I feel disloyal. I just bought a 65 inch Samsung LED HDTV for my living room system to replace my trusty, Kevin Miller-calibrated 50 inch Panasonic Pro plasma that was built into the wall with two stock speakers on each side. The wall is covered with fabric and houses some very nice, reference grade PSB CW800E in-walls powered by a Krell S-300i Integrated amp, a Benchmark DAC1 HDR, and an Apple TV, LG Blu-ray HDMI 1.4 player and a DirecTV HD DVR. I feel disloyal because I wanted another Panasonic Pro. I shopped like a wide-eyed consumer at CEDIA for a TV large enough to cover the hole that we made for the 50 inch set, the speakers and a little breathing room. As the math would have it - it would have to be a 65 inch set.
The size requirements took a few of my favorite players out of the game, including Toshiba's LEDs as they aren't physically wide enough for this application despite having what I think is the best LED panel on the market today. The other top performing contender that I looked at was Panasonic - a brand that I am loyal too and for good reason. Panasonic has picked up where Pioneer left off with Plasma HDTVs that have the inky black that you still can't get from an LED. For videophiles, this deep contrast makes for the foundation of a great image, much like good bass leads to an overall good audiophile sound. So why not buy the Panasonic? Simply put - form factor.
Today you can buy a pretty big HDTV for a relatively small amount of money as compared to six or seven years ago. In the old days, plasmas sold at $5,000 or more because their 3 inch deep form factor was game changing. A 40 in CRT tube set weighed 150 pounds and was more than two feet deep. "Big Screen" HDTVs were still a foot deep even at the end of their run. A plasma could hang on the wall like a picture (don't try that by the way - use a good mount from OmniMount or Sanus) or at least so it seemed. Roll the tape forward to today and the LED HDTVs on the market are so paper thin that you can literally put a gigantic HDTV in places that you never could have dreamed of even a few years ago. And that's how they got me to spring for my new set. Am I slumming it with a top-of-the-line Samsung 65 inch LED? Nobody would suggest that. Is my heart still longing for the deep blacks that come from a Panasonic Plasma? You bet. Thank God, we've got a new office at leases. Perhaps there will be room to install a plasma for corporate viewing of the NHL Network while working? Perhaps it will end up getting me the best of both worlds? Here's hoping. For now - form factor closed the deal on what HDTV to buy over 3D, power consumption, tricky applications, HDMI 1.4, 1080p and LED's performance in ambient light.
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Be sure to check out another one of our other articles, Samsung Introduces 3D Streaming to its Televisons. There is also more information available in our LED HDTV News and Review section, as well as our Samsung brand page.