Panasonic Viera TC-P54G25 1080p Plasma TV

Model: Panasonic TC-P54G25
Description: 54" Full 1080P HD Plasma TV
Reviewer: Robert Wiley
Date: Fall 2010

Panasonic TC-P54G25 Review
This shot from the Fifth Element shows the unusually high brightness and color saturation of the Panasonic G25 series.

The TC-P54G25 is Panasonic's next to highest end offering for 2010. The only features lacking in this model from the highest end VT25 series is 3D capability. I does contain the new Skype enabled feature, and has THX certifications for picture calibrations and settings. So the big question with this model is how is stacks up against some of the new LCD/LED TVs as the 54" category is very rare with plasma TVs.

Test and Optimum Viewing Distance: 12 feet

Calibration Notes: We found the 54G25 on the difficult end of the calibration spectrum of TVs. After tuning the panel light to the medium setting, we were able to dial it in relatively close to D6500k. But there is a great degree of inconsistency with this panel due to powerful lighting and extra saturation of colors. In the end, a medium panel light reduced contrast too much, so we did the extra work to calibrate with a high setting. It was an arduous task.

Panansonic VT25 Series Post-Calibration Picture Settings
Picture Mode: Custom
Contrast +85
Brightness +72
Color +48
Tint 0
Sharpness 0
Color Temp WARM2
For Complete Panasonic TC-P54G25 Picture Settings & Calibration Results Click Here

We did not find the THX settings useful as a picture option as they are much to dark for the average room. There are plenty of preset picture mode options: THX, Game, Custom, Vivid, Standard. We believe our calibrated picture settings above will serve you better than any of these. The THX options serves as the movie mode option but we found it too dark and weak.

Panasonic TC-P54G25 Review
This shot from The Fifth Element shows some over saturation of color and extra light throughput in the characters forehead.

Processor Testing: There was great deal of background noise with both HD and standard definition content with this plasma TV. Smooth is not a word I would choose to describe the picture presentation. There are significant side to side judder effects when the scene pans. Therefore, overall we were disappointed with the processor video boards contained in the G25.

Picture Quality and Performance: There is no doubt that if you want super saturated colors, and a bright picture, the G25 needs to be considered in your choices even with sub par processing. The colors are extremely vibrant if not oversaturated. The presentation varies greatly by source material, but overall this plasma offering is just not my cup of tea. I prefer more realism and a smoother, film-like image. With some movies and content it looks wonderful. But some material just looks completely overdone. With standard definition processing we were impressed with how vivid colors were displayed and darker scenes show up very well due to the excessively powerful panel light throughput. However, motion artifacts can be distracting and there is considerable flicker present. The picture is not what I would call "tight."

Panasonic TC-P54G25 Review
This standard definition shot from The Three Amigoes shows good picture depth and side and viewing along with excellent brightness through the scene. The graininess is the only problem.

Side angle viewing was nearly perfect as the plasma panel light reaches the viewer with no interuption. There was some mapping and moire' problems evident during testing which will also be evident when viewing material such as football games grids or patterns on neck ties.

Features: Internet connectivity is a major feature of this TV. Panasonic calls the Internet feature Viera Cast, Options are limited in our opinion and currently they include to Pandora, Bloomberg, Amazon Video on Demand, Skype, and Picasa. Fox Sports and twitter are supposedly coming soon. Notably, there is no Netflix feature. Skype is a highlight. When we hooked up the Internet options on the G25 there had already been a software update, so it's good that Panasonic is actively supporting the Internet options feature.

Panasonic TC-P54G25 Review
Internet options on the G25 are expanding soon.

Panasonic TC-P54G25 Review
You Tube is one solid option as pictured here.

The Viera Link feature is older but allows for more seamless compatibility with other Panasonic devices. The Viera SD card slot image viewer allows pictures and home videos to be displayed.

There is an overscan option new to the 2010 models called HD Size. Setting 1 scans and displays 95% of the input image. Setting 2 scans 100%. Set to HD size 1 if noise is generated on the edges of the screen. Normal aspect ratio features are controlled by the format button on the remote control, do an adequate job of scaling and include: Full, Just, 4:3, Zoom.

To save energy the TV automatically turns off after 10 minutes if it can not detect a live input.

Aesthetic Considerations: Panasonic answered "not present" in the looks and aesthetics contest for 2010. This years TV aesthetics and almost all other the 2010 models look the same even with their top end entries. The G25's appearance hearkens back to yesteryear. The bezel framing is black gloss plastic at 2" on top and 2.25" on the sides giving the TV a large frame with no real design quality. The dark teal color of the screen (when off) contrasts with the black gloss frame in an unappealing manner. Panel depth at 3.5" also ignores the trend toward thin and sleek.

Panasonic TC-P54G25 Review
Left: We were not fans of the unattractive contrast between the wide 2.25" bezel and the dark teal green screen on the G25
Right: Side angle view of the Panasonic G25 inputs

Video Aspect Ratio Sizing: The Format button on the remote controls this function with options: Just, 4:3, Zoom, Full, H-Full.

Inputs: About everything: 4 HDMI, 2 Component, 1 15pin PC, digital SD card slot, Ethernet connection for Internet, RS232.

Remote Control/Menu Funtionality: The menu is too unfriendly for this price level. One has too make an adjustment and go back to the main menu and then back to picture settings again. It's cumbersome to start over after each picture setting. Another slight annoyance is that the TV does not sense connected input cables so one has to scroll through from scratch to select which input. Many TVs today sense which input is hot and give you an option for just those. The remote control is gray, plastic, unappealing with a plastic white arrow key button top center. The backlighting when needed is all red light. The feel of the depressed buttons is also cheap. Can you tell I wasn't a fan of the remote for this level of TV?

Panasonic TC-P54G25 Review

Audio Output: The Panasonic 54G25 includes 3 X 10W speakers in total. There is no voice enhanced feature option for sound though I found the volume to be sufficient. Sound quality is good, especially with music, but I would recommend every TV include a voice enhanced option as so much broadcast and film based material these days needs it. The A-I sound option equalizes sound as a compressor and is useful for watching TV by toning down volume increases in those annoying ads.

As we go to press with this review the TC-P54G25 sells for around $1479 from an online authorized dealer. There are no other 54" plasma TVs other than Panasonic this year. So I would throw some tough LCD competition at this plasma offering with the Samsung LN55C650. It costs a little more but has some great contrast and pop and Internet options. It's amazing how similar some of the better LCDs have progressed toward plasma. And Panasonic has increased brightness and color saturation on their plasma offerings to make them appear more like LCDs. Also take a gander at the LG 55LE5500.

Rating scale from 70 (denoting poorest quality) to 100 (signifying the very best quality). Picture quality is double-weighted in the Overall Rating Score calculation.


Review Equipment Used: Sony Blu Ray BDP-S1 High Definition DVD player, Sony DVP-S50 DVD player, Sencore Color Pro 5000, Sencore Auto Cal Pro, Sencore signal generator, SpectreCal X-rite Pro Meter Reader, Cal Man Software.

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