First...let me say that my level of enthusiasm for this TV is directly related to the incredible price that I was able to purchase it for. I got this TV at BJ's Wholesale Club in Nahsua,NH for $1,199.00!! Not a floor or display model but brand new out of the box...not bad for a $1,900.00 TV. Circuit City is selling the Panasonic model below it on sale(which is listed at $1,800.00) for $1,600.00 so I know I got one incredible deal.
Recommend this product?
Now...onto the TV. I have had 3 different large widescreen rear projection TV's in my house over the last several months. I was attempting to find one that was able to satisfy my expectations and I must tell you...I tried 2 of the most highly rated models. One was a Hitachi SWX series 51 inch (tried their 57 inch as well) and the other was the smaller Sony 48 inch that CNET gave an 'Editor's Choice' rating for.
Both models displayed HDTV sources quite well in stunning clarity...however...we are a long way from even seeing 25% of all programming in the HDTV format. So, with these RPTV widescreen TV's, I found myself painfully tolerating viewing the standard NTSC 4:3 picture stretched, zoomed and distorted. You can choose to watch them in the 4:3 format but at your own risk of screen burn. All of the manufacturers of these TV's are very detailed in pointing out...their warranties will not cover this type of damage. So, in all praticality...the 4:3 display option is not really a feature you can use.
So, I finally gave up on the HDTV RPTV widescreen search and had to drag my little 27 inch Panasonic Tau series bedroom TV into the living room. Needless to say...it was killing me! What a major strain on the eyes from the distance I was sitting (about 13 feet).
I finally decided I could not take it anymore and went to the usual places...Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears, etc. It was after I visited all those places when I got the crazy idea of checking out BJ's Wholesale. I just did not think of a 'Wholesale Club' as a place to go to find the latest in quality electronics. Wow! Was I surprised when I saw the Panasonic CT-36HL42 sitting there with a $1,199.00 price tag!
I also picked up an awesome Bush modern style TV stand for $119.00 (same stand at Best Buy was $199.00) and it was a match made in Heaven.
The picture quality is by far better than those RPTV's I had on standard NTSC signals and even better with a progressive scan DVD player signal. Needless to say...the HDTV is simply amazing as well.
My previous TV was a standard 35" Panasonic TV for which I got several years of use out of and gave it away to my sister. So, I have alot of faith in the Panasonic brand.
Panasonic's picture quality as compared to the so called 'industry standard'...Sony...is just as good from what I have been able to observe in the various electronics stores where the two brands were displaying the same signal side by side.
Well, that is it...I love the TV and it will certainly hold me over until the price of plasma's begin to come down.
Amount Paid (US$): 1,199.00