Panasonic 53-inch Projection HDTV: Great Picture, Great Price!
Mar 19, 2004 (Updated Aug 2, 2004)
Review by AliventiAsylum
Rated a Very Helpful Review
The living room in our house is a bit narrow, and we made the mistake a few years ago of buying a sectional without measuring first. The end result was that the only two pieces of furniture in the living room - the sectional and the entertainment center- ended up giving the living room quite a crowded feel. Just after Christmas, we decided we needed to do something about that. We either had to get a new couch, or a new television and get rid of the entertainment center. Which do you think we chose?
Recommend this product?
As I began poking around websites and looking at reviews of the widescreen HDTVs on the market, I came across as review by Barbara of the Panasonic PT-53 Projection HDTV . I had read her review a few weeks earlier, and I think I had it in the back of my mind when I was poking around. Her recommendation was enough for me, and I decided on that model.
I first priced the television through the Circuit City website, but soon grew frustrated by not being able to understand what cables we did and didnt need. We decided to head to the store about a half hour from us and talk to a salesman instead.
My first impression of the Panasonic PT-53WX53 53 in. HDTV Projection Television was the great quality of the picture and its sleek looks. In the store, I stood there watching a basketball game while my husband searched out a salesman, and took it all in. It was going to be a big change going from the 27-inch television in the entertainment center to this. Still, I imagined watching my Star Trek DVDs on this television and decided it would be well worth it. The price in the store was about $150 less than what it had been online, probably due to all of the pre-Superbowl sales. The salesman helped us with cables as we discussed what components we already had.
Im the techie in the house and usually have to hook up anything electronic we get. This time, we were promised that the deliverymen would hook up everything. That didnt happen. Friday came and they basically dumped the Panasonic PT-53WX53 53 in. HDTV Projection Television in our living room and left. My husband managed to get the cable box working, but I had to fight with Circuit City to come back the next day and hook up the DVD player and VCR properly.
There are plenty of inputs on the Panasonic PT-53WX53 53 in. HDTV Projection Television. I cant imagine running out of them, no matter how many components you have. There are a total of 12 video inputs and 5 audio inputs. There are also 2 audio outputs one of which is fixed-level and one is variable-level. There are AV jacks in the front, which I use for our camcorder.
Cablevision came a week later to install the HDTV decoding cable box, so I missed out on seeing Janet Jackson in HDTV. However, once they came, the HDTV receiver was hooked up through one of the components rather than where we had the old cable box hooked up. They also programmed all of the HDTV channels into the favorites on our cable remote for us so I would have quick and easy access to those channels. The only bummer to this is that many of the televisions great features arent available to use - such as picture-in-picture. However, the adjustments still work, and Ive grown used to adjusting the picture mode from cinema, vivid, and standard, although lately Ive been just leaving it set on cinema. The aspect ratio for the screen can be changed as well. What is normally seen on our old television would be a 4:3 aspect ration. This produces gray bars on the sides of the picture which can burn into the screen. Normally, we leave the picture set on justified as this gives the best picture with the least distortion. However, this does mean that part of the picture can be cut off when viewing something filmed in a 4:3 aspect ratio, although not as much as in the zoom setting. The full screen setting is what I use for widescreen DVDs, although this also produces the gray bars often along the top and bottom of the picture. Still, its not that bad and as long as its not left on pause for long periods of time or Im not continually watching DVDs where this happens, I shouldnt have a problem with burn.
Ive been quite impressed with the Panasonic PT-53WX53 53 in. HDTV Projection Television. The first DVD we watched on it was The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring. I was blown away sitting in my living room watching this. I dont think Ill go to the movies ever again. The picture was magnificent! It was clear and crisp. The clarity in some of the special effects scenes is truly amazing. I couldnt believe I was sitting in my living room watching such a beautiful picture.
I have no complaints about the sound either. With two 2-way 15-watt per channel speakers in the base, the sound is great! I havent even hooked it up through my stereo receiver yet. One of my complaints with our last television was that due to the lack of inputs, I had to run the sound through our stereo for the DVD player. This meant that watching DVDs after the kids went to bed was a no-no since they got blasted by the sound. The sound on the Panasonic PT-53WX53 53 in. HDTV Projection Television is quality enough that the DVDs sound awesome, and yet I can turn it down enough as to not keep others awake in the house. There are equalizer adjustments for the speakers right in the televisions menu, although they are limited to only a few settings. There is also the ability to turn the surround sound feature on and off, as well as the BBE enhancement for the high-definition sound.
With three kids, I very much like the protective screen guard on the Panasonic PT-53WX53 53 in. HDTV Projection Television. Its just a given that at some point the screen is going to get touched. I dont have to worry about them pointing to Nemo or Dora and damaging the screen. There are also parental controls built into the television, such as v-chip, channel lock, and game guard. Doesnt mean I use them, but they are there if thats of interest to you. My kids have our old television in their playroom for their video games.
The only problems Ive encountered have to do with its size. I was right about getting rid of the entertainment center opening up the living room - it sure feels bigger now. The Panasonic PT-53WX53 53 in. HDTV Projection Television is a bit deeper than the entertainment center was, so it comes out further into the living room. However, its not as tall nor as long as that piece of furniture was, so I still feel that it was a wise decision to make. However, for people with a smaller living room than us it can be a problem. The dimensions are 49.1 inches wide by 51.4 inches high 25 inches deep. It also weighs 183 pounds, so its not something I want to be carrying up the stairs, although the wheels on the bottom make it easy to move out. This brings me to my other complaint, which is that the top of the television is so narrow that its really not conducive for the placement of components. Yes, we do have our cable box, DVD player and VCR perched up there, but the cat has already managed to knock the cable box off once.
The design of the Panasonic PT-53WX53 53 in. HDTV Projection Television is such that the base is a pedestal so there is a bit of space on either side under the television. One side is where we put the stereo components that used to be in the entertainment center, and the other is where I put my DVD boxed sets. Neither location would really be an alternative place to put the components I now have precariously sitting on top of the television.
The television comes with a one year parts and labor warranty. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to purchase a High-Definition television for their home. Im thankful I read Barbaras recommendation of this television!
UPDATE JULY 2004
At the beginning of this month the television began shutting itself off after intervals of playing time. These intervals became shorter and shorter until I could only leave the television on for 45 minutes at a time before it shut off. It was serviced under the warranty, which consisted of the company coming and taking the innards of the television out with them and then re-installing it (once fixed) the following weekend. All totaled, I was pretty much without a television for three weeks. The only answer I got when I asked what was wrong was a "soldering problem." However, when I described the problem to the technicians when they took the piece out, they seemed to know exactly what they needed to solve the problem. I have also spoken with others online who have described this same problem. For that reason, I am lowering my rating one star at this time.
© 2004 Patti Aliventi
Read all comments (6)
Amount Paid (US$): 1499
Share this product review with your friends