Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ700A
4.0Overall Score
Price (RRP): $4,099 Manufacturer: Panasonic

Reviewer: Thomas Bartlett

Last year the world of true high definition panel TVs seemed to belong to LCD. Sure, there were a couple of 1920 x 1080 pixel plasmas available, but they cost well over $10,000. No longer, though. The Panasonic TH-50PZ700A plasma TV offers every one of those pixels, has a mighty 127cm of screen size, yet costs just $4,099.

Features

This TV has plenty of support for its true high definition plasma panel. First, there is a high definition digital TV tuner (plus an analog one – and good integration of the two). Second, there are three HDMI inputs, including one on the front panel, plus a good range of analog inputs.

Also nice is the Secure Digital card reader, especially if you have a digital camera or one of the rare HD camcorders that uses this card format.

The digital TV tuner implements all the digital features available, including an excellent EPG. The sound receives both a tweeter and a woofer for each channel, along with SRS TruSurround, and there’s an optical digital audio output so you can plug the TV into a home theatre receiver for even better sound.

Performance

One thing that deserves special mention with this TV: when you first switch it on and it goes into autoscan mode for TV stations, it does both digital and analog tuning at the same time. Very clever, and faster than the competition.

Initially the colours were horrid with this TV, but that was thanks to the default ‘Dynamic’ picture setting. A quick flick through the menus had this back to a proper ‘Standard’ setting, and suddenly they were glorious. The colour graduations were smooth, the colours themselves were rich where required, and natural in human faces. Simply lovely.