Panasonic TH-50PX25UP, review

September 21, 2004

You likely won’t see many plasma reviews here, it’s not that I don’t appreciate the technology, as a matter of fact I prefer them to the majority of the LCD’s I’ve seen. It really boils down to screen size, in all honesty I don’t consider a 42” Plasma and an A/V receiver and some in-walls “Home Theater” in the typical sense. Get up to say a 50” in the right room and seating arrangement and now were talking. Given this, it’s been quite sometime since I’ve seen a plasma worth getting excited over, we do a lot of commercial grade “filler” type displays, basically the lets put something on that wall because it seems like the right thing to do situation.

Recently we had a client ask for something a little better, he wanted an area to watch movies without having to go downstairs and fire up the full theater. We chose the sitting room off of the couples bedroom, and were given full reign to make any changes we wanted, oh boy now we’re talking.

Ok, with all the lesser details out of the way, it was time to decide on the equipment. We chose a nice AV receiver, separate sat/sub speakers with in-walls for the rear only (nice in-walls mind you) and the necessary video sources, then it was time to pick the display, the end of the room that was to hold the plasma was only a little over 11 feet wide, so I was comfortable that a 50″ would do the job, looking at our budget tally only reinforced that… So which plasma to pick, talking with the client told me he would appreciate something above the mundane, so we went with the Panasonic TH-50PX25UP. Contrast Ratio: 3000:1, Resolution: 1366 x 768, built in ATSC tuner, HDMI and component video inputs and a cable card slot.

I could have picked a commercial grade NEC, View sonic or alike but as the client had an extensive DVD collection and HDTV satellite, I knew he’d appreciate something a little better. Once the installation was complete and we’d had a chance to touch up the settings, I sat down with my calibration equipment, and gave the plasma its final video calibration.
The video from the Samsung SIRTS360 hi-def satellite receiver was stunning, I’d calibrated each input, DVI for the sat and component for the DVD player, and my time was well worth it. HDNet provided the majority of our viewing material and it was spot on, for color accuracy and resolution. We watched a few minutes of Major League Soccer and the image was flawless.

From there I wanted to check out some DVD material and we picked a few movies from the clients Escient DVDM-100 through his Sony DVP-CX777ES, again great picture, obviously not as good as the hi-def sources but impressive nonetheless. First up was Hidalgo, this is the disc that really showed off the TH-50PX25UP’s contrast capabilities, the desert scenes were really distinct, even with high overhead shots you could make out details in the riders as well as horses. Next we tried Hellboy, the dark scenes where we first see Hellboy were easy to decipher even with a small amount of ambient light on the screen.

For kicks we pulled up Finding Nemo, always a favorite of mine for checking out color, again the TH-50PX25UP didn’t disappoint, the color was eye-popping, we skipped forward to the dentist office scenes, and were really impressed at the detail “inside the tank” Lastly the client had the super bit Fifth Element, we cue’d that and skipped to the “reconstruction scene” this was pretty much the best DVD playback I’d seen, if it wasn’t flawless I’d be none the wiser, again super detail and color all in one package. Overall this Panasonic plasma was easily one of the better display devices I’ve seen in the last few years, it really didn’t want for anything.

Large plasmas have dropped in price greatly in the last few years, however their far from cheap, currently the TH-50PX25UP’s can be found for under $6000.00 possibly cheaper if you hunt around. I highly recommend this display. The combination of the impressive image quality, as well as Panasonics great build quality, and above average product support make it a winner.

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Reviews