With 2013 CES in full swing, TV makers are showing off their upcoming plasma, LED and even OLED models. But if you don't want to wait (or pay high prices) for the upcoming models, now is an excellent time to pick up the 2012 model year sets that are still in stock at retailers: even top of the line sets that were previously hard to find at a discount.
For example, the highest performance TV of 2012 was Panasonic's VT50 series of plasma HDTVs. Check out how it fared in 2012 HDTV shootout where my opinion on the matter was corroborated by dozens of other attendees to this event. David Katzmeier at CNET and other respected reviewers and publications agree. When considering color accuracy, black levels, contrast and overall picture quality, The 65-inch TC-P65VT50 took home top honors as the best TV in 2012.
But as the top-rated TV, the VT50 is not often discounted. Want the best, you'll have to pay the list price ($2499 for the 55-inch model, $3699 for the 65-inch). But nowAmazon is offering a rare discount on the VT50 series. The 55-inch TC-P55VT50 is available for $1999, and the 65-inch TC-P65VT50 is available for $2899. Both prices include free shipping as well as Amazon's 14-day price match policy. Check them out here (must put TVs in your cart in order to see current price):
The deal is actually even a bit better than that as both sets qualify for Amazon's new 2% back rewards program. About a month after you order, you'll receive an Amazon credit of 2% of the cost of the TV, good toward virtually anything Amazon sells. So that's a $40 bonus for the 55-inch set or about $58 back on the 65-incher.
So what makes the VT50 series so special? Black levels to die for (thanks to enhancements in Panasonic's pre-discharge plasma technology and louvred screen filter). The set also features excellent color accuracy and saturation and outstanding motion resolution. Whether you're watching sports, reality TV or movies, you'll love the way the VT50 looks. As a movie buff myself, I particularly like the 96Hz Cinematic Playback mode. This allows you to view 24p Blu-ray Discs in their native 24p mode with no 3:2 pulldown processing or motion interpolation applied.
Another perk on the VT50 series is that the integrated louvred screen filter is particularly good at rejecting and absorbing ambient light. So even if your room is a little bright, you'll be able to pick out fine shadow details and still see an inky black background when the content provides that.
In terms of features, the VT50 series is a full-fledged "Smart TV," offering access to Panasonic's Viera Connect platform. This gives you direct access to Netflix streaming, Amazon VOD, VUDU, YouTube, Pandora, Hulu+ and a wide selection of additional streaming services and apps. And you won't need a network cable as the VT50 comes with wireless WiFi networking built in.
The VT50 also offers active 3D display technology, so it maintains its full 1080p resolution even in 3D mode (unlike passive 3D sets). This means that the glasses are more expensive than passive sets (Panasonic's 2012 RF 3D glasses sell for about $60/pair), but because this set adheres to the new universal RF standard for 3D glasses, you can also use Samsung's much less expensive 3D glasses for under $20/pair.
Amazon has no information as to how long this sale price will last so we'd suggest snagging one while the price is right.