Photos: Hands-on with the Panasonic Viera TX-P50X10B plasma

As the first new TVs of 2009 start to arrive, we got our hands on Panasonic's entry-level, 50-inch, 720p plasma. We got very excited, and photographed the unboxing, just for you

Ian Morris

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After CES, tech journalists have the geek equivalent of a comedown from an illegal drug. We pine for new and exciting hardware. We can't sleep at night for thinking about new gadgets. It's painful, lasts about two weeks and then relief comes in the form of new toys on our doorstep to review. Today, the Panasonic Viera TX-P50X10B arrived and everything is alright again.

The TX-P50X10B is aimed at the budget end of the market, and, as a 720p TV, it might not interest people who want the highest possible resolution. However, we've always been very impressed by Panasonic's 'budget' TVs in the past. In fact, the Viera TH-37PX80B was one of our favourite TVs of last year, with a sensible price and amazing picture quality.

Even though the TX-P50X10B is technically an entry-level TV, Panasonic has still gone to town on some impressive features. Firstly, there's a 100Hz picture processor, which should help keep your movies as judder-free as possible. It will also accept a 1080p signal, including 24p, which it will scale to fit on the screen perfectly.

In terms of connectivity, you get three HDMI sockets, two Scarts, and component and S-Video inputs, as well as composite RCA sockets. There's also an SDHC card socket, which can be used for viewing your digital images on-screen. Hurrah. Additionally, there's the useful Viera Link, which allows you to control other devices using your TV remote, via HDMI.

It seemed prudent, on such a momentous occasion, that we break out the camera and photograph this, the first TV of the season, as much as possible. The review will be online soon, so keep an eye on the TV review channel.

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Yay! The TX-P50X10B has the distinction of being the first 2009 model we've got our hands on.
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Excitement in the office was growing as the Panasonic TV's clothes gradually fell away. This excitement was a combination both of geeky love of technology, and the now severe girl drought in the CNET UK team.
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Oh, look -- it's the stand.
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As a rule, we're not fond of TVs that we have to build the stand for. But, in the case of the TX-P50X10B, it was so easy that we didn't mind at all. It took us about 15 minutes to construct the TV fully. If you don't stop to take photos of every stage, you'll do it much more quickly.
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Although the TX-P50X10B isn't the top-of-the-range Panasonic TV, it's still well specified, with features such as 100Hz picture processing.
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At its thinnest point, the TX-P50X10B is pretty slender. It's also light enough for a weedy geek to lift on his own.
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Look! A real power button! W00t! Seriously, we need some girls in this office.
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Check out these buttons. They're for controlling the channel and such like. Always good to see buttons on a TV -- for a while in the '90s, no-one bothered. That was fine, as long as the dog didn't swallow your remote control.
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On the other side of the TV, you'll find an SDHC socket for memory cards containing photos. There is also a third HDMI socket, and the usual analogue inputs for camcorders and the like.
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At the rear of the set, you'll find two more HDMI sockets, a pair of Scart inputs, component video in and audio in, and outputs.
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The Panasonic remote control is pretty much unchanged from previous versions. That's not a bad thing though, because these remotes do what they're told, and they do it quickly.
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Notice anything? That's right -- no fans. There was a time when a hefty plasma like this would need some fan-cooling, but Panasonic seems to have got rid of them. A good sign for power economy, we're sure.
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All plugged in and off we go. Within just a few minutes, both digital and analogue broadcasts were tuned in. Naturally, we'll be reviewing this TV in full over the next few days -- stick with us if you want to know what we think of it.

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