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Panasonic AS530 series review: Midrange LCD TV gives above-average picture

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Sarah Tew

If you want to plug your Wii or even an old VCR in then the Panasonic comes with a hybrid component/composite port.

Internet capability is courtesy of an Ethernet port and onboard Wi-Fi.

Picture quality

The AS530 could be seen as the spiritual successor to Panasonic E60 because even though they differ on key picture quality points the end result is about the same. More importantly the TV was able to keep up with the Sony KDL-W800B in most aspects except color. While on paper the Sony has a much better black-level score, in use they were on a par, with the Panasonic capable of darker black bars during movies -- important for creating a greater sense of contrast. Color, on the other hand, was mostly good except for red and yellow, which were slightly "out" compared with the other televisions in my lineup.


Click the image at the right to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV's picture controls worked during calibration.

Black level

For a TV that lacks local dimming the Panasonic well among its peers for black levels, though shadow detail could be a little better. I loaded up our test PlayStation 3 unit with some dark films and found that the Panasonic was equal to the Sony and Samsung for blacks depending on the scene.

Shadow detail was good to middling, and during "Driver" (Chapter 7, 35:09), the titular character sits at a table with a lamp overhead. On all televisions but the TCL you can make out the baseboard on the wall and the table legs. However the Panasonic wasn't as clear as its rivals Sony and Vizio, with some some obfuscation of fine detail.

Switching to the "Harry Potter" hilltop scene, there was plenty of detail in the crowd, with the robes of the dark lord showing definition and 3D depth. In addition the Panasonic had darker black bars in this scene than both the Sony W800B and Samsung H6350, which added to the perception of contrast.

Color accuracy

Color saturation of the Panasonic is very good and skin tones in particular appear natural and not overblown. But put on a movie with red and yellow palettes, such as "Samsara," and the differences between this and the other TVs will appear. From the ceremonial headwear of the monks to the gold hues of the buddha statues, the yellows of the Samsung were not as vivid as on our reference Panasonic ST60 and Vizio M series televisions. In addition, pure reds were a small touch purple, something that couldn't be seen on anything bar the TCL; that TV was just flat-out bad.

Video processing

The Panasonic was an OK performer when it came to video processing duties, for while it failed the 1080i test pattern with excessive strobing (meaning lost fine detail) it passed all of the others. The 24P test was passed with a lack of judder caused by pull-down error, and the TV was able to get a full 1080 lines of resolution using the Strong motion picture setting.

If you're a gamer looking to find a responsive set then the AS530 is definitely not for you. There is no dedicated game mode on this TV and as a result it turned out a fairly average lag time of 52.4ms of lag. Sets like the Sony W800B have less than half of this and go for a similar price.


Despite being an edge-lit set, the blacks of the AS530 were very uniform with no bright backlight leaks apparent to spoil dark scenes. When viewed off-axis the television managed to hold its color and black levels better than most and would make this TV suitable if you have a wide space or lots of people watching at once.

Bright lighting

When watched in bright light, the AS530 put in a sterling performance with deep contrast -- it didn't suffer the blue-black problem you sometimes see on other sets under lights -- and saturated colors. The screen features a matte coating and was as successful as the other assembled sets at rejecting reflections.

Sound quality

If there's a better candidate for recommending you buy an external sound bar than this TV I'd love to hear about it. The Panasonic has very poor sound quality, especially with music. The telly features no bass response whatsoever and was really quiet at half-volume. On our test track, Nick Cave sounded like he was at the end of a tunnel with rolled-up piece of cupboard at his lips, but this was still preferable to the ST60, which had an overly "farty" bass. The Panasonic's rival Sony had better sound with more presence, but it was just a little bit flatulent in the bass regions.

No bass, and no treble either meant the breaking of glass in our test "Mission: Impossible" scene was a little less than "smashing." By contrast the Sony exhibited more midrange detail and so more ambience. The Panasonic seemed a little too hemmed in, though at least speech was still intelligible.

Geek Box

GEEK BOX: Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.015 Average
Avg. gamma (10-100%) 2.15 Good
Avg. grayscale error (10-100%) 2.130 Good
Dark gray error (20%) 1.663 Good
Bright gray error (70%) 1.639 Good
Avg. color error 1.494 Good
Red error 2.267 Good
Green error 0.258 Good
Blue error 3.152 Average
Cyan error 0.924 Good
Magenta error 0.843 Good
Yellow error 1.52 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
1080i De-interlacing (film) Fail Poor
Motion resolution (max) 1080 Good
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 320 Poor
Input lag (Game mode) 52.4 Average

Panasonic TC 50AS530U calibration report

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