Panasonic TH-50PZ850U Plasma HDTV Reviewed

By |

Page 1 Page 2

Panasonic-TH-50PZ850U.jpgThis 50-inch, 1080p HDTV hails from Panasonic's top-shelf 2008 line, the 850 Series (the line also includes 46-, 58-, and 65-inch models). This series' distinguishing feature over other Panasonic lines is the inclusion of Viera Cast Web technology; thanks to the inclusion of an Ethernet port, you can connect this TV to your modem or router and access Web video from YouTube, photos from Picasa Web Album, stock information from Bloomberg, and weather forecasts. The 850 Series does not offer the THX certification you get in the step-down 800 Series; however, in the areas of connectivity and appearance, the two lines are quite similar.

Additional Resources
• Read more plasma HDTV reviews from
• Explore Blu-ray player options in out Blu-ray Player Review section.

The connection panel includes four HDMI, two component video, and one PC input, plus an RF input to access the internal ATSC, NTSC, and Clear-QAM tuners. The HDMI inputs accept both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 signals, and one HDMI input is located on the front panel for easy access. Also on the front panel is an SD card slot through which you can view digital photos and MPEG2/AVCHD video. The SD card reader is compatible with the GalleryPlayer system that lets you download professional artwork and photographs to an SD card for display on the screen. Picture-in-picture functionality is not available. Obviously, the 850 Series adds an Ethernet port for Viera Cast; it also adds RS-232 for integration into an advanced control system.

The TH-50PZ850U offers a more extensive assortment of picture controls than any of Panasonic's step-down 2008 models. There are five picture modes (vivid, standard, game, custom, and studio reference) and three preset color-temperature options (cool, normal, and warm). You lose the THX picture mode found in the 800 Series, but you gain the studio reference mode found in last year's 750 Series. Panasonic claims that this mode is configured to offer color reproduction that's similar to the reference monitors in editing studios. You also gain the Pro menu that offers more advanced picture controls, including the ability to precisely adjust white balance, panel brightness, contour emphasis, and gamma. Video, block, and mosquito noise reduction are available, and the TH-50PZ850U adds a feature called Digital Cinema Color that lets you choose between two color spaces. New to this year's models is a 24p Direct In mode that lets you dictate whether to output 24p content at 60 Hz (which involves 3:2 pulldown) or 48 Hz (which involves 2:2 pulldown and produces less judder). There is no "smooth" mode that uses frame interpolation to render that super-smooth motion that some people love. This year, Panasonic has added features to prevent or counteract the effects of short-term image retention, including an image orbiter, a scrolling bar, and the option to use gray sidebars instead of black. The TH-50PZ850U offers five aspect-ratio options for HD and SD sources, and you can configure it to display a 1080i/1080p image with no overscan.

Read about the high points and the low points of the TH-50PZ850U on Page 2.

  • Comment on this article

Post a Comment
comments powered by Disqus

HTR Product Rating for Panasonic TH-50PZ850U Plasma HDTV

Criteria Rating







Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


Dec 08
THX and Monoprice Team Up to Deliver New Headphone Amps THX and Monoprice have teamed up to offer two new DAC/headphone amplifier designs, based on THX's AAA technology. Part of...
THX and Monoprice Team Up to Deliver New Headphone Amps

Dec 07
Parasound Introduces the ZoneMaster 2350 Stereo Amplifier The latest addition to Parasound's ZoneMaster line, the new 2350 stereo amplifier is rated at 350 watts per channel into...
Parasound Introduces the ZoneMaster 2350 Stereo Amplifier

Dec 06
Klipsch Introduces the Reference RF-7 III Tower Speaker Klipsch has added a new passive tower speaker to its Reference Series. The RF-7 III ($1,799 each) features a new...
Klipsch Introduces the Reference RF-7 III Tower Speaker

Dec 05
Puro Sound Labs Debuts JuniorJams Wireless, Volume-Limiting Headphones Puro Sound Labs has introduced a new volume-limited wireless headphone targeted at kids. Like other Puro Sound offerings, the JuniorJams...
Puro Sound Labs Debuts JuniorJams Wireless, Volume-Limiting Headphones

Dec 04
New Philips Roku HDTVs Hit the Market Back in mid-November, Roku announced that a new line of Philips-branded TVs would feature the Roku TV OS, and now...
New Philips Roku HDTVs Hit the Market