In the battle between Plasma and LCD, Plasma has typically proven the better choice. With models like the Panasonic Viera TXP50S10, it’s not hard to see why. The model comes equipped with some impressive specs that help it to overcome some of the deficits commonly associated with this class of displays, while at the same time pushing the bar even further in terms of integration and functionality. Panasonic has managed to surprise us with a high-end flat panel TV that is more than just a showpiece.
The Viera TX-P50S10B’s picture quality is what really stood out for us. A contrast ratio of 2,000,000 to 1 (one of the highest on the market) gives the image a crisp black level and natural colour palette. It also has full HD resolution (1080p), the most up-to-date standard. At the moment a Blue-ray Disc player or an HD gaming console such as an XBox 360 is needed to take advantage of the set’s maximal resolution. These devices and other digital accessories connect via the system’s 3 HDMI ports.
Yet contrast ratio and resolution are only part of the battle. In part because the screen we are dealing with is so large, we need to address the issue of image flickering. A flickering image can ruin even the sharpest display. Panasonic has a multilevel approach to this problem. First, the 400Hz Sub-field Drive creates a smoother picture, by upping the refresh-rate to about 8 times that of a normal TV. Second, it employs Intelligent Frame Creation to generate new frames from existing frames in real-time, increasing sharpness on fast movement. Lastly, since the frame-rate of movies is different form that of TV, the Viera TX-P50S10B uses 24p Cinematic Playback to display films without any detriment to image quality.
Plasma TVs are often said to use up more energy than LCD displays. The “eco-mode” cleverly adjusts screen brightness based on measured ambient lighting in the room, to save energy while maintaining image quality. This feature is part of a new class of eco-friendly consumer electronics strategies designed for more sophisticated users who want to be green without appearing, well, green.
Another extremely useful feature is the Smart-Networking Viera Link system, which lets you use your Viera remote to easily connect and control all your digital audio-visual accessories. The Viera Image Viewer works in conjunction with this technology, to provide easy connectivity for your digital camera and camcorder.
The Panasonic Viera TX-P50S10B is a sound choice among higher-end flat screen systems. If Panasonic can continue providing high picture quality and innovative user-friendly features, it will remain a leader in the flat screen market for some time to come.