Sound Advice: Plasma TVs are here to stay

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Question: Any updates on the situation with Panasonic plasmas?

ANDREW B.

Cranberry

Answer: Panasonic has formally announced the company is ceasing production of plasma TVs, but the reports of plasma's death have been greatly exaggerated. At the time of Panasonic's announcement, Korean manufacturers LG and Samsung both made formal statements of support for plasma, stating they would continue to develop plasma TV and both will have new models for 2014. Thank you, LG and Samsung!

Since the Panasonic news started circulating, I have received a deluge of email about plasma, Panasonic and what to buy. It is too bad interest was not this high before, when it may have made a difference. I will write more about this in my next column, then I am going to put the topic aside for a while.

Question: My receiver does not have a phono input. Can I connect my record player to another input like CD or AUX?

CINDY MCCLOSKEY

St. Louis, Mo.

Answer: If your turntable has a built-in phono preamp, you can use an ordinary input. Just be sure your turntable is set to "Line" not "Phono." If your turntable does not have a phono preamp, you can get one for as little as $20. The Behringer PP400 is a good one for occasional listening.

Question: I work for an automobile dealership and we are considering a mirrorless camera for use in our business. The most important function will be video recording. I worked in the television broadcast industry as a reporter and editor, and I am used to extremely high quality video. The camera must also have a separate microphone input so we can use camera-mounted and wireless microphones. Still capabilities are very important, but secondary to the video functionality and quality.

You have written about the Panasonic and Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera in the past. Which do you think is the best fit for us, and do you recommend a specific model?

MELINDA ZOSH

Binghamton, N.Y.

Answer: If the best video is what you are after, get a Panasonic.

Both Olympus and Panasonic are quite candid (no pun intended) about the capabilities of their Micro Four Thirds cameras. Olympus is traditionally a still photography company and has stated that its goal is to make the best possible cameras for still photography, while retaining very good video capabilities.

Panasonic markets its cameras as hybrids with the tagline. "Now every photographer can also be a videographer." I've tested the Lumix DMC-G6 the past few months and the video quality is extraordinary. I take the memory card from the camera, put it in my TV's SD card slot and I am treated to video that looks like it was recorded by a television station. It is $648 with kit lens.

If you want cost-no-object, the Lumix DMC-GH3 ($998, camera body only) has unique video processing that is so good the camera is used in professional filmmaking. Those of you who do not need an external mic input can get a Lumix DMC-G5 with kit lens for $399 on Amazon, reduced from $699.

I mentioned this deal a few weeks ago and they sold out, but they are back in stock at the sale price. Get one now while you can!

Read product reviews by Don Lindich at soundadviceblog.com.


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