hopefully I'm posting to the right place.

After reading countless reviews on Samsung and other plasmas, I'm now just trying to decide between the Samsung PN50B650 or stepping up further to the PN50B850. What does the 850 have over and above the 650, and is it worth the extra $500?

I would really appreciate any help you could offer, and apologies if I've posted incorrectly. Thank you.

Michael TLV
2009-08-19, 10:43 PM

thinner ...