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Panasonic TXP42VT30 vs. Samsung UE40D8000 - Which one to get?

Discussion in 'Which TV Should I Buy?' started by Kifaru, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. Kifaru

    Kifaru Member

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    I'm looking to buy a new TV and have it narrowed down to Panasonic's TXP42VT30 Plasma or Samsung's UE40D8000 LED but I really don't know which one to go for! My budget is no higher than £1600 and I'm limited to a 42" maximum TV size because of the room it's going in.

    In terms of what I'll be using it for, primarily gaming both on my PC and on a PS3 but obviously also going to be watching TV (Sky HD) mostly either for movies or sports as I don't really watch much else. The TV is going to be wall mounted on a white wall which is why I'm really tempted by the Samsung. Aesthetically the Samsung is nicer and I think the backlight could look really good against the wall but then I've always trusted Panasonic for my TVs in the past and the VT30 seems to be their top end in my size and budget range. I'm also unsure as to whether to go for LED or Plasma :S

    So now I need help deciding which one to go for and I was hoping some reviews or recommendations here could help :)

    Also, any particular retailers that anyone could recommend for these 2 TVs?

    Cheers!
  2. noiseboy72

    noiseboy72 Reviewer

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    It might be worth bearing in mind the amount of ambient light. Plasmas are not as bright as LCD, but can offer better black levels.

    I have a GT20 and am very happy with it, but it was less than half your budget. The panel on the VT30 has better black and contrast levels and copes better with reflections.

    We have quite a few Samsungs at work, and all work very well, with no gripes at their various price points. We don't have the model you mention, so cannot pass comment directly on it.

    I purchased from Hyper Fi and found the whole process very easy, with delivery to my door.
  3. mikej

    mikej Member

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    I visited my local John Lewis store a couple of weeks ago and they had the Samsung 46D8000 LCD and the Panasonic 42GT30 plasma on display, next to each-other.

    Both were (presumably) set in dynamic/vivid modes and to my eyes, the GT30 had a much more natural picture - the D8000 looked far too bright, garish and unnatural for my tastes. Switching the GT30 to one of the normal modes improved it's picture even further. The VT30 is a higher spec TV, so I'd expect it to at least as good as the GT30, if not better. I didn't alter the settings on the D8000 admittedly, as I'm more interested in plasmas at the moment.

    The other things you need to consider are light levels in your room (as noiseboy mentioned) and (for gaming) lag times of LCD vs plasma.
  4. Kifaru

    Kifaru Member

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    Thanks for the quick replies! In terms of lighting when I'm gaming the curtains are normally drawn either because of glare on my current screen or just because its at night. The lights in the room are on a dimmer switch and again kept fairly dimmed whilst gaming or when watching movies. The only time the lights are bright or curtains are open is when watching sports. I'm guessing this would lean more towards the right environment for a plasma?

    In terms of the lag issues which mikej mentioned am I right in assuming that plasmas deal with quick movement better? Or am I completely misinformed? :p

    Based on what you've both said I'm already leaning towards the VT30.
  5. mikej

    mikej Member

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    Plasma screens tend to be more reflective, so are said not to suit rooms with bright, direct sunlight. Saying that - I've got a couple of LCDs in the house and they don't look great with the sun shining on them either !

    That's what I've read - I've gamed on a Panasonic 42S21b plasma on my PS3 without issues but I've not tried a large LCD, however.

    Make sure you check out the VT30 thread in the plasma section - it looks like a great TV (I'm interested in the 42VT30 or GT30 myself), but it's not without it's issues. Make sure you demo the set yourself before parting with any cash. Check out the review on this site too.
  6. Kifaru

    Kifaru Member

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    Ok having read all this and the VT30 thread as advised I decided to go and have a look at the two screens myself. I saw the 42VT30 on display at a store called Atlantic Electronics (quick Google search showed them as nearby) but they didn't have the D8000 in so I went to John Lewis to check that one out. Was a no-contest really, the Samsung looked aesthetically nicer but the Panasonic had a far more natural looking picture (as mikej said) so I've ordered that from Atlantic's website (again Google to the rescue, 4 and a half stars and second on the search). The price was about £50 more than some others at £1569.99 but the service I got when I went in to their store to look at the TV was really good so decided I'll give them a try. Now to wait on delivery and hope that I don't regret it! Will write a little review once I get the TV, set it up n try it for a few days... Can't wait! :-D

    Thanks again to both of you for the advice.
  7. Kifaru

    Kifaru Member

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    It's been a while since I got the TV but I've been really busy so only just getting to write up this review now. Just a warning, I'm very much an amateur so don't expect anything too detailed here!

    In terms of the TX-P42VT30... I love it! The picture is great for both gaming and for watching TV. I've got my PC, PS3, Sky HD and DT300 Blu-Ray player plugged in through the 4 HDMI ports (definitely useful having that many inputs!). The input ports are really well placed so that they don't interfere with wall-mounting. For the older, more chunky connections like Scart you have to use the provided break-out cables.

    In terms of configuration, I've just left it on the THX preset for now and I can't see anything to complain about. According to the configurations thread here I should change this after a few hundred hours so I think I'll follow those settings later on and see what difference it makes.

    The remote is slightly different to the normal Panasonic remotes I've seen before. It's partially back-lit (numbers, channel and volume buttons only) and has a high-end heavy duty feel. The menu system is well thought out with easy to read fonts and an intuitive lay-out. There is also an Advanced Calibration menu which gives you control over a whole host of settings like Greyscale, Gamma and Secondary colours though I can't say much about these as I haven't changed them.

    The actual picture quality itself is brilliant. I haven't had a chance to check out the 3D yet though. The black level quality is very good, not the best I've seen but then I don't think any TV has managed to beat the Pioneer Kuro black levels as yet. There is still a bit of lag with particularly stressful movement such as with the tennis where you can still see some artefacts following the ball. This isn't as bad as I saw on a lot of other models when I was looking for a TV but this may just be due to the settings of the display models in the shops. All in all, a little bit of judder on such a fast moving object isn't exactly too hard to overlook when you consider that it would be the same on most TVs and the everything else about this TV has been spectacular so far!

    All in all, I'm really happy with my decision to buy this TV!

    Also feel the retailer, Atlantic Electronics, deserves a mention here because they were outstanding! As I mentioned, I went in to the store and had a look at the VT30 there. The staff were really helpful and when I said I wanted to see the Samsung they actually recommended that I go to John Lewis to have a look because they didn't have it in stock at the time. They didn't pressure me to buy the TV they had although they did recommend the VT30 and they gave valid reasons (most of which are in the posts by noiseboy and mikej above).

    I ordered the TV on a Friday from Atlantic2u.com and received it as informed on the following Tuesday. Unfortunately, there was problem when I first got the TV out and set-up in that it wasn't powering up. I called them up immediately and was put through to their service department. They organised for the TV to be collected the next day and had a replacement in the van so I didn't have to wait any longer. It was really good service both in-store and over the phone so I would definitely recommend them!

    Anyways, hope this is helpful to anyone who reads it and again, sorry for the poor attempt at a review :p

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