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It's about to get cheaper to get the coolest TV on the block. For three years, big-screen TV sets no thicker than a picture frame have been a living-room trophy, with prices to match. These flat-panel, plasma-filled machines are marketed as sets that can be hung on a wall just like a painting. Brochures have even shown them displayed next to Monets and Cezannes. Now thanks to a flood of models and retailers eager to keep consumers spending amid the downturn, prices are plummeting.

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The picture has come a long, long ways, but it is still not there yet. If you look at almost any area of solid color you see tons of noise in them. This is because the technology turns on and off the cells really quickly to simulate brightness. They do not have the power distribution down quite right for it yet and it causes lots of noise.

Pull up a gray screen and look at a CRT, the gray is uniform and there are no fluxuation pixels. Do this on a plasma and you will see a lot of snow.

The effect disappears from a distance, and newer ones are tons better than the old ones. Give it a couple years and they will have this problem fixed. Plus they will cost 1/2 as much again.
 

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If you watch strictly HD or DVD material then they are great, but unless you can afford one of the high priced units that include a native rate scaler, forget it. SD program material (DISH, Directv, cable, OTA) looks horrid on Plasma.
 

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I've looked at the Pioneers, Panasonics, and Hitachis recently at Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears etc.. just out of curiosity alone and I did see one somewhat decent setup at Sears which featured a new Hitachi if memory serves correctly hooked up to Dish HD showing off Discovery Theater HD. Picture looked ok, but as others reported above still didnt appear to be quite ready for prime time just yet. Perhaps the next generation units will be there.
 
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