Test Bench: Panasonic TH-50PZ700U 50-inch Plasma HDTV

Color temperature (Custom Mode/Warm Color Temperature before/after calibration): 20 IRE: 5,726 / 6,944 K 30 IRE: 5,708 / 6,507 K 40 IRE: 5,868 / 6,595 K 50 IRE: 5,811 / 6,532 K 60 IRE: 5,733 / 6,588 K 70 IRE: 5,879 / 6,510 K 80 IRE: 5,709 / 6,479 K 90 IRE: 5,869 / 6,453 K 100 IRE: 5,720 / 6,404 K Brightness (100-IRE window): 36.4 / 35.3 ftL

With the Panasonic's Custom picture and Warm color temperature presets selected, its grayscale displayed a pronounced red bias, tracking approximately ±800 degrees kelvin of the 6,500 K standard from 30 to 100 IRE. Adjustments to the set's service menu evened its grayscale tracking out to around ±100 K from 30 to 100 IRE - excellent performance. The set's red color point was slightly oversaturated as compared to the SMPTE HD specification for digital TV, while green showed a more pronounced oversaturation that wasn't evident in program material. Color decoder tests revealed a fairly severe -20% green error on the HDMI inputs.

Overscan - the amount of picture area cut off at the edges of the TV's screen - measured 0% in HD Size 2 mode when showing high-definition signals and 4% with Size 1 mode selected. The set displayed 1080i test patterns very cleanly and with full resolution via its HDMI connections, but the same patterns showed noise in high-frequency bursts on the component-video inputs. A 720p pattern looked relatively soft on both the HDMI and component-video inputs. The TV could accept 1080p/60 programs from a Blu-ray Disc player via an HDMI connection but not a 1080p/24 input from a test-signal generator.

Viewed both head-on and from off-center seats, screen uniformity was excellent. The set had no problem with 2:3 pulldown processing on movies on regular DVDs but failed the corresponding test on a Silicon Optix HQV high-def disc. The Panasonic's various noise-reduction settings helped to clean up grainy images, with only its Block NR setting eliminating detail in the process.

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