Published On: April 1, 2011

Panasonic TC-P50X3 Plasma HDTV Reviewed

Published On: April 1, 2011

Panasonic TC-P50X3 Plasma HDTV Reviewed

The Panasonic TC-P50X3 is the entry level model of Panasonic's 2011 HDTV line, but it still comes packed with quite a few features. Adrienne Maxwell takes a look at all this plasma has to offer and decides whether or not it would be a worthy addition to a home theater.

The first of Panasonic's 2011 HDTVs have arrived, many of which are lower-priced entry-level models. The X3 Series is Panasonic's entry-level plasma line, and it includes screen sizes of 42 and 50 inches. We have not performed a hands-on review of the TC-P50X3, but here is an overview of its features. The 50-inch TC-P50X3 is a 2D-only plasma with a 1024 x 768 resolution. It does not use the Infinite Black 2 panel found on higher-end Panasonic plasma models, but it does include 600Hz Sub-field Drive to improve motion resolution. It is wireless-ready, with the addition of an optional USB adapter. This TV does not have the full VIERA Connect Web platform that will appear on many step-up 2011 models; instead, it has Panasonic's basic Web platform, dubbed Easy IPTV, that includes the six most popular services: Netflix, Amazon VOD, Napster, Pandora, CinemaNow, and Facebook. It can also receive streamed content from DLNA media servers.

Additional Resources
• Read more plasma HDTV reviews by the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Explore Blu-ray player option is our Blu-ray Player Review section.
• Look for some low-profile on-wall speakers to complement the TC-P50X3 plasma.

The TC-P50X3's connection panel includes two HDMI inputs, one component video input, and one RF input to access the internal ATSC and Clear-QAM tuners. There's no PC (D-sub 15-pin) input. On the side panel, you'll find two USB ports and an SD card reader that support media playback. The USB ports also support the addition of a keyboard and/or WiFi adapter; you can also use the back-panel Ethernet port for a wired network connection. The TC-P50X3 lacks a control port like RS-232 for integration into an advanced control system.

As an entry-level TV, the TC-P50X3 includes basic picture adjustments but lacks advanced options like precise white balance, gamma, and full color management. Picture settings include five picture modes, five color-temperature presets, noise reduction, and a C.A.T.S. feature that automatically adjusts the panel brightness based on ambient light. This model does offer the 24p Direct In mode, which lets you dictate whether to output 24p film content at 60 Hz (which involves 3:2 pulldown) or 48 Hz (which involves 2:2 pulldown and produces less judder); however, it does not offer the new Motion Smoother function that uses frame interpolation to produce smoother movement with film sources. The TC-P50X3 includes several features to prevent or counteract the effects of short-term image retention, including a pixel orbiter, a scrolling bar, and the option to use gray sidebars instead of black. The TC-P50X3 has five aspect-ratio options.

The audio setup menu includes bass, treble, and balance controls, as well as bass boost, a basic surround mode, an A.I Sound function that equalizes volume level across all channels and inputs, and a volume leveler that deals specifically with the external inputs.

The ECO menu includes options to turn off the TV when no signal is present or no activity occurs for a designated time period.

Read about the high points and the low points of the TC-P50X3 plasma on Page 2.

High Points
• The TC-P50X3 offers a wired or optional wireless network connection.
• Easy IPTV includes the hottest Web services, like Netflix, Amazon VOD, Pandora, and Facebook. The TV also supports DLNA streaming.
• You can attach a USB keyboard for faster text input with Easy IPTV.
• Plasma TVs generally have better viewing angles and motion resolution than LCDs.

Low Points
• The TC-P50X3 has a 720p resolution, not a 1080p resolution. It does not include the advanced picture adjustments you get with higher-end models.
• The connection panel has only two HDMI inputs and no PC input.
• This TV doesn't offer the more advanced VIERA Connect Web platform, with access to an apps store and additional Web services.
• It does not have integrated WiFi; the USB adapter is sold separately.
• It is not 3D-ready.

Competition and Comparison
Compare the Panasonic TC-P50X3 with its competition by reading the reviews for the LG 50PK750, Insignia NS-P502Q-10A, and Panasonic TC-P50S2. Learn more about plasma HDTVs by visiting our Plasma HDTV section.

Conclusion
In terms of its physical specs, the TC-P50X3 is a stripped-down panel, offering a 720p resolution and only two HDMI inputs. However, given its $799.95 MSRP, it does have a solid list of features, with Easy IPTV, DLNA streaming, and WiFi-readiness. If you're shopping for an affordable 50-inch HDTV that provides access to streaming video-on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon, then the TC-P50X3 is worth a look. Just keep in mind that you only have two HDMI inputs to work with--enough to accommodate your cable box and a Blu-ray/DVD player.

Additional Resources
• Read more plasma HDTV reviews by the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Explore Blu-ray player option is our Blu-ray Player Review section.
• Look for some low-profile on-wall speakers to complement the TC-P50X3 plasma.

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