Once again Harvey Norman nearly made me part with a large sum of money. The object of desire? The latest 42" Panasonic Viera Plasma TV. Panasonic have been creating lots of buzz in the market lately with their range of Plasmas.
Traditionally outsold by the much cheaper LCDs, Plasmas have long thought to be expensive, limited in screen sizes (they're usually available in 46" and above), run hot, heavy (due to its glass screen) and have shorter lifespan. If you could afford one, you're rewarded with better images and quicker refresh rates (thus less tiring on the eyes).
Panasonic seemed to have found a solution to many of the inherent problems with their range of Viera Plasmas. They're imported from Singapore, have loads of features (including a SD HC slot) and are relatively cheaper to their older predecessors. I first heard about it from my boss who was very impressed with the 42" TV, the Panasonic promoter and price. It was sold at Jusco for RM5199 just 2 weeks ago, bundled with a 5-year warranty, RM300 Jusco vouchers, and lots of Panasonic freebies. I thought it was a good price for a Plasma.
That was until yesterday when at Sunway Pyramid, I walked into the Harvey Norman roadshow for LCD and Plasma TVs. The Pana was there. The offer was stupendous: 5-year warranty, a free Panasonic camera and lots of freebies. At the price tag of RM5,199 too. If you choose not to have the bundled camera, these chaps will bring the price down to RM4,650(!), and you still get the 5-year warranty and freebies. Now, the price was only one of the drool-inducing factor.
The salesman walked me through the features and I personally took the TV for a stress test by slapping and punching the screen. No problems at all, in fact it was a selling point for them. Being a plasma, it has no problems with analog and digital signals. So if you've Astro, you won't get the typical lousy pictures that you see on certain LCDs. The heat emitted are no more than warm. The stock stand is swivel type. Other nice features are the full HD, 1 million to 1 contrast ratio, PC input (so that you can hook up a Mac mini to it!), 3 HDMIs, and 30-year lifespan. No problems if you're into gaming - the PS2/3, X-Box and Wii connect seamlessly too. It doesn't matter what features the TV has if it fails to deliver the image quality. From my limited viewing time, I can say that it's really impressive. I'd love to try out some mind blowing action scenes for good measure but that will be another time. The salesman made it more enticing by asking me to place a RM100 deposit and should I change my mind after 1 week, I can use the deposit for other purchases with no questions asked.
Known for walking away from mouth watering temptations, you can guess what I did.
If you want more info on the long debate of LCD versus Plasma TVs, just head on to http://www.panasonic.com.my/viera/, then click on Plasma TV Advantages on the bottom right. Parents of precocious kids will be very happy to view a video on impact testing on their TVs. Oh yes, the culprit which caused my heart to palpitate is the TH-42PV80H. If it's meant to grace my home, conditions will make it so one day. Till then, it remains a top-tier luxury item, for which the money would be of better use for other essentials.