Test Report: Panasonic TC-P5OVT25 Plasma HDTV Page 5

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The Panasonic’s black level and shadow detail were also impressive. For instance, in a scene where Daniels gains access to the hospital’s violent prisoner ward, deep shadows displayed a solid black tone as he walked down a dim hallway, and details like the texture of the brick walls and the uniforms of prisoners in their cells also cut through the gloom. I must say, though, given my experience at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show looking at demos of Panasonic’s Infinite Black Pro — a suite of black-level enhancing technologies that this TV features — I expected to see even deeper blacks and punchier contrast. That’s not to say that the Panasonic TC-P50VT25 3D set’s blacks were unsatisfying, but they do fall short of the Pioneer KURO plasma-like levels that I recall appreciating in Panasonic’s demo.

The P50VT25’s handling of standard-def programs left a bit to be desired, especially when using a component-video connection to feed signals to the set. DVDs that I watched with the TV handling video up conversion were for the most part soft and somewhat noisy-looking. I also took note of a few false contouring artifacts, which showed up as an active, patchy quality to the mist in scenes from the Master and Commander DVD where ships sail through fog. I wish I could say that the effect was limited to standard-def programs, but I occasionally saw it with Blu-rays as well. For instance, in a scene from Shutter Island where the agents examine an escaped prisoner’s empty cell, light-to-dark gradations in the harsh shadow cast on the wall by an overhead lamp showed a similar effect.

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