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Panasonic plasma gives great blacks for less

The Panasonic TC-P50X1, the company's least expensive 50-inch plasma for 2009, delivers excellent black-level performance for the money.

Although it requires more than a few picture quality tradeoffs, the Panasonic TC-P50X1 delivers the best black-levels-to-dollars ratio of any HDTV we've tested. Sarah Tew

The capability of a TV to reproduce a dark shade of black is the number-one criteria for awarding a good picture quality score here at CNET. Often better blacks dictate higher prices, but in the case of Panasonic's newest line of entry-level plasmas, which includes the TC-P50X1, that's not the case. This HDTV reproduces superb blacks and excellent shadow detail, while costing a relative pittance for a big-screen HDTV.

Unfortunately, two major problems prevent it from earning higher praise, namely that it suffers from less than accurate color and the presence of faint onscreen lines that may be a deal-breaker to sharp-eyed viewers. Nonetheless, the Panasonic TC-P50X1's otherwise commendable picture will appeal to numerous HDTV shoppers.

Read the full review of the Panasonic TC-P50X1

Panasonic X1