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Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ800UWith the accuracy of its THX mode and great black-level performance, the Panasonic TH-50PZ800U is one of the best-performing HDTVs available, and makes it our top TV gift selection for the 2008 Holiday Gift Guide.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:07 >>Hi I'm David Katzmaier, Senior Editor with CNET and this a product spotlight for the holiday shopping season. I'm here with the Panasonic TH-50PZ800U. I really think this is one of the best holiday deals among TV's that you can get this year. This TV was really one of the best performers this year but it also has a relatively low price. I mean, really good bang for the buck. This TV got our Editor's Choice award this year for the 15-inch plasma category for the reasons I just mentioned. Anyway, taking a look at the outside of this set you can see it's got a distinctive styling cue. The front here is actually one big pane of glass which is a really cool effect in person. Sitting there there's really no distinct frame especially when you see it from the side. You can twist it to either side using this swivel here. The swivels kind of hidden underneath the TV like a little lazy Susan so it's nicely disguised. Overall the TV is generally black in color. Below here is a little grey strip and there's hidden speakers hidden underneath there. You flip down this door here and you'll find a few inputs as well as an SD card slot for displaying digital photos. Around back you've got 3 HDMI inputs, 2 component video inputs and a PC input. If you count that HDMI input on the front panel it brings the grand total to 4. Go around front you'll find that the menu system is relatively comprehensive. You've got a good number of controls over the picture but you can't really do too much compared to a lot of the other high end models but the key here is the THX mode. If you put this thing in THX it's going to give you a very nice picture without having to play with any of the controls which is another feature we really liked. Speaking of the picture one of the things we did love about this TV was its black level performance. It produces a nice deep color of black. The shadow detail is also very good. Again, it's not the blackest of plasmas out there but you know to get that you're gonna have to buy one of those Pioneer Kuro which is a lot more expensive. And that's a product spotlight for the holiday season featuring the Panasonic TH-50PZ800U. I'm CNET's David Katzmaier. ^M00:02:04 [ Music ]