Panasonic Viera TC-P50G10 Plasma Review

 

Model: Panasonic Viera TC-P50G10
Description: 50" Full 1080P HD Plasma TV
Reviewer: Jack Burden
Date: Fall 2009

Panasonic TC-P50G10 Review

Test and Optimum Viewing Distance: 13 feet

Calibration Notes: The Panasonic TC-P50G10 is more limited than a TV of this price point should be in calibration controls. There are no white balance adjustments available on the menu without entering the ervice menu. The stock THX setting that this plasma contains is not far off the D65 target, but measured too low in brightness. Since the THX settings are not adjustable we started with the Custom Picture Setting. It was relatively easy given the limited options to dial the G10 in to D6500. Follow these picture settings to get there. These settings are best to view the TV in a controlled light environment fairly dark room:

Picture Mode Custom Color Mgmt: OFF
Color Temp Warm2 x.v.Color: OFF
Brightness +74 C.A.T.S.: OFF
Contrast +75 Video NR: Weak
Color +45 Block NR: Off
Tint -2 Misquito NR: Off
Sharpness +15 Black Level: Light
    3:2 Pulldown: Off
    HD Size: 2

Up conversion from 480i: 480i resolution is a great test of a TVs upconversion and processing chip sets. The signal may be likened to what you would see with your normal digital cable or satellite signal. The picture quality from 480i isnt bad, it's slightly soft and shows some graininess. Color rendition is realistic and certainly on the subdued side. Dark shadow detail is excellent, while black levels are lacking depth and punch. Blacks can appear dark gray and hazy with 480i signals input. The processing chip sets in Panasonic TVs have been quite good for a long time but I feel like the company has stagnated here for some time and are not progressing any further in this area.

Panasonic TC-P50G10 Review
Good shots from the 480i DVD of Risky Business. Black levels were not strong with this input signal.

Panasonic TC-P50G10 Review

1080p HD Picture Quality: Black levels are deep and strong with an HD signal input through HDMI. While not the best we've seen lately, they lose the dark gray haziness that the G10 displays with a 480i signal. Color is plenty saturated and dark shadow detail remains excellent.

Panasonic TC-P50G10 Review
This shot from the Blu Ray version of Black Hawk Down displays the heightened contrast and black levels with HD content.

Black Level/Contrast: As mentioned above, black levels appear sufficient though not excellent with and HD signal while appearing weak with a 480i input source. This result concurs with our post calibration ANSI checkerboard contrast test which held blacks at .11 average luminance. Final contrast measurement was 1202:1 which would be an excellent result for an LCD but is a rather weak result for a plasma TV. The TVs strength lies in its white brightness which measured an average luminance of 30.50. This result nears LCD TVs in brightness and points to Panasonic's desire to compete with LCD TVs in this area.

Panasonic TC-P50G10 Review

Dark Shadow Detail: Due to the high brightness of this plasma dark shadow detail is excellent.

Panasonic TC-P50G10 Review
This scene from the HD version of Rocky displays good shadow detail while somewhat hazy blacks.

Panasonic TC-P50G10 Review
This scene from the 480i version of Stepmom displays hazy blacks with this signal source.

Color Rendition/Color Accuracy: Color rendition is more subdued and realistic than the large majority of TVs on the market – both LCD and plasma. At times color information appears to lack pop, but this is more with 480i signal source content. Colors are much more saturated with HD content.

Panasonic TC-P50G10 Review
Colors are plenty saturated with an HD signal source as this one from the Blu Ray Version of The Fifth Element.

Viewing Angle/Off Axis Viewing: Perfect off angle viewing.

Motion Lag: No motion lag.

False Contouring/ Mapping: Through testing of various dark scenes we noted no false contouring and mapping – an excellent result.

Panasonic TC-P50G10 Review
There was no mapping or banding effects in dark scenes as evidence in this shot from Tomorrow Never Dies.

Aesthetic Considerations: I really like the thin gloss frame with bevel rounded edges. The framing bezel is just a touch over 1.5" - Great! The graduated silver bar in the bottom of the frame adds a nice 3-dimensional touch. The stand does not swivel side to side (Panasonic needs to get to work on that option). Total depth of the 50G10 has increased from previous models to about 4 inches.

Video Aspect Ratio Sizing: The Format button on the remote controls this function with options: Just, 4:3, Zoom, Full, H-Full. Panasonic's Just aspect ratio setting does a great job of displaying an algorithmically balanced picture image.

Inputs: 3 HDMI, 2 Component, 1 15pin PC, digital SD card slot. Pretty much everything you need.

Remote Control/Menu Functionality: The menu is very simple and straightforward but with ample options except white balance controls. Picture settings are discrete per input which is always a plus. The remote is functional, easy to use and rather ugly.

Panasonic TC-P50G10 Review

Audio Output: There is no voice enhanced feature option for sound though I found the volume to be sufficient. Sound is a little muddy and I would recommend every TV include a voice enhanced option as so much broadcast material these days needs it. Speakers are 10W X 10W with a 15W subwoofer. 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.

Features: The Viera Cast feature may be useful in the future as it connects to Panasonic's version of web TV like YouTube, Picassa, Bloomberg News, The Weather Channel, Amazon Video On-Demand and Panasonic's Concierge Service. While not very useful now, these connection features are nascent and may be important later. The Viera Link feature allows the user to control other viera link capable outboard equipment. The TV comes with a stock THX setting that puts the TV very close to D6500 right out of the box. The G10 has some decent anti glare qualities.

Power consumption for this TV is 589 Watts.

Prices for TC-P50G10 have recently dropped to very competitive levels at around $1450. Comparing the value to high end LCD TVs and the entire TV spectrum puts it in an excellent value category. The LG 50PS80 trumps it in feature set while similarly priced. The Samsung PN50B550 is priced just less while having a superior picture quality (though for darker room environments). This Panasonic offers an unusually bright picture for a plasma television. Black levels are somewhat compromised with normal television signals and contrast is competitive though not great for a plasma TV. Aesthetics are a highlight.

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Rating scale from 70 (denoting poorest quality) to 100 (signifying the very best quality). A rating in the 60s for any particular category of a product review indicates a serious defect which causes the product not to operate properly. 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.

This review format and all of the headings, sub headings and paragraph titles are part of a copyrighted process. Any unauthorized reproduction or use, either in full or in part, of this product review format is expressly prohibited.



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