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Panasonic Z1 the New Kuro? $6,000 Says Yes

Sometimes you just have to ask: who in their right mind will shell out $6k for a digital TV? Evidently, there's a market, and Panasonic's Z1 fits the hefty bill.

Last month Tom's Guide published an article concerning how plasma TVs are on the way out, and clearly it indeed looks that way, with Pioneer and Visio both discontinuing plasma technology completely. And even though plasma is considered the better technology over LCD HDTVs for movies, a tight market nevertheless dictates that the more expensive plasma option just isn't in the budget any longer. Still, many consumers shopping for new HDTVs disregard pricetags despite the gloomy economy, thus fling out dollar bills like some kind of organic leaf blower.

With that said, Panasonic's upcoming Z1 plasma TV sports an extremely heavy pricetag: $6000.00. However, with a 54-inch screen that's just 1-inch thick, the screen is practically the thinnest plasma out there. The TV offers a native contrast ratio of 40,000:1 and full HD 1080p resolution. The panel also utilizes Neo PDP panel technology for low power consumption as well as feature THX certification, Infinite Black contrast, a 600Hz Sub-field Drive, digital Cinema Color gamut, 1080 lines of motion resolution and 24 Hz Cinematic Playback. 

“The Z1 series continues Panasonic’s commitment to technological advances that are geared to provide the consumer with the best possible entertainment experience and value,” said Bob Perry, Executive Vice President, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “At Panasonic we have always prided ourselves on listening to our customers and wireless connectivity is a technology that constantly rated high on the consumer’s wish list. With that in mind and the recognition that design now plays a vital role in the development of television, our engineers developed the Z1 with its beautiful one-inch design and wireless capability.”

Additionally, the Z1's HDMI receiver is actually wireless, allowing consumers to hang the HDTV on the wall with just a dangling power cord. The receiver also transmits the uncompressed content using a 60GHz millimeter wave radio and beam steering technology, offering full HD content without deterioration in quality. The receiver also uses Panasonic's VIERA link to not only connect other compatible home entertainment components with a single remote, but allow viewers to go online and access VIERA CAST and Amazon's VOD service. As a bonus, an SD Memory Card reader is also built-in, allowing consumers to view digital still images or to record and playback H.264 HD video. 

To say Panasonic's Z1 features all the high-tech bells and whistles is a given. What's not a given is the consumer's desire to shell out $6,000--same price range as a Pioneer Kuro--for a 52-inch plasma HDTV. While there are a few buyers just itching to get their hands on this device when it becomes publicly available, it will be surprising to see if Panasonic makes a good chunk of change off this impressive HDTV. Are plasma TVs really on the way out? From the looks of Panasonic's Z1, the fading technology won't go down quietly.