Panasonic TH-50VX100W plasma television

This home theatre plasma panel is infinitely adjustable and delivers supreme picture quality

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Panasonic TH-50VX100W
  • Expert Rating

    4.75 / 5

Pros

  • Exceptional picture quality, lots of settings to tweak

Cons

  • Requires expert calibration for best picture, expensive, no speakers

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a plasma television that’s even more amazing than Pioneer’s KURO series, Panasonic’s Premiere Series TVs should be your port of call.

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Panasonic’s Premiere Series plasma panels, the 50in TH-50VX100W and 65in TH-65VX100W, provide exceptional picture quality. However, installation is more of a hassle than with most TVs. If you’re going to the trouble of setting up a home theatre, though, the TH-50VX100W is a great choice.

The VX100W series plasma televisions are a paragon of durability and quality design. A sturdy metal shell and body mean that they should definitely stand the test of time. There is a downside: at least two people are required to lift the TV, and your wall mount will have to cope with the Panasonic TH-50VX100W’s 37kg weight. The matte, dark grey bezel is pleasantly thin, while the wide stand means that the television is always stable — even if it is a throwback to the Panasonic TH-50PZ850A’s, which we think looks slightly dorky. Two handles are integrated into the rear of the body to help when moving.

What’s more important than a television’s physical design is the connectivity it provides. Being at the pinnacle of Panasonic’s line-up, we were surprised to find a very select range of inputs for both digital and analog devices. Two sets of HDMI inputs as well as a single component and D-Sub VGA ports are all you get. However it’s likely it will be used with an A/V receiver, which will handle multiple inputs, so you'll probably only need a single HDMI connection to the TV.

Picture quality from the Panasonic TH-50VX100W is exceptional; we’d place it easily on par (or even above) Pioneer’s top KURO models like the KURO PDP-C509A and the KURO PDP-LX609A. It’s not as jaw-dropping in its default settings, but once you've tweaked the many picture settings available the image quality and accuracy will be amazing.

Any aspect of the television’s image is able to be altered; indeed, it’s designed to be set up by a qualified ISF calibrator as part of its initial installation. We’re not nearly at that level of expertise, but suffice to say the adjustability offered is far superior to that of even premium mainstream models.

The panel itself is a competent one, with a colour gamut covering 120 per cent of the HDTV colour standard. This means the television has the ability to be colour-perfect and accurate when calibrated, for situations such as broadcast studio work where this is important. For the enthusiast, it means you’re able to view colours from your high-definition source material exactly as intended.

An 18-bit colour processor and 6144 steps of colour gradation mean that in addition to being accurate and precise, smooth gradients of colour are perfectly represented. This means that there are no instances of banding or compression in gradients of sky, for example.

No speakers are built in to the Panasonic TH-50VX100W. This isn’t necessarily a negative point, as we expect the majority of installations to be based around a competent set of stereo or surround-sound speakers. There are two sets of speaker terminals on the rear of the television that provide a direct powered connection to suitable speakers, but we don’t envisage these being used when the television is hooked up to an A/V receiver.

It's also important to note that the TH-50VX100W does not include a television tuner internally — we used the Panasonic DMR-BW850 Blu-ray disc recorder in our testing, which has a dual high definition tuner.

The Panasonic TH-50VX100W is in a different league to Pioneer’s best and brightest. While the Pioneer models are already set up for great viewing, Panasonic’s approach requires a little more effort but it's worth it.

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