A professionally calibrated Samsung 52a650 or 750 LCD will give you just as good a picture and for a lot less $.
hardly... The Pioneer Elites blow away all others at this time.
The question is if you are a critical enough viewer to enjoy the better PQ verses the insane amount of money Pioneer charges. The new Elites give an incredible picture (and last years models were no slouch). But, to see the difference you have to have a dark room, the inky blacks are useless if your room is well lit.
Following rumors from different industry sources, Pioneer officially announced today it plans to stop manufacturing plasma display panels. However, the Japanese electronics maker may continue to sell plasma HDTVs built with panels provided by other manufacturers.
We have judged that maintaining the cost competitiveness of plasma display panels at projected sales volumes will be difficult going forward. Accordingly, we have decided to terminate in-house plasma display panel production and to procure these panels externally, after panel production for our next series of models is complete.
The company also said that plasma television sales have been falling behind those for liquid crystal displays (LCD), and for that reason the company has decided to team up with another Japanese manufacturer, Sharp, to create a new series of Pioneer LCD televisions:
Pioneer will be supplied by Sharp with LCD TVs based on its superior technologies. We will launch these LCD TVs first in Europe this fall and steadily expand our lineup of LCD TVs. Plans also call for engineers from Pioneer and Sharp to team up to develop LCD TVs that carry on the legacy of the Pioneer “KURO” series in terms of high picture and sound quality. This project will give Pioneer access to Sharp’s extensive expertise in LCD TVs, while promoting joint development of digital tuners, platforms and technologies for realizing high picture quality. The goal is to develop value-added products and raise the efficiency of development activities at both companies.
Talk to a professional..... then get back with me on that.
Black level: The superiority of the 5020FD's depth of black was visible everywhere, but was most obvious in dark scenes, such as when Will Smith runs over the zombies on the end of the pier. The black areas like the silhouette of his decoy, the shadows under the bridge, and the paint of his SUV appeared darker than any on the other sets in the room. Last year's Pioneer took second place in the darkness stakes, followed by the Panasonic plasma and finally the Samsung LCD. Of course, the Samsung and especially the Panasonic are capable of producing black levels deep enough to satisfy most contrast-hungry videophiles, and the Pioneer's extra depth was most obvious in a side-by-side comparison. Still, when the PDP-5020FD's black frame appeared just a couple hairs lighter than the black screen itself, we found our eyes gravitating toward its picture in preference to the others.
The Pioneer and Panasonic plasmas got darker by a couple of hairs, although the Samsung solidly beat the two Sonys. Of course, as with all LCDs, those deep blacks became brighter when seen from off angle (see below).
Details in shadows were quite good, although not perfect. During a shot when Flint stares into the camera after sneaking into his daughter's room, for instance, we couldn't quite make out the print on the wallpaper behind him, and the shaded half of his face looked indistinct compared with the reference Pioneer, although still more natural than any of the other displays. Cranking brightness brought back the details but destroyed black levels, and the Samsung wasn't crushing black. Its gamma was just a bit shallow in dark areas, even at the most aggressive +3 (our preferred setting).
TV Reviews: LCD, HDTV, Flat Screen & Plasma Televisions & more - CNET
They did not like the fact that the NON elite version removed the color controls this year: Pioneer Kuro PDP-5020FD Flat-panel TV reviews - CNET Reviews
Note they did not rate the samsung as high Samsung LN52A650 Flat-panel TV reviews - CNET Reviews
you are simply paying for the word elite or Kuro on the set now.These guys are watching TVs that are not calibrated. They are adjusting the settings which is not the same thing. I say again to the op, you will not be disappointed in the 650. If someone can tell a 2k difference in this and the pioneer, I don't see it. Sorry