Panasonic TC-P54Z1 -Thin, Beautiful and Fabulous

HD GURU Exclusive First Review

October 21st, 2009 · 45 Comments · News, Plasma, Review

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(October 21, 2009) Panasonic recently released its top of the line plasma model, the 54” TC-P54Z1. It builds on the high performance of the V10 series models by shrinking the depth to just 1 inch, adding an outboard media center, wireless 1080p connectivity and removable “elephant ear” side speakers.

The Z1’s panel takes a cue from Pioneer’s Kuro by eliminating the top sheet of glass from the panel and bonding a very effective anti-reflective coating directly to the top glass, thus eliminating any internal reflections between the top two sheets of glass found on all other plasma panels.

A brushed aluminum-finished bezel flanked by black left/right vertical inserts distinguishes the Z1 from the rest of Panasonic’s 2009 plasma lineup. The TC-P54Z1 package consists of a media receiver, wireless transmitter module, wireless receiver module, a pair of speakers with associated brackets, a table stand and all connecting cables.

Because of the large number of parts, unpacking and setting up the Z1 consumed about an hour, far longer than any other HDTV tested to date. Most flat screens simply require the assembly and mounting of the table stand. Overall, the assembly went very smoothly and the complete system functioned properly immediately thereafter.

The monitor section has but one HDMI input plus a mini HDMI jack for connection to the wireless HD receiver. As an experiment, we connected a source component directly to the HDMI input, but were unable to get a signal to appear on the screen; hardly surprising considering that all switching, functions and user controls reside in the media center box rather than in the display.  Outboarding the switching and controls allowed Panasonic’s engineers to shrink the monitor’s depth to just an inch— thinner than Samsung’s LED LCD HDTVs.

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The media receiver includes a built-in HDTV over-the-air tuner as well as an Ethernet connection for Panasonic’s Viera Cast internet content providers that include Picasa (photo uploads and downloads), YouTube, Amazon Videos and Bloomberg News. There are four HDMI (3 rear/1 front) and two component video inputs, as well as two composite video/S, a 15 pin sub-D for a PC (front) and RS-232 serial connector (for remote control systems such as Crestron). Also included is a front SD card slot for on-screen digital photo viewing. The front inputs are located under a swing down door (see photo).

The wireless transmitter and a mini “DC” terminal connector attach to the media receiver box via an HDMI cable (see photo).

The accompanying wireless receiver attaches to the back of the monitor panel by two screws and connects via an HDMI cable and another “DC” (Display unit Connector).

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The receiver adds about an inch to the overall depth when attached to the back of the display. However we don’t see any reason why one couldn’t mount it beneath the screen anPana-rear-415n.

The user interface is similar to the one used on the V10 series (review link). The Z1 has the same features including Digital Cinema Color, a user control for adjusting white balance, 96 Hz display for 24 Hz sources (Blu-ray discs and select DirecTV HD movies) and THX certified viewing mode.

The wireless system, designed by Sibeam (link), sends source signals (up to 1080p) a distance of up to 30 feet from the transmitter to the receiver. Panasonic recommends pointing the transmitter module towards the receiver attached to the monitor.

Unlike competing systems, such as the one Sony offers with its XBR10, the Sibeam 60 GHz (gigahertz) system claims to work within an enclosed cabinet. We put it to the test by placing the transmitter within a Stormcase type thick plastic PC case and latching it closed. From a test distance of 12 feet, the system worked flawlessly, delivering perfect 1080p images to the screen!

The ability to connect wirelessly is a real boon to potential purchasers living in residences with plaster or concrete walls. Now you’ll only just an electric outlet at the panel to wall mount the Z1.

Performance

Primary Color points (red, green, blue) measured in the THX mode were found to be close, but not quite at the HDTV rec. 709 standard. The results are as follows with 709 standard in parentheses R= x.629, y.332 (x.64, y.33) G= x.313 y=.591 (x.30, y.60) B= x.152, y.065 (x.15, y.06).

The Z1 is capable of producing intensely bright images. The factory “Vivid” mode designed for showrooms and not recommend for home use came in at a blazing 80.35 ft lamberts. In the THX factory setting, the level measured 33 ft. lamberts, a brightness perfectly suited for low ambient lighting levels found in many home TV viewing rooms. In the calibrated “Custom” mode, the image brightness read 40.46 ft lamberts, a level that is more than adequate for any normal day ambient room light conditions.

The Z1 produces very deep black levels. Using our new Konica Minolta LS-100 meter we obtained a minimum black of just .009 ft lamberts, a number that beats most LCD displays and produced a very deep shade of black. How does this compare to the Pioneer Kuro Pro-141FD? The now discontinued Pioneer still beats it, coming in below the accuracy of the meter, which is at or below .003 ft. lamberts (according to Konica Minolta). We did not have an opportunity to compare the Z1’s reading with a V10, however we plan to do so in the near future and will update the review accordingly.

Motion resolution measured a full 1080 lines without the artificial video look seen on all 120/240Hz LCDs tested to date (see the V10 review for more on this phenomena).

Using the HQV standard and high def test discs, we checked out the media box’s signal processing. The Z1 aced the HD and SD deinterlace and 3:2 pulldown tests but fell short on the jaggies tests, smoothing just two of the three moving lines with both standard and high definition tests. According to a Panasonic spokesman, the media box uses the same signal processing as the V10 plasma models, creating a mystery as to why we obtained different results (the V10 passes all the tests).

Gray scale in THX mode measured close to the 6500K standard out of the box with a reading of 6325K at 80 IRE and 6016K at 20 IRE in the Warm 2 color temperature mode. In custom mode, before calibration (in Warm 2) measurements were 6159K at 80 IRE and 5827K at 20 IRE. Post calibration resulted in near perfect readings of 6621K at 80 IRE and 6546K at 20 IRE.

The side speakers are a vast improvement over the downward firing speakers found in Panasonic’s V10 series models and many competitors’ < 2” thin LCDs. They provide far better overall range and clear high frequencies. They can also play really loud without audible distortion.

Energy consumption using the IEC standard test disc measured 192 watts in the THX mode and 240 watts in the calibrated “Custom” mode, the same measurement as the 54” TC-P54V10. The media box with the wireless transmitter uses 30 watts.

Viewing

With the user controls tweaked, we sampled HD and SD content using source material from Verizon FIOS, DirecTV and HD movies from Blu-ray discs via Panasonic’s DMP-BD80.  The deep black level and bright whites consistently produced images with punch; undoubtedly due to the real world high contrast ratio the Z1 is capable of producing. Although the Z1 didn’t ace the HQV jaggies tests, we noticed no problems with any source material we threw at it.

The Sibeam wireless circuitry worked flawlessly and transparently, never calling attention to the fact that no physical connection existed between the media box and the monitor.   As economies of scale kick in, the price delta for this wireless solution will eventually diminish to where the need for any long HDMI cables between the display and the source may be totally eliminated.

The TC-P54Z1 currently retails for $5499.99 making it $2100 more expensive than the TC-P54V10 with internal tuner and inputs.

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Conclusion

The TC-P54Z1’s thin profile, outstanding color, contrast and deep black levels coupled with its perfect motion resolution without associated artifacts seen with 120Hz/240Hz LCDs, combined with plasma’s inherent ability to provide superior off-axis images, place the TC-P54Z1 at the top of the HDTV market. While pricey, if your viewing environment’s construction prevents you from wall mounting a flat panel, the additional cost may be justified.  The HD Guru awards the Panasonic TC-P54Z1 ♥♥♥♥♥ our highest rating.

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45 Comments so far ↓

  • Finan

    Dear Guru,

    Just want to share update price
    Panasonic TC-P54Z1 54″ Plasma 1080P
    Buy new: $1,473.35 on amazon

  • Siteni Ekle

    The wireless transmitter and a mini “DC” terminal connector attach to the media receiver box via an HDMI cable (see photo). wouww? are you read?

  • Peter

    “With regards to very high ambient light levels, no display will provide great performance in extremely bright rooms”

    Well yes and no. With an reflective screen you wont see a thing in a bright room. With a matte screen you will see all – perhaps not the finest details in the black ( the phycics of your pupile will prevent you from this ) – but you will have a clear undisturbed picture.

    In dark rooms – any lamp or candlelight will be part of the picture – only solution is a completely dar room, which is not realy recomendable.

    Lit just one little lamp and you cant see the last part of the grayscale any way – the eyes pupile will prevent you from seeing this.

    Regarding viewving angle – a small price to pay for the solution of a big problem – reflections !

  • Peter

    “With regards to very high ambient light levels, no display will provide great performance in extremely bright rooms”

    Well yes and no. With an reflective screen you wont see a thing in a bright room. Withe a matte screen you will see all – perhaps not the finest details in the black – but you will have a clear undisturbed picture.

    In dark rooms – any lamp or candlelight will be part of the picture – only solution is a completely dar room, which is not realy recomendable.

    Lit just one little lamp and you cant see the last part of the grayscale any way – the eyes pupile will prevent you from seeing this.

    Regarding viewving angle – a small price to pay for the solution of a big problem – reflections !

  • travesti

    The wireless transmitter and a mini “DC” terminal connector attach to the media receiver box via an HDMI cable (see photo). wouww? are you read?

  • Ruben Herrera

    Guys,

    My new TC-P54Z1 has an “image retention” issue. I was playing GOW Collection on my PS3 and the “life bar” is burn it on the screen now. I’m afraid is because I don’t have the right settings on it, maybe the contrast or brightness is too high, I was playing using the “game” mode. I already ran the scrolling bar option a couple of times but no go. Please your help will be highly appreciated; I need the right calibration settings for my TV in roder to avoid further issues. Thanks and happy New Year!

  • Ruben Herrera

    Dear HD Guru,

    I just bought the Panny TC-P54Z1, can you please tell us the settings you used in order to calibrate it?

    Thanks in advance guys!

  • Jimbo

    Hi Guys

    Just bought this set and thought I would provide some feedback should that help.

    Have used this set for about 2 weeks now and the performance is top notch. There are no issues with the wireless transmitter in terms of loss in picture quality versus using the typical wired setup. There are no lag issues – either in terms of video/audio (regardless of routing through a receiver or just the TV’s own speakers) or playing games (no noticeable lag between input and action occurring on screen).

    As some on this thread have questioned, it really isn’t suited to a room with lots of light. But then again that gets into the LCD vs. Plasma debate which I don’t really want to get into.

    Skin tones look the best I have seen, and when watching any sort of HD content it basically is like looking through a window.

    I agree that the black bars down the side seem like an odd design choice. Again, if you are in a bright room they can get distracting, however, once calibrated the black levels produced on the set are very close to the side bars. Therefore, once you become locked into the content you’re viewing you forget about these side strips.

    Bottom line – if you can place it in a dark enough room and can wall mount the tv then this set will provide the most natural looking picture currently available, with a form factor that gets attention even when the set is off. The wireless HD is a nice feature and allows one to keep all cables and hardware to one side, with only the TV on display. Perhaps in the future the transmitter and receiver will be able to be in built.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers

  • havok2022

    Guru or anyone else that has spent time with this set.

    Samsung released a wireless HDMI set a year or two previous. It had severe sync issues with paired with an audio system or ran through an AV receiver. Being that I also enjoy audio, has anyone noticed any delay between video and audio when routing this through a receiver?

  • sd

    For all you guys wanting the new Panny 54Z1; I just saw it advertising for 4239.00 and free shipping at onecall.com. WOW.

    I stumbled across this site looking for the absolute longest extended swing arm I could find for a wall mount TV, and noticed they sell plasmas. I am looking for one that extends out 24-30″ to exceed the 52.5″ wide opening that is 24″ deep on my custom enclosure built with the house. It may not exist. If anyone knows of a place, please advise. Thanks.

    They have some killer pricing on G10′s and B860′s as well. 1699 for the 54G10 and 1577 for the B860 and free shipping. They are giving away free panny Blu-rays with some TV’s as well. Not trying to advertise for them but we are all looking for a great deal. I went through Amazon on my purchase.

    Just thought I would throw that out there as I see some of you are looking for that TV, and for that price 4239, 1200 off, is hard to believe so early of a release. Still too much to spend for a TV that appears to have no better picture quality than the 54V10 at 2399.

  • sd

    The Samsung B860 plasma has everything one needs regarding PQ, brightness, deep rich colors, contrast ratio, etc ,etc and it is 1.2″ thick. I own both the Panasonic 54G10 and the Sammy 50 B860. The G10 is an absolute fantastic set, but I have to say, the B860 plasma does appear to have better everything. Even on standard settings( or any setting for that matter) of both sets, the B860 simply looks better and that is only the picture I speak of. In terms of the actual cosmetics and connectivity, the 860B beats it there as well. Both are incredible sets but the B860 plasma can be in a bright room without any issues unlike the G10. I am a Panasonic fan and wanted it to beat the B860, but next to each in my house for comparison, the B860 does edge out the G10. The B860′s picture right out of the box is flawless and needs no adjusting. The G10 needed adjustments to the custom setting to even come close to the out of box standard setting on the B860. The standard def on the B860 really is superior to the G10, the HD content is a noticeable difference, but not much. The G10 does appear to have deeper black levels than the B860 in dark scenes , but overall PQ the B860 is the winner.

    The one area the G10 does beat the B860 is in audio, and it beats it bigtime, but anyone buying these sets will connect them to a 5.1 or 7.1 system anyway.

  • Sam Bass

    Thank you Mr.Stone, for your observation that actual/needs/use might be as important as preferences……..but it seems Etype2 has quite a LAG in his learning curve/information flow if he thinks he is current/correct about his phosphor claims.
    Mr. Guru,

    Thanks for the opportunity.

    Sam

  • Bob Stone

    One additional comment for etype2.

    What reasoning, sources, etc leads you to believe that the poor viewing angles of LCDs has been overcome?

    I see no evidence of that. Most current reviews of LCDs often mention that if a person moves just one seat cushion away from the ideal one – the picture quality drops.

    To my mind, the most damning quality of an LCD HDTV are their poor viewing angles

  • Bob Stone

    I’ve read with some interest, etype2′s comments. He, in essense, argues that he made the correct purchase for his particular circumstances when he purchased his Sharp LCD. I think he is 100% correct.

    If you happen to watch TV in a very bright room, during the day time, you would want a TV that has extremely high light output and a matt screen to reduce reflections. Now this may be a set of very unusual circumstances but I believe he is correct in his choice – given the poor viewing environment he has.

    Unfortunately etype2 confuses his unusual situation as defining what is best in an HDTV.

    He argues that motion blur can’t be seen yet there is some evidence it can be. I’d agree, that in many situations it may be difficult to detect his, but to dismiss the entire issue I’m afraid is simply based on his choice of HDTV

    Next he argues plasmas weigh too much. Really? Beef up your wall or got a better bracket.

    Energy useage: Recent tests (Consumer Reports) show plasmas are close if not equal to LCDs in this regard. Frankly I’ll pay an additional $20.00 a year in energy useage for a better picture. There are many ways to save energy around the house. I’ll save electricity elsewhere.

    Cliff Walton has done an excellent job of refuting most of etype2′s claims. I’m afraid etype2 has confused his rather unique needs within a general discussion about HDTV performance. In my view, a good plasma is the best choice for most viewers.

    Since etype2 likes to cite his past experiences – I’ll cite mine: Electrical Engineer, past member of the AES (Audio Engineering Society), purchased one of the first Trinitron color TVs in the late 1960s, purchased the original Sony XBR which was a 25″ set, original subscriber to The Perfect Vision, etc, etc

  • Online Full Free

    “(They write motion blur occurs with LCD HDTVs.)”

    displaymate demonstrates that it occurs. You can only disagree with how visible blurring is with their specific viewing conditions and the screens they used.

  • Jigolo

    Dear Sirs:

    I´m fan for your site, and I´m find very helpfull your reviews and in mi city – Mexico City, Mexico I´m translate at full and show to my friends and Panasonic Salesmen at Departamental Stores becuause they are not speak english and only push forwar HDTV LCDs, I have a little battle agains LCDs sets because I´m fan of DPD Plasmas sets. I have a Kuro from Pioneer, and soon I´m buying the TC-P54Z1 set but I´ll pay 5,865 US dollars at Best Buy Mexico.
    Thanks four you review, because strong more my decition to go ahead with Panasonic.

  • Adam

    “(They write motion blur occurs with LCD HDTVs.)”

    displaymate demonstrates that it occurs. You can only disagree with how visible blurring is with their specific viewing conditions and the screens they used.

  • Jigolo

    Ok. Sorry Guru. The link can be read.

  • Greg

    This sounds fantastic, thanks for the great review. I’ve heard that the Z1 is the first TV to take advantage of RF4CE instead of IR (http://everythingwireless.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/rf4ce-rf-wireless-remote-control-for-consumer-electronics/). I haven’t been able to verify this yet. Can you comment on the remote control, and if you’ve noticed any differences?

  • etype2

    Ok. Sorry Guru. The link can be read.

    Yes, but the conclusions were that you can’t see it.

    I keep reading about this motion blur issue. I simply can not see it on my 65 inch Sharp Aquos.

  • etype2

    clif walton:

    Weight is a issue for wall mounting.

    Energy: I stand by statement, generally.

    Burn in is largely overcome.

    Brightness: A issue with viewing in rooms as described in my above comment.

    I started purchasing ” high end ” audio and video equipment in the early 60′s. I purchased the first Sony Trinitron imported to the US a 7 inch and 12 inch model in 1969. I was an early adopter of projection television having purchased the Kloss Novabeam. I purchased the first LCD color tv sold to the world a Seiko 2 inch model in 1984. It was a marvel of enginering for the time and it cost $499, 1984 dollars.

    Look at the advances that have been made since then in terms of tech and lower cost. I fully expect the same thing to happen with OLED.

    Sometimes the author of this column has clung to the old past problems of LCD like motion blur and viewing angles. I have stated many times in this website that these problems have been overcome and are being perpetuated. I have owned and viewed in my home, crt, Trinitron (in a class of it’s own) rear projection, front projection, plasma, lcd, oled. I currently own a 65 inch Sharp Aquos, a Sony 46 inch XBR6 and a Sony OLED.

    I invite you, the readers and Guru to read this article about motion blur. You be the judge. I hope this puts an end to the miss-information.

    Dig into other articles by this author.

    The article follows:

    DisplayMate Home Page

    We had to remove the rest of your comment due to a copyright violation. here is the link

    We disagree with Displaymate’s conclusions and apparently so does the latest issue of Consumer Reports. (They write motion blur occurs with LCD HDTVs.)

    We have documented problems associated with all 120/240 Hz LCD HDTVs and will be posting the article shortly.

    HD Guru

  • clif walton

    @ etype 2

    Plasmas weigh a bit more, but so what? My plasma weighs 50+ pounds, while my LCD weighs 30+ pounds…whoopty doo! How often do you move your TV anyway?

    Plasmas “consume more energy”? Yes, generally. But according to tests HDGURU and Crutchfield have run the NEO PDP Panasonic plasmas consume very comparable amounts of energy as an average LCD.

    Some plasmas may buzz, but I’ve heard mild buzzing coming from LCDs as well. And in any case, I live at high altitude and my Panasonic plasma makes no buzzing sounds.

    Burn in? I sometimes play games for 8 or 9 hours at a time and I have never got any burn in. How much do I have to abuse my plasma to get burn in? Probably more than I will ever possibly do.

    Dimmer? My G10 is brighter than I need. It looks brighter and punchier than my calibrated LCD.

    Phosphor degradation? Modern plasmas have far longer-lasting phosphors than our beloved CRTs did, and we all know how long some of those tube sets lasted. I’ve known people whose CRTs lasted them 20+ years. And keep in mind that CRTs were rated to last around 25,000 to 30,000 hours until they reached half brightness. Most current plasmas in comparison are rated to last 100,000 hours before reaching half brightness. My high definition Sony CRT from over 5 years ago has more vivid colors than my 2009 Samsung LCD. By the time any plasma dimmed to a noticeable degree I think the owner would have long since got the upgrade bug anyway. Sorry, but I’m not worried about “phosphor degradation”.

    I do agree with you that OLED looks like it will probably be the next significant evolution in display technology, but as you correctly pointed out we won’t even see a decent sized OLED TV for 3 or 4 years. And even then the cost is going to be very high for several years thereafter. I will accept nothing smaller than a 40″ OLED (and would prefer a 50″)and I don’t expect to see a decent price on such a set for at least 5 or 6 years. In the meantime, my plasma tv will serve me just fine.

  • Manuel Alejandro Perez

    Dear Sirs:

    I´m fan for your site, and I´m find very helpfull your reviews and in mi city – Mexico City, Mexico I´m translate at full and show to my friends and Panasonic Salesmen at Departamental Stores becuause they are not speak english and only push forwar HDTV LCDs, I have a little battle agains LCDs sets because I´m fan of DPD Plasmas sets. I have a Kuro from Pioneer, and soon I´m buying the TC-P54Z1 set but I´ll pay 5,865 US dollars at Best Buy Mexico.
    Thanks four you review, because strong more my decition to go ahead with Panasonic.

  • etype2

    Guru:

    “displays today have a shiny screen (as opposed to matte) because it provides a better image.”

    Your comment above, I would bet you have in your home a dedicated home theater room for viewing your plasma. That means you have good control of light in that room. That is well and good.

    My point, for people who live in homes where they have no choice to control the light, like a great room with high clearstory windows etc; or just high ambient light situations, the disturbing reflections one sees from shiny screens is not an option. When somebody in the room (my wife or guests) walks behind me as I am watching tv and I see their reflections in the screen, not very good.

    Another example, ever been in a Apple store looking at a new fancy i mac? It has that crazy glass screen with so much reflections, distracts the eye. Same equation at home in real world living environments with shiny glass screens on plasma sets.

    Only recently some LCD sets adopted the clear glass and I would not purchase those sets for the same reasons. The majority of LCD sets have the mat screen. When you say ” nobody seemed to complain about (crt sets) being too dark at the time they were in vogue. I do not consider screen brightness to be an issue. ” Oh yes we did mind and they had tons of screen reflections with their curved glass, then later fixed somewhat by flat glass.

    Generally speaking and plasmas are improving, plasmas weigh more, consume more energy, have been known to buzz at high altitudes, still have burn in issues (no matter what anyone tells you.) dimmer, they suffer from phosphor degradation, Bang & Olefson has a research paper on this.

    My next set will be a OLED. Right now a big trade show is on in Asia. LG has just outlined their future development footprint. 20 inch and larger OLED’s in 2010, 30 inch and larger OLED’s in 2011 and 40 inch and larger OLED’s in 2012. Of course this sounds optimistic, but LG faces stiff compeition from Samsung and Sony.

  • Yalova

    I understand what you are saying now, Aussie Steve. You’re not saying that plasmas do have “pissed on whites”, only that you would still prefer such whites over “milky blacks” if it came down to it.

    But for the most part I wasn’t disagreeing with you, I was mostly trying to add to what you had already said. I do think we are on the same page. Cheers.

  • Online Full Free

    HD Guru, Can you please compare the image quality directly to the Panasonic V10 series? If I want the absolute best image quality and don’t care about wireless/wired, which set is better for me? Thank you!

  • Hakan ALLAR

    I understand what you are saying now, Aussie Steve. You’re not saying that plasmas do have “pissed on whites”, only that you would still prefer such whites over “milky blacks” if it came down to it.

  • bossplaya

    Aussie steve, the “pissed on” whites you refer to isnt a side effect of plasma displays- it’s how the color white looks on an accurate display. even when an LCD is properly calibrated, white will take on a yellow+pink temp. its unfortunate that youve never had some alone time in your living room or basement with a properly calibrated set…

  • clif walton

    I understand what you are saying now, Aussie Steve. You’re not saying that plasmas do have “pissed on whites”, only that you would still prefer such whites over “milky blacks” if it came down to it.

    But for the most part I wasn’t disagreeing with you, I was mostly trying to add to what you had already said. I do think we are on the same page. Cheers.

  • Aussie Steve

    I did say plasma still looks good with games Clif. The whites on my 508 are awesome. They don’t glow and lose detail like they would on LCD. They’re not as bright as on an LCD but who cares, they’re very natural looking. I think we’re on the same page here mate. As I said…….to get on his level, I’d rather have pissed on whites than milky blacks.

    Jigolo, from what I’ve heard (and having seen & sold both the V10 & Z1) the Premiere series from Panasonic is apparently the best there is at the moment. Not having a tuner etc may be a bit annoying though.

  • Jigolo

    HD Guru, Can you please compare the image quality directly to the Panasonic V10 series? If I want the absolute best image quality and don’t care about wireless/wired, which set is better for me? Thank you!

  • Hatchback

    HD Guru, Can you please compare the image quality directly to the Panasonic V10 series? If I want the absolute best image quality and don’t care about wireless/wired, which set is better for me? Thank you!

  • clif walton

    @Aussie Steve

    I agree with most of what you said, but I just wanted to make a couple of comments.

    First of all, my G10 has very pure-looking whites. I have done direct comparisons with my Sony CRT, my Samsung LCD and my Vizio LCD and the plasmas whites are as white as any of them. The whites are bright and they just look great. Other recent plasmas I have seen have also had great whites, so I am not sure what A. West is basing his comment on.

    Second, the idea that plasmas aren’t a good choice for gaming might have been true in the past, but I don’t think it holds true any longer. In my opinion plasmas are not only a viable choice for gaming, but are in fact quite superior for this purpose. The only real reason LCDs were ever recomended for gaming over plasmas was due to the supposed danger of getting burn-in due to the static elements in a typical video game image. Well, I don’t know how much sense there ever was to that recomendation, but I can say that it truly isn’t an issue with the plasma I own. I have gamed for 8 or 9 hours non-stop at times and have never had any burn in.

    More importantly, though, the plasma has several advantages for gaming over the Samsung LCD I own. Despite the fact that the LCD is a 120Hz model there is still an excessive amount of blur, artifacts, and loss of clarity during motion in games. The G10 is like my CRT in how clear the picture remains even while there is motion on screen. The importance of this for games cannot be underestimated, in my opinion.

    The other issue that makes the Samsung LCD a poor choice for gaming is the high degree of input lag it has. There is a game mode that does improve things a bit, but a degree of lag is still perceptible. Moreover, the game mode disables access to your normal calibrated picture modes and the picture quality in game mode doesn’t look that great. The G10 has an imperceptible amount of lag, much like my CRT, and it is simply a joy to play on.

    If only due to the blur, artifacts, and extreme loss of clarity during motion that seems to be inherent to LCD technology, I think the new wisdom should be to recommend plasmas for gaming OVER lcds, not the other way around.

  • clif walton

    Well, if it is anything like my Panasonic G10 it is surely a fantastic tv (I know, it’s probably better).

    Owning the G10 plasma has been like a revelation to me. I previously owned one of the last Sony direct view HD CRTs, as well as several LCDs, and I was always disappointed my two LCDs never lived up to the picture quality of the CRT. Then came my plasma and it was everything I loved about the CRT, only bigger. In fact, I like the picture on my plasma even better than my CRT in several ways.

    The point is, I used to have some doubts about plasmas and I use to defend LCDs, despite the drawbacks I saw with them, but owning a plasma has changed my views. In my opinion, plasma is the best display technology for now and for the forseeable future, until something like OLED matures and becomes affordable.

  • Aussie Steve

    Looks very Loewe to me. In the flesh it’s awesome. Picture’s not as good as the Kuro though. Bobby Digital said it best……Long Live Plasma!

  • Aussie Steve

    A west…….you sound like an a hole! You’re clearly an LCD fan with a comment like that so to get on your level I’d much rather pissed on whites than milky blacks! God, can you be a bit more biased?! Plasma is the best by far if you want to do anything other than play video games (even then it’s still pretty damn good) As for sharpness and clarity, yes LCD may look better running slideshows of static images in store but seriously, how many people do that at home?

  • BobbyDigital

    I manage an A/V retail electronic store in Canada,I have been in the business over 35 years,when you look at the Panasonic or the Pioneer beside other sets it is quite obvious they out perform all other dislays in the most natural picture,when properly calibrated they have the best picture on any source(LONG LIVE PLASMA!)

  • John

    I have to agree wit A. West. Silver?????????? Didn’t that bite Panasonic back in the day when they were basically the last manufacturer to switch back to black?

    I’m sure the performance is nice but Silver is ugle and a dated look. Hey I might go out get myself a white refridgetor while I’m at it.

  • John

    I have to agree wit A. West. Silver?????????? Did that bite Panasonic back in the day when they were basically the last manufacturer to switch back to black.

    I’m sure the performance is nice but Silver is ugle and a dated look. Hey I might go out get myself a white refridgetor while I’m at it.

  • annonoi

    IMO, the silver looks very classy compared to the sea of cheap looking black plastic sets. Also, visually the silver lends an “infinity” look to the picture, whereas black clearly frames the picture thereby delineating it.

    As for reflections, Panasonic plasmas are now excellent at minimizing reflections–as good as or even better than most LCDs.

    BTW: Something very important that was not mentioned in this review is how COOL (VERY!) this set operates. Nothing short of amazing for plasma.

    The only real question is how convenient wireless televisions? For most consumers the fact that a power cord must still be concealed renders the cable issue irrelevant. (What’s a couple more cables?). Another .5in added depth coupled with side-facing connectors would actually be preferable.

  • A. West

    A mirror is a mirror and Guru how about sticking this in a sunny room to do your reviews and tell us of the washout and has Panny gotten rid of the urinated on WHITES! That Bezel is simply horrible and detracting as hell — looks like a prototype someone glued together. Get rid of the outdated SILVER.

    Please, tell us how you really feel. Seriously, as far as color of the finish and styling is concerned, its a matter of personal preference.

    With regards to very high ambient light levels, no display will provide great performance in extremely bright rooms, you simply can’t see dark detail, regardless of the display type. As noted in the review, the calibrated custom mode measured in excess of 40 ft. lamberts. This is far brighter than those old big screen HD CRTs, which nobody seemed to complain about being too dark at the time they were in vogue. I do not consider screen brightness to be an issue with this display. If you want to watch TV in a greenhouse during the day, get the brightest display you can find and max out the contrast control.

    Almost all the top-of-the-line displays today have a shiny screen (as opposed to matte) because it provides a better image.

    HD Guru

  • etype2

    dp 117: ” the two vertical black inserts on either side of the screen. ”

    I agree.

  • Curtis

    Can you test this with something that would show if the wirless is introducing lag, such as a video game or PC? It would be a show stopper for many purchasers if that is the case.

  • dp117

    I spent a bit of time with this set in a Magnolia section of Best Buy recently. What I saw is reflected in the ratings and I was very impressed. The form factor for this TV is amazing and you must see it to understand just how far TV technology has progressed. I have two issues and they are strictly personal. One is the silver bezel. It reminds me of my four year old Panasonic 23 inch LCD TV. I prefer black and hope Panasonic presents us with a black bezel version. Second are the two vertical black inserts on either side of the screen. I watched in a darkened room with the silver bezel still somewhat visible and I got the impression I was watching a picture with vertical letterboxing. I’m sure electronics must be hiding behind those black vertical panels but I just can’t get it out my mind that I’m watching a letterboxed picture. I think a totally black bezel would solve this for me and make me a potential buyer…after the first price drop.

  • etype2

    Indeed a very good looking set. Just wish it came in a 65 inch size.

    Guru: You set should set up a new rating system.

    SETS BEST FOR VIEWING IN:

    1. “low ambient lighting levels found in many home TV viewing rooms.” Such as custom home theaters.

    2. Real world living room environments. Such as with common exposed windows, day light reflections.

    Thank you very much.

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