Review Price free/subscription
Panasonic Viera TH-50PX600 50in plasma
The only problem with the Panasonic 37in TH-37PX600 we looked at a few weeks ago was that there just wasn’t enough of it. Which is why we’re cockahoop – whatever the hell that means – to have our grubby mitts this week on its much bigger sibling, the 50in TH-50PX600. If the picture talents that made the 37in model so special can stretch themselves as far as 50in, we could have something truly special on our hands.
Not that it looks anything particularly special. There’s still just too much plasticky greyness going on for comfort. That said, spend a few extra bob investing in Panny’s floorstanding cabinet option for this TV and the design suddenly sparks into life, as the style emphasis suddenly shifts from the colour scheme to the TV’s impressive slenderness.
Connectivity needs no ‘accessorising’ to win our hearts, though. The first thing that leaps out is the presence of two HDMI inputs, permitting simultaneous connection of, say, an HD-DVD/Blu-ray player and a Sky HD receiver. An impressive three Scarts show that Panny hasn’t forgotten the ‘standard definition’ things in life either, while other highlights include component video jacks; a D-Sub PC interface; a CI slot where you can put conditional access cards for receiving subscription digital TV services; and an SD card slot for direct playback of digital stills.
Actually, deeper investigation reveals that the SD card slot does rather more than that. For it can also play or even record MPEG4 movies, meaning the potential is there for you to record a TV show onto an SD card for later viewing on a portable video device on your way to work! Needless to say, such a nod to our love of all things gadgety is just fine by us.
The HDMIs, too, have an extra string to their bow: HDAVI. This is a new system that enables the 50PX600’s HDMI sockets to enjoy enhanced, two-way ‘system building’ communication with compatible Panasonic devices like its latest range of DIGA digital recorders. In an ideal world HDAVI wouldn’t just work with Panny-branded stuff, allowing you to build your AV system using whatever brand of gear you wanted. But such an egalitarian approach was never really likely to happen when there’s money to be made from tempting people into ‘all-Panasonic’ systems.