Best 50 Inch Plasma HDTV's
The Top Five 50-Inch Plasma TV's
If you ask me, 50-inch plasma TV's are the way to go. Their depth of black levels give them the highest-quality picture that money can buy. And most of the plasmas' previous issues with burn-in and length of life have been eliminated. These televisions really begin to triumph as night falls and rooms get darker. It is then that they really outshine their LCD counterparts.
Briefly, here is a table of contents to the five 50-inch plasma HDTV reviews which are below:
- Pioneer PDP-5020FD
- Samsung PN50A550
- Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ800U
- Samsung PN50B650
- Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-111FD
This model, along with Pioneer's Elite Kuro PRO-111FD, probably represent the best two 50-inch plasma HDTVs in the world. However, usually retails for less, though it's still expensive. In fact, it may really only be for two types of people: those who absolutely have to have the deepest black levels and those to whom money is no concern. This TV has essentially the deepest blacks out there, which is the number one factor in picture quality. It consistently rates very high in reviews. the PDP-5020FD
It has 3 rear HDMI inputs and 1 on the side, but you shouldn't really have to worry about a lack of HDMI inputs with any of these higer-end plasmas. There have been little issues with people not being able to calibrate the Pioneer 5020 as finely as they would like, but this should not be an issue for the majority of owners.
As usual, Samsung is the king of accurate color representation. The PN50A550 does not have the amazing depth of black that better plasma HDTV's have, but that is probably part of why this TV is cheaper. But is it really cheap? I think it is the best value in its field. For someone looking to spend around $1,500 this is a great buy. In fact, it received a #1 rating from Consumer Reports and has earned many reviewers' "best buy" or "best value" ratings.
Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ800U
The Viera is a great step up from the Samsung PN A550, because unlike that one it does nail its black levels.And it doesn't sacrifice on the color front, either.
This Panasonic includes superior quality THX and has a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. It also promises a 100,000 hour life, which should allay the old fears of plasmas dying before their LCD counterparts.
This one just came out at the time of this writing (June 2009). While it is not quite in the same league with some of the other plasma TV's profiled here, it is still a very viable alternative. With their B650 HDTV's, Samsung is taking a step forward in matching near-optimal performance with lowered prices.
The PNB650's nail the deep blacks while simultaneously achieving accurate color representation. (Samsung is known for their color accuracy.) The TV has 4 HDMI inputs as well as a PC input, and boasts a 1920 x 1080 resolution. Some have complained that the Yahoo Widgets perform a bit slowly, but I just think it's cool to have Yahoo anything operating on my TV. As you should be able to see from the picture to the right, this Samsung has a very sleek, almost "simple" design.
Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-111FD
This is, as they say, the pinnacle of the entire crop of 50 inch plasma TVs. No plasma (and thus not TV, period) produces deeper black levels than the Elite. This is where Pioneer really "shines". This flat-panel masterpiece is for the person who absolutely must have the best in show, and is willing to spend a few extra bucks on order to have it.
I know that most people who land on this page will probably not end up buying the PRO-111FD, but I wanted to include so that the list was complete. This is simply the best 50 incher there is. It is also useful to use this as a gauge to measure the other HDTV's profiled throughout this article: where do they compare, where do they fall short, etc.