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Panasonic TH-103PF9UK 103-inch Plasma Display Print E-mail
Monday, 01 October 2007
Article Index
Panasonic TH-103PF9UK 103-inch Plasma Display
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The Downside
While the TH-103PF9UK’s greatest draw is undoubtedly its size, it may also be its greatest drawback for a multitude of reasons. For starters, one of the strengths of a plasma or LCD display is its ability to provide a powerful display in ambient and even bright light; however, this is not the case with the TH-103PF9UK. While you may be able to get away with having a fair amount of light surrounding say a 50- or 60-inch display, when you double that, the sheer size of the screen begins to act more like a mirror, reflecting everything in the surrounding area when presented with even the slightest of light sources, washing out not only your experience but the image as well. For a home theater-like application, I wouldn’t treat the TH-103PF9UK any differently than I would a large front-projection screen, for the image quality reacts much in the same way. Businesses considering the TH-103PF9UK for their boardroom should avoid placing the TH-103PF9UK near windows or under direct light for the best possible presentation.

Next, due to its size, I felt as if the TH-103PF9UK was having a bit of a tough time actually filling up all of that real estate. Even when I darkened an area around a portion of the screen, the image, mainly the blacks, still didn’t pop the way I had expected. The image always suffered a bit of excess noise and didn’t fare as well as other Panasonic plasmas have with rapid motion or the rendering of stark vertical and horizontal lines. To combat the noise and “jaggies,” I would have to recommend that any potential owner invest in an outboard scaler, such as DVDO’s VP50.

Proper viewing distance is key with any display, but more so with the TH-103PF9UK. The general rule of thumb is one-and-one-half times the diagonal of the screen is the closest you should sit to your display for the best performance. With a display as large as the TH-103PF9UK, that puts your first viewing position roughly 13 feet away. However, I found that when I increased the viewing distance to even 16 feet, the quality of the image improved across the board, provided you could darken your room. This said, from 16 feet away, the perceived size of 103-inches does decrease, making the 103-inch TH-103PF9UK seem more like a traditional 50 or 60-inch plasma at eight or so feet away.

I’m not going to beat around the bush: the Panasonic TH-103PF9UK might just be the ultimate luxury goods product. At roughly $70,000.00 retail, not including installation and consulting fees, it is, if nothing else, a statement on style, technology and beyond. Still, there are more cost-effective ways to get an image as large as the Panasonic TH-103PF9UK, as well as better video performance (think a projector and a screen), but I cannot imagine potential buyers concerning themselves so much with performance as much as with owning the one piece of home theater gear few will ever be able to possess. The Panasonic TH-103PF9UK is ultra-exotic without question. If you have the money and are looking to make a statement, at 103 inches of beaming HDTV, this set will do the trick.

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