Panasonic Viera TH-P50V10A

The Panasonic Viera TH-P50V10A is a 50-inch plasma that features great pictures but only so-so sound. There are better value models in the Viera range.


8.3
CNET Rating
8.8
User Rating

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CNET Editor

Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury


The hole that Pioneer left when it announced it was leaving television was significant — television reviewers and enthusiasts the world over wept openly in the streets, clawing and clinging to each other with fat-fingered hands and gnashing their red-wine teeth.

However, with Panasonic's new range of NEO plasmas the potential of the Kuro is almost — ALMOST — a distant memory. The V10 sits in the middle of the series and combines the price-friendliness of the G10-series with the slim styling of the Z1. We were mightily impressed with the G10, can it be that the Viera TH-P50V10A is even better?

Design

There is a definite "Panasonic" look the company has given its televisions over the past couple of years. To some it may look a little dowdy, to others simply conservative. The V series is suitably dour with its black shell and splash of silver. Now, we don't think that what we're about to say is an important consideration when buying a TV but it feels good to touch. The TV is encompassed by a metal frame which is cool to the touch, and the tapered back of the TV is elegant and well constructed.

The panel may be two inches (50mm) at its thinnest point, but like the glass in ancient cathedral windows it's much thicker at the bottom. So, while Panasonic says it's a slim panel it's still 84mm thick — almost three times the thickness of the Samsung LED 8 series. Of course, thickness is redundant if you're not wall-mounting a television as you watch the front, and not the side, of the screen. The size of the stand has more of a bearing, then, and in this case it's one of the egg-shaped numbers the company has employed in the past.

What can we say about the remote? Not much, as it's virtually identical to the G10 one. Get a decent universal remote and chuck this one in a drawer.

Features

The Panasonic Viera TH-P50V10A is a 50-inch plasma that features a full 1080p resolution and a high 40,000:1 native contrast ratio. Picture processing is one area that the V series focuses on and to this end it features a 1080-line motion resolution (which means no interlacing on movement) and a 600Hz sub-field drive (which means there's no lag from signal to display).

Other picture processing goodness comes in the form of Digital Cinema Colour which involves an additional colour filter on the face of the screen, but there's very little content at present that supports it. When it comes to picture presets, manufacturers such as LG and Pioneer have chosen to align themselves with industry body ISF, while Panasonic has chosen a more populist route in George Lucas' THX. It's a specialised mode which sets the "colour space" to better match the original DVD source, which is far fewer colours than the Digital Cinema Colour filter displays.

The Panasonic features a 100Hz mode, of course, and adds a new option called 24p Smooth Film — essentially a 100Hz mode tailored to Blu-ray playback.

Connectivity is good, and while it lacks the intraweb functions of the new Panasonic G15 plasmas it still offers a healthy four HDMI slots and an SD card reader.

Performance

The Panasonic TH-P50V10A is a classy television, and is able to show off a source in its light. We threw a number of different discs at the V10 and were presented with a cinema-level performance every time. The THX mode made it easier to get these sort of results, but calibrating the screen in "Cinema" mode proved to be a little problematic.

One issue we found was an apparent lack of depth in the blacks, and we needed to adjust brightness levels several time. Firing up the Brontosaurus Stampede from the King Kong DVD for the first time, we found that the picture was blown out. But with a little adjusting the blacks were reined in, and looked a lot more natural. This panel seems more susceptible to ambient light than the G series and there is a lot of difference between viewing in a dark room and in a lit one. However, in a darkened room the screen featured blacks which make the pictures pop.

With King Kong, the TV was able to follow movement well, and there was a minimum of noise on the disc, though it perhaps didn't make the disc as squeaky clean as some other TVs can. However, we did find that the Viera had some issues with colour; there was some small colour instability and it seems it was unable to hold conto colour gradations as well as the G series. Overall though, it was a very good performance.

The results were equally impressive with our Mission Impossible III Blu-ray, and the Bridge scene cleaned up nicely, with very little judder and no moire on the railings on the aerial tracking shot at the start of the scene. Noise reduction performance was decent if not spectacular, but it also meant that detail levels were very high and images crisp.

We didn't think much of Intelligent Frame Creation, or its Blu-ray 24p Smooth Film variant, as we found the "smoothness" of the image came at the expense of additional haloing artefacts. To us, these more annoying than judder and so we turned them off again.

When it came to synthetic benchmarks, the V10 didn't fare so well. While the screen did well in reducing "mosquito" noise and getting rid of jaggies it failed the Film and Video "mode tests" which essentially evaluate how the screen copes with different sources. This surprised us, considering that the MI3 disc displayed very little judder. So, what does this mean in the real world? Not much, but you may still see a small amount of stuttering in HD discs, but it's relatively minor.

Where the Pana did disappoint was in the sound. While voices and music are carried incredibly well, it's in sound effects that the speakers fall down. For example, a bass-heavy scene like the above Brontosaurus Stampede flummoxed it by sounding compressed — the effect was more like someone blowing their nose rather than the panicked footfalls of 30-tonne dinosaurs. We found that the sound distorts at three-quarter volume which isn't even particularly loud.

Lastly, we hooked the Viera up to a games console and found that games looked great. The screen's fast response meant that there was no lag. The screen even comes with a Game mode to illuminate enemies hiding in shadows and disables laggy technologies like 100Hz. Of course, you may want to invest in some external speakers for fear of blowing the ones on the unit.

Conclusion

Having been mightily impressed with the TH-P46G10A we were expecting similarly impressive performance from this one, and yes we received it, but somehow we still feel a little let down. To us, an extra $500 for another HDMI port and a prettier shell isn't really worth it. In essence, the only reason we're marking the V10 down is because its baby brother is just as good, and palpably cheaper.



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emal50 posted a comment   
Australia

I lost my mamual book for my tv model:TH-p50V10A. How can i get one also I have got my brothers and friends sow my tv panasonic and they wont to have one.

 

Steve posted a comment   

Hi Guys,

Im wondering between a Panasonic 54inch V series and a Samsung UA50C7000, obviously the samsung is 3D but they are very similar prices.
Just wanted to see what your thoughts are does the 54inch Vseries have THX as i heard it makes a great deal of difference.

Steve

 

Steve posted a comment   

Hi Guys,

Im wondering between a Panasonic 54inch V series and a Samsung UA50C7000, obviously the samsung is 3D but they are very similar prices.
Just wanted to see what your thoughts are does the 54inch Vseries have THX as i heard it makes a great deal of difference.

Steve

delvin
10
Rating
 

delvin posted a review   

The Good:Excellent Picture, Great Performance & Value

The Bad:What are you talking about?

Excellent allround performance and great value. Got it for 2650 and DVD recorder was a good bonus.

 

GrantC posted a comment   

The Good:6 months old still looks good

The Bad:But for how much longer?

The video on cnet.com.au seems to be at odds with the US site: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10462105-1.html?tag=centerColumnArea1.2

 

shane mcg posted a comment   

The Good:excelent blacks, colour far better than lcd

The Bad:none

this is easily the best tv i have ever had, i work in a tv retailer and i scrutinise pretty heavily b4 i purchase. there is no way i would buy an lcd, i had this tv next to a sony kdl52z5500 and the sony looked horrible, anything that should be red is pink on most lcds. as for intelligent film creation you must be on drugs if you don't think it looks amazing, try planet earth bluray on it with it on and off, and you will see a significant improvement. No. 1 tv on the market, it is worth the extra money over the g10 hands down, and it is made in japan, you wouldn't buy a chinese car why buy a chinese tv when for a little more you can have a japanese one

 

GrantC posted a comment   

BTW in JB Hi Fi in Brisvegas last weekend, THP50V10 $2,796 and right next to it a THP50G10 marked down to, $2,796. Confused? I sure am ;) Still love my V10!

Gunna
8
Rating
 

Gunna posted a review   

The Good:Bang for buck, Blacks, Looks, THX & Game picture mode

The Bad:Power consumption

Has anybody setup their p50v with a video calibration disc (eg Digital Video Essential)?
I would like to hear what your results were.
What are your settings, what picture enhancers do you have active, etc?


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User Reviews / Comments  Panasonic Viera TH-P50V10A

  • emal50

    emal50

    "I lost my mamual book for my tv model:TH-p50V10A. How can i get one also I have got my brothers and friends sow my tv panasonic and they wont to have one."

  • Steve

    Steve

    "Hi Guys,

    Im wondering between a Panasonic 54inch V series and a Samsung UA50C7000, obviously the samsung is 3D but they are very similar prices.
    Just wanted to see what your t..."

  • Steve

    Steve

    "Hi Guys,

    Im wondering between a Panasonic 54inch V series and a Samsung UA50C7000, obviously the samsung is 3D but they are very similar prices.
    Just wanted to see what your t..."

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