Pros: Excellent Picture, easy to set up and use
Cons: Instruction manual so-so
Being ready to exchange our 7 year old 32" Panasonic with a big-screen we researched all aspects of cost / feature and pro-and-cons of buying standard TV, standard rear-projection and Plasma Monitors on the Internet and locally.
After seeing all the various models (and prices!) locally, the Panasonic PT 45LC12 clearly stood out as both being eye-candy in design as well as having an outstanding picture and greater viewing angle when comparing it to the standard rear-projection sets. In addition, by seeing it was the rated the best big-screen TV by Consumer Report, we knew this was the set for us.
As a big complex item, we clearly preferred to buy it locally, but had some trepidations over the difference between the $3,499 local list price and the $2,450 lowest Internet price. We went to all (4) of the local electronics chains to see if they would meet us halfway. 3 of 4 said absolutely no, the fourth said "yes" and sold us the set for $ 2,800 and the stand for $199 ($ 399 list)Great deal! We took advantage of the chains total 5 year warranty plan ($300) and also took advantage of 12 months interest-free same-as-cash deal the chain had going.
Getting the set home was fairly easy in our Toyota Sequoia (though barely fitting with all the seats out! - suspect it is a no-go in a Jeep Grand Cherokee class car), but it weighed less than our old 32" television. Unpacking and set-up was easy - and within an hour we were ready to turn the set on.
We were happy to see the picture being just as good as it was in the shop. We had read concerns about the fan-noise, but found it quite unobtrusive and barely noticeable at the viewing distance when the sound was muted.
The instruction manual was so-so, in parts fine to follow, in parts frustratingly "silent", in particular when it comes to ASPECT control. While the ASPECT control is excellent for regular TV viewing, there is no mention in the manual as how to best view wide-angle movies per DVD and we are still guessing whether it is in "full", "Zoom" or "Just" ASPECT. Since part of the reason for buying a 16:9 monitor is to view wide-angle programs and movies, this would have been nice to be addressed in the manual.
The sound seems no better than what it was on our old Panasonic: adequate, certainly not breath taking, however with a set like this, one should certainly invest in a Dolby surround sound amplifier and speakers (as we had done prior to the purchase) and with that, the TV sound really doesn't matter.
With equal sized Plasma sets costing $5,000+ when all is said and done, with the biggest direct TV being a 40", 300 pound behemoth costing the same as the Panasonic set and with the picture quality/angle viewing problems of standard rear-projection TVs, the PT45LC12 is a very attractive alternative.
Overall, we are very happy with the set, it has met our expectations fully, we liked the fact that we were viewing composite signal DVD's within an hour of taking it home with a clean and stellar picture and in particular were very happy that we were able to make an amicable deal with one of our local shops.