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

Read the full CNET Review

Panasonic TH 50PZ800U - 50" plasma TV

The Bottom Line: The 58-inch TH-58PZ800U carries a big price tag compared with rear-projection alternatives, but its superb picture quality heightens its appeal. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Samsung HL61A750

The Bottom Line: Samsung's HL61A750 61-inch rear-projection HDTV delivers excellent overall picture quality, and, compared to flat-panel options, it's a real bargain. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Pioneer Kuro PDP-6020FD

The Bottom Line: Best-in-class black levels and excellent all-around performance places the Pioneer PDP-5020FD near the top of the picture quality heap, but it will cost you. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-111FD

The Bottom Line: The Pioneer Elite PRO-111FD represents the pinnacle of flat-panel HDTV picture quality. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-151FD

The Bottom Line: The Pioneer Elite PRO-111FD represents the pinnacle of flat-panel HDTV picture quality. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Panasonic Viera TH-58PZ800U

The Bottom Line: The 58-inch TH-58PZ800U carries a big price tag compared with rear-projection alternatives, but its superb picture quality heightens its appeal. / Read full review

About the author

Section Editor David Katzmaier has reviewed TVs at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com.

 

ARTICLE DISCUSSION

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

Hot on CNET

CNET's giving away a 3D printer

Enter for a chance to win* the MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer and all the supplies you need to get started.