Panasonic's THX plasma goes large, gets Editors' Choice

The Panasonic TH-58PZ800U follows in the footsteps of its 50-inch brother by winning the Editors' Choice award. Here's how.

Panasonic's TH-58PZ800U, a 58-inch THX-certified plasma, earned our Editors' Choice award. CNET

Earlier this year we awarded the 50-inch Panasonic TH-50PZ800U our Editors' Choice among 50-inch plasma TVs, and now that we've reviewed the newly released 58-inch version, it predictably gets a similar review, with an identical score and Editors' Choice award. Part of the reason has to do with its color accuracy, for which the TV's THX Display Certification deserves credit.

The bigger Panasonic still didn't perform as well as our new reference standard, the Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-111FD--which we assume will perform as well, in turn, as the 60-inch Elite PRO-151FD--but those Elite models are just too expensive to earn our Editors' Choice. The 50-inch Elite, for example, costs more than the 58-inch Panasonic, and the 60-inch Elite is off the charts.

If you're shopping for a massive-screen plasma, the other high-end option is the 60-inch non-Elite Pioneer, model PDP-6020FD. Too bad it's significantly more expensive than the 58-inch Panasonic itself, and judging from our review of the 50-inch version, its color accuracy is a big issue. Couple that with the fact that, according to our observations, the 58-inch Panasonic delivered even deeper black levels than the 50-inch model, we feel the EC and higher rating compared with the non-Elite Pioneer is justified, again.

For folks just looking for a massive screen, regardless of form factor, it's still difficult to justify the higher cost of plasma over rear-projection. Our current rear-projection EC is the 61-inch Samsung HL61A750, a superb-performing LED-based DLP model that can't quite match the overall picture quality of any of those plasmas, but costs a dark sight less.

What's your take? Let us know in the comments section.

read the full review of the Panasonic Viera TH-58PZ800U.

Below you'll find the settings we found best for viewing the Panasonic TH-58PZ800U in a completely dark room via the HDMI input with a 1080p, film-based source. Your settings may very depending on source, room conditions, and personal preference. Check out the picture settings and calibration FAQ for more information.

Picture menu
Picture mode: THX
Picture: +100
Brightness: +55
Color: +56
Tint: 0
Sharpness: 0
Color temp: Warm
Color mgmt: Off
x.v.Color: [grayed out]
C.A.T.S.: Off

Advanced picture menu Video N.R.: Off
3D Y/C filter: [grayed out]
Color matrix: [grayed out]
MPEG NR: Off
Black level: Light
24p Direct in: 60Hz
HD size: Size 2

 

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