Caught a pair of recent articles on this behemoth announced by Panasonic this summer.
(Skip below articles for my analysis!)
and from http://dvice.com/archives/2009/09/panasonics-85-i.php
Large plasmas are coming down in price, but if you want to go big--and I mean really big--you still have to pay dearly. Set to hit next month, the $30,000 TH-85PF12U is billed by Panasonic as the industry's first 85-inch, full-HD, 1080p plasma. It's the size of four 42-inch plasmas stitched together. Panasonic says that thanks to its newly developed Neo plasma display panel technology, "even with effective wide-screen dimensions of 74.4 inches by 41.8 inches, the TH-85PF12U is significantly thinner and lighter than past plasmas, with a main body depth of 3.9 inches and an overall weight of approximately 260 pounds." Typically, extra-large plasmas just haven't cut it in terms of picture quality, but this model sounds--or rather, looks--more promising. Panasonic's NeoPDP technology has proven, at least in smaller Panasonic plasmas, to produce a great picture while using much less energy. As for the $30,000 price tag, all we can say is that if you're not a multimillionaire with cash to burn, wait a few years. You'll probably be able to pick this baby up for 15 grand soon enough.
Sure, there have been much bigger displays, even a 150-inch monster, but not at such a respectable 85-inch size or relatively cheap $30,000 price. Of course, that's way out of reach for most of us, but we can remember 10 years ago when a 42-inch 720p monitor cost $30,000, so let the past be prologue — affordable huge screens like this can't be far behind. This model TH-85PF12U brings the kind of specs you'd expect, rocking the 1080p at a depth of 3.9 inches. Make sure you get a hefty couple of buddies to help you schlep this thing into your home theater because it weighs 260 pounds. And you'll have to have a space that's 74 inches wide to accommodate it. But just look at it — it's the perfect-sized TV. Now wait a couple of years for the perfect price to match.
Given how the ideal distance for viewing on a 55" screen is about 10 feet, I would imagine you'll need to sit about 20+ feet away from the set, to view it without needing to bob your head back and forth.
It's sort of funny how "tech fanboy" type sites (CNET, DVICE) are the ones reporting on this, but I'll bet corporations, organizations (churches, sports) and educational facilities (schools, colleges) are the real target audience for such a monster display.
I can't imagine a lot of homes having 20-foot viewing length rooms. Even if the price was $3k (a tenth of the asking price), would you really want it? How DVICE can call this the "perfect sized" television is beyond me. I have a hard time convincing people that 42" is not "big enough" (50-60 is best size for most living rooms), so how this DVICE writer expects a person to buy something double sized is beyond me. Sorry fella, that's just stupid talk.
I also question the economics of "it came down in price last time, and it will again". Sorry, that's not how it always works. Premium items always carry premium mark-ups. You won't find 85" sets in Walmart anytime soon.