Q: Everyone I talk to says to buy an LED/LCD HDTV. You seem to be the only person who says to buy plasma. Why should I believe you over everyone else?
A: I’m far from the only person recommending plasma. In fact, almost all of my product recommendations are quite orthodox, as far as industry experts and reviewers are concerned. The experts and hobbyists tend to know what the deal is. Sadly, the general public often doesn’t, through no fault of its own.
If you do research, you’ll find most reviewers say the same as I do: Plasma has the better picture, and the Panasonic ST, VT and ZT series plasmas are the best TVs on the market, with the ST series representing an amazing value.
Besides me, CNET, Consumer Reports, HD Guru and Sound & Vision are just a few that also say this. In fact, the latest issue of Sound & Vision has the Panasonic ZT plasma on the cover with the tagline, “Simply the best.”
The salespeople in the big-box stores are the ones recommending LED/LCD. There is more selection, the ultra-bright (if unrealistic) picture looks better in a showroom environment and many salespeople are not fully educated. Word spreads from the people who buy LED/LCD as they relay what they were told, and the result is widespread myth and misconception that is hard to overcome.
Money and marketing also play a part. For example, if you read audio hobby websites, you will find that Bose is typically scorned by audio enthusiasts. Advertising and big-budget marketing sways the general public to perceive Bose as a high-end product, so people pay a healthy premium for it when there are better, less-expensive alternatives.
Similar phenomena are affecting the adoption of mirrorless cameras in North America. In overseas markets, mirrorless quickly captured a huge slice of the market and last year the Olympus OM-D E-M5 practically ran the table of “Camera of the Year” awards worldwide. Despite this, if you walk into stores, you’ll find that digital SLRs from Canon and Nikon are pushed almost exclusively, although most of the general public would be better served by a mirrorless camera.
I’m a serious photographer. I own an extensive SLR system but now use Micro Four Thirds mirrorless most of the time. With the Olympus OM-D E-M5, I have a viewfinder that shows exactly what I get in the picture, the viewfinder works while recording video, the picture proportions are a more natural 4:3 ratio vs. the oblong 3:2 of an SLR, autofocus is lightning fast, and I can touch the rear screen and it will focus on the point and take a picture almost instantly. Those are some of the reasons why I prefer it to an SLR.