Expert Recommendation

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Best Overall 58-Inch or Smaller HDTV Under $3000
Expert (3 Recommendations)
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November 23, 2009
Overview

Enter the Panasonic TC-P54G10 plasma HDTV. This 54-inch television has amazing picture quality, an aesthetically pleasing bezel and plenty of options and inputs for under $1700.00. Competing with other televisions with higher price tags, the G10 is an over-achiever and perfect for watching 1080p content and television in any lighting.

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My Best In Class Pick
Panasonic TC-P54g10

Panasonics G10 series plasma display earns its position as one of the best televisions of 2009 for its decently accurate colors, deep blacks and overall low price. The TC-P54G10 is a large 54-incher with a full 1080p resolution and an anti-reflective screen.

This television has excellent colors when set to “THX mode” without any tweaking involved, making the G10 a top-level performer minus the expensive professional color calibration.

Other features include an SD memory card reader for viewing pictures and Panasonics VIERA CAST to enjoy online content like YouTube and Picasa photo albums through an Ethernet connection. The G10 also boasts Panasonics Neo-PDP panel technology to reduce power consumption.

The only disappointment was the brightness levels when set to “THX” mode. Though “THX” provides excellent color accuracy, other picture controls (like brightness) are simply unavailable when “THX” mode is turned on. The G10 does provide a decent amount of picture adjustments outside of THX mode to make up for it.

The G10 has the best out-of-the-box picture of any 2009-model television including Panasonic’s “Cadillac”, the V10 series and retails for about $1,000 less. The TC-PG10 is easy to set-up, has an above average picture, and a price too good to pass up.

Comparison with Samsung PN58B860

Shoppers looking for great picture quality will be pleased with either television. Both have excellent black levels and color accuracy. The major differences are size, style and price. For those who want an excellent picture for a good price, the G10 can’t be beat.

Comparison with Panasonic TC-p54v10

With calibration, the V10 has a better picture than the G10. For the average customer also concerned about price, the G10 is more accurate out of the box and about $1,000 less.

Pros
  • +
    Accurate Colors in THX mode without calibration
  • +
    Price
Cons
  • -
    Unavailable picture controls in THX mode
  • -
    Less energy efficient than LCD
Panasonic TC-P54G10 is the Best Overall 58-Inch or Smaller HDTV Under $3000
Where to buy
Panasonic TC-P54G10
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 54 in.
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Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
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Panasonic TC-P54G10
2
Samsung PN58B860
3
Panasonic TC-P54V10
Customer Rating
Price
Screen Size 54 in. 58 in. 54 in.
Display Type Plasma Plasma Plasma
Anti-reflective Coating Yes Yes Yes
HDMI Inputs (Total) 3 4 4
Component Video Inputs (Total) 2 2 2
Composite Video Inputs (Total) 2 1 2
S-Video Input Yes No Yes
VGA Input Yes Yes Yes
PC Interface Yes Yes Yes
2
Samsung PN58B860

Slim, sleek and elegant describe Samsungs PN58b860. With excellent black levels and color accuracy, this TV not only provides a great picture but a smooth aesthetic appeal due to its 1.2-inch thick design, brushed steel stand and ultra-cool bezel. While I didn’t have the chance to run any tests personally, the PN58B860 seemed to hold its own when compared side by side to Panasonic’s G10 and V10 series plasmas. Reviews from Cnet.com also praised the Samsung PN58b860 for its picture and design. The biggest payoff, however, is the streamlined design that looks great either on the stand or wall-mounted.

Comparison with Panasonic TC-p54v10

Though the Panasonic V10 had a better picture quality, the differences can be difficult to spot. The Samsung B850 has a great picture which will please even the pickiest videophiles, a larger a screen size and not to mention a slimmer bezel.

Pros
  • +
    Slim bezel
  • +
    Fairly accurate colors
Cons
  • -
    Price
  • -
    Power consumption
Samsung PN58B860 is one of the Best Overall 58-Inch or Smaller HDTVs Under $3000
Where to buy
Samsung PN58B860
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 58 in.
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3
Panasonic TC-p54v10

The V10 series from Panasonic is the “cat’s meow” of plasma televisions for 2009. The bezel is a slick piece of work with a single piece of glass stretching all the way to the edge. The V10 has more picture controls than Panasonic’s G10 series making color accuracy even better with some tweaking and calibration. The V10 features an SD card reader, VIERA CAST for viewing additional online content and on demand movies from Amazon.com, four HDMI inputs and is THX certified. The V10 out-performs the G10 and is a great choice for those who are willing to shell out the extra cash.

Comparison with Samsung UN55b7000

Picture quality on the V10 trumps the B7000 without a doubt. The B7000 is recommended for those who prefer an LCD over plasma, slimmer design and additional power savings.

Pros
  • +
    Accurate colors
  • +
    Black levels
Cons
  • -
    Must be calibrated for accuracy
  • -
    Price
Panasonic TC-P54V10 is one of the Best Overall 58-Inch or Smaller HDTVs Under $3000
Where to buy
Panasonic TC-P54V10
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 54 in.
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4
Samsung UN55b7000

For those looking for an LCDTV with flair, the Samsung UN55b7000 is a sure winner. This television offers a full 1080p resolution, 120 Hz Motion Plus to smooth out shaky motion and camera panning, and edge-lit LED backlighting. The B7000 also has a slim 1.2 inch deep bezel and saves more power than traditional LCD televisions.

Pros
  • +
    Slim bezel
  • +
    Good contrast
  • +
    Energy efficient
Cons
  • -
    Viewing Angle
  • -
    Shadow detail
  • -
    Price
Samsung UN55B7000 is one of the Best Overall 58-Inch or Smaller HDTVs Under $3000
Where to buy
Samsung UN55B7000
Specifications
  • Screen Size: 55 in.
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