Panasonic TC-P50G10 Plasma TV Review

December 20, 2009

Panasonic’s G10 series clearly shows that the company is serious about producing high end good quality plasma, with the same dedication showed for low entry products. While it may not exactly be a model for the budget conscious consumer, Panasonic TC-P50G10 is a plasma TV that has caught the eyes of many, even if it does not stand on the same level with the V10 series from the same manufacturer. It is clearly a 50 inch plasma TV gifted with exceptional black levels, beautiful colors, and a bunch of features guaranteed to steal your heart. If compared with the mid range series, S1, the model is a step up in Panasonic plasma evolution, as it has THX certification, and therefore, great colors with no tweaking necessary.

Pros

  • Exceptional blacks – similar to V10 series
  • THX guaranteed colors
  • Viera Cast extra features
  • Great primary color gamut

Cons

  • Color accuracy issues
  • Relatively expensive
  • Appearance of artefacts, such as flicker in 48Hz mode when watching 24 frames cadence content

Features at a Glance

  • Panel: NeoPDP
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Contrast ratio: 40,000:1
  • THX certification
  • AR Filter
  • 24p cinema mode
  • VIERA Cast
  • VIERA Link
  • VIERA Image Viewer with AVCHD playback
  • 600 Hz sub-field drive
  • 3 HDMI inputs

Panasonic TC-P50G10 has its rightful place in the company’s wide range of products, just a step down from the V10 series, but still better than the S1 series. While there are other plasma TV models on the market, it seems that, for Panasonic, it is more to gain from over achievement and battling for releasing better and better products. Let’s see why the G10 series is considered to be that good, even if not as good as the V10 series.

First, the THX certification is a leap forward from the S1 series. It must also be mentioned that this high end series has 24p cinema mode implemented on its models, along with Viera Cast advanced features, that make from Panasonic TC-P50G10 a buy to be taken into consideration.

We should also mention the fact that Panasonic TC-P50G10 grants you access to Amazon Video on Demand service, with the ability to preview movies before making a purchase. If compared with some low entry models from Panasonic, we will see that this one is also gifted with the new panel model, designed to be more eco friendly and a power saver, too.

Connectivity options

The connectivity options found on G10 are not near to V10’s capabilities, but they are not to throw away. One can count three HDMI inputs, two component-video inputs, one AV input with composite and S-Video, and one RF input for cable or antenna, plus a VGA input for PC. For a product selling at an expensive price, connectivity is only standard, with not much to comment on. A digital optical audio input, useful for hooking up your home theater audio system, completes the picture, along with an SD slot, for watching picture on full screen on your plasma television.

Appearance

G10 models may boast about their looks, although they cannot match the elegance of V10’s plasma TVs, granted by the one sheet glass design. Even so, the general feel of Panasonic TC-P50G10 is one of class and elegance, and it will look great no matter where you decide to install it. That elegant feel is granted by a thin frame encircling the screen edge, brought forward by a silver line fading to black, towards the inside of the screen. The model still has a fixed glossy rounded stand, that has more of a design function, than a practical one.

Performance

Only a few things mar Panasonic TC-P50G10’s exquisite performance. Talking about its good parts, we must mention the exceptional picture quality it displays, its black levels, which are the best, and the fact that it has THX certification, which means that the model has great color out of the box. The latter gives Panasonic TC-P50G10 the upper hand when faced with the S1 series. Still, on the negative part, the model still has some color accuracy issues, and the artefacts appearing in 48Hz mode, for 1080p/24 video content, such as flicker put a damp on this plasma’s reputation.

Black Levels and Shadow Detail

Exceptional black levels and superb shadow detail is what makes Panasonic TC-P50G10 one of the best plasma TVs on sale at the moment. Panasonic has managed somehow to snatch the crown from Pioneer’s cold dead hands, by providing its 2009 plasma models with incredible black levels, that cannot be beat, except for Pioneer’s Kuro, which is now long dead. The exceptional black levels Panasonic TC-P50G10 is capable of also grant a high degree of quality for shadow details, which are also close to Kuro’s. Black level performance is also one of the things that make Panasonic TC-P50G10 better than its counterparts in the S1 series. Video content watched on this model is enriched by a great touch of realism. While Panasonic TC-P50G10 is slightly cheaper and in a lower class than the company’s flagship TC-P50V10, it shares the same NeoPDP panel which gives it similar black levels. The bottom line is that you can save some money buying the TC-P50G10, without having to loose in the picture quality department.

Colors

While black levels are the best in Panasonic models, not the same thing can be said about the colors. The image quality, even if deemed exceptional, has to suffer because of the colors that are not as accurate as expected in a model sold at an expensive price. Panasonic seems to be aware of the problem, and the company has tried to overcome this drawback in its models, by including the THX certification with the newer series. Still, THX does not solve the color issues entirely. For instance, Panasonic TC-P50G10 has some problems with green and yellow in some scenes when rendered on the screen. This is more of an issue for the very picky, and not for the general public, but it serves as a base of comparison with other models. If using the THX mode the colors are quite accurate, however in non-THX modes one can not enjoy the same accuracy. With that in mind, we can say that Panasonic TC-P50G10 is outclassed in this department by LG LH90 LCD TVs and the high-end models from Sony and Samsung. Subjectively however, because of the exceptional black levels, many will find the colors on TC-P50G10 to be more vivid and more appealing.

Video Processing

As far as high definition content goes, Panasonic TC-P50G10 has no troubles with 1080p, or 1080i video content. Along with other fancy features, the model sports the 600Hz sub field drive, meant to diminish blur in fast moving scenes, like those happening when watching sports. We could say that Panasonic just overdid it with a trait like that, because plasma TVs rarely, if ever, face problems with motion blur, which is, mostly, a common problem for LCD TVs, and not plasma models. So, the 600Hz sub field drive is merely a buzzword, meant to attract new buyers, by boasting about inherent qualities of the product, and not exactly a practical feature.

These are the best parts of Panasonic TC-P50G10’s when video processing capabilities are involved. The not so good parts appear when you try to watch 1080p/24 video content. If you go for the 60Hz frequency, all works swell, but not the same thing happens when you try to run such content in 48Hz frequency, when flicker appears, making your watching experience not so worthy of the price you just paid for this gadget. We recommend you to stick to the 60Hz mode, for watching Blu-ray discs, if you want to avoid artefacts from ruining your watching experience. This is one issue that the superior V10 series does not encounter, so, if you are willing to pay more just for this, then you should leave G10 behind and go for a model from V10 range.

Anti-Reflective Screen Filter

Since the beginning, plasma TVs had to face the challenge of glare. This happens when you try to watch TV in a brightly lit room, the plasma technology having yet to overcome this issue. The colors become washed out, and even the blackest blacks have to suffer. The plasma manufacturers did not just wait for LCD TVs to score as better at this glare issue, and they have come with new ideas for anti-reflective screens in order to diminish the problem and make plasma TVs better under bright light conditions. The anti-reflective coating Panasonic has adorned its models with does a pretty decent job, but that is all about that can be said, as its results are not as good as those of some LCD TVs.

SDTV Performance

Even if plasma TVs are advertised for their capabilities of rendering high definition content with great results, there is still plenty of standard definition content around that make SD performance to count. Panasonic TC-P50G10 has some pretty decent SD capabilities, with good noise reduction features, but nothing spectacular. High-end plasma TVs produced by other manufacturers (e.g. Samsung, Sony, LG) seem to be doing a better job of displaying standard definition content, as artefacts, like jaggies, still appear on Panasonic TC-P50G10’s screen when watching such content.

Conclusion

All in all, Panasonic TC-P50G10 is a great plasma TV. Specialist and the general public alike decided in its favor, when comparing it with other similar products. Of course, that was happening before Panasonic decided to release the new V10 series, which is even more competitive than G10. If you have the money to spend on Panasonic TC-P50G10, it is more than a recommended buy because of its excellent black levels, and its great high definition performance.

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