Panasonic Viera TH-P50V10A review:

Panasonic Viera TH-P50V10A

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Typical Price: $3,299.00
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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Deep blacks. THX mode. Detailed pictures. Four HDMI ports.

The Bad Disappointing sound. G10 is better value.

The Bottom Line The Panasonic Viera TH-P50V10A is a 50-inch plasma that features great pictures but only so-so sound. There are better value models in the Viera range.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.3 Overall

The hole that Pioneer left when it announced it was leaving television was significant — television reviewers and enthusiasts the world over wept openly in the streets, clawing and clinging to each other with fat-fingered hands and gnashing their red-wine teeth.

However, with Panasonic's new range of NEO plasmas the potential of the Kuro is almost — ALMOST — a distant memory. The V10 sits in the middle of the series and combines the price-friendliness of the G10-series with the slim styling of the Z1. We were mightily impressed with the G10, can it be that the Viera TH-P50V10A is even better?

Design

There is a definite "Panasonic" look the company has given its televisions over the past couple of years. To some it may look a little dowdy, to others simply conservative. The V series is suitably dour with its black shell and splash of silver. Now, we don't think that what we're about to say is an important consideration when buying a TV but it feels good to touch. The TV is encompassed by a metal frame which is cool to the touch, and the tapered back of the TV is elegant and well constructed.

The panel may be two inches (50mm) at its thinnest point, but like the glass in ancient cathedral windows it's much thicker at the bottom. So, while Panasonic says it's a slim panel it's still 84mm thick — almost three times the thickness of the Samsung LED 8 series. Of course, thickness is redundant if you're not wall-mounting a television as you watch the front, and not the side, of the screen. The size of the stand has more of a bearing, then, and in this case it's one of the egg-shaped numbers the company has employed in the past.

What can we say about the remote? Not much, as it's virtually identical to the G10 one. Get a decent universal remote and chuck this one in a drawer.

Features

The Panasonic Viera TH-P50V10A is a 50-inch plasma that features a full 1080p resolution and a high 40,000:1 native contrast ratio. Picture processing is one area that the V series focuses on and to this end it features a 1080-line motion resolution (which means no interlacing on movement) and a 600Hz sub-field drive (which means there's no lag from signal to display).

Other picture processing goodness comes in the form of Digital Cinema Colour which involves an additional colour filter on the face of the screen, but there's very little content at present that supports it. When it comes to picture presets, manufacturers such as LG and Pioneer have chosen to align themselves with industry body ISF, while Panasonic has chosen a more populist route in George Lucas' THX. It's a specialised mode which sets the "colour space" to better match the original DVD source, which is far fewer colours than the Digital Cinema Colour filter displays.

The Panasonic features a 100Hz mode, of course, and adds a new option called 24p Smooth Film — essentially a 100Hz mode tailored to Blu-ray playback.

Connectivity is good, and while it lacks the intraweb functions of the new Panasonic G15 plasmas it still offers a healthy four HDMI slots and an SD card reader.

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