Panasonic VIERA TH-50PZ800U Plasma HDTV HT Labs Measures
Full-On/Full-Off CONTRAST RATIO: 2,954:1
For the image adjustment settings used in this review, go to www.HomeTheaterMag.com. All the measurements here, unless noted otherwise, were taken in the THX Picture mode, through an HDMI input, with the set adjusted as needed for the most accurate picture within the requirements of the viewing tests in a darkened room.
While the Panasonic had the highest black level of the group, it was still lower than most of the flat-panel sets we have reviewed. As noted elsewhere, for our testing, the Picture (contrast) control was set higher than the THX mode’s default with the output set to 60 Hz. This provided a peak brightness level roughly similar to what the other sets put out—the brightness shown above.
The Color Tracking charts show how well a display adheres to the D65 standard white point; the tighter the overlap of the three primary colors at the 100-percent line, the nearer the result is to D65. The pre-calibration result is for the Warm Color Temp setting. The results are respectable, apart from some excess red at around 50 IRE. After calibration, the results are somewhat better, but the 50-IRE blip remains. This appeared to have little effect on the judges’ scores; the panel awarded the Panasonic second place for color (behind the Pioneer).
The set’s HDMI black-and-white (luma) resolution was excellent in 1080i/p, but the color (chroma) resolution was poor at the highest tested frequency—and better at 1080i. This did not, however, appear to affect the viewing results. Both SD and HD resolutions were also good to excellent in 480p and 720p. Component resolution was a little less pristine, but it did extend to the highest required frequencies in SD and HD. (1080p component resolution was not tested.)
The Panasonic’s overscan (in the Full aspect ratio setting, with the HD Size control set to Size 2, or 100 percent) was zero in 1080i/p. It averaged 2.5 percent per side (roughly a 10-percent loss of image area overall) in all other resolutions.—TJN