Panasonic Viera TX-P46Z1 46in Plasma TV - Panasonic Viera TX-P46Z1

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic Viera TX-P46Z1 46in Plasma TV


Our Score:


Rounding off the image's talents is the screen's highly impressive motion handling. If you're watching a Blu-ray, the P46Z1's 24p Smooth Film mode becomes active, and this really does do a terrific job of eradicating the judder from the picture that's such a feature of Panasonic's entry-level plasmas. Instead motion looks silky smooth without becoming unnatural - and processing glitches such as flickering edges are impressively rare.

It would have been nice, perhaps, if Panasonic had provided some way for you to adjust the 'heaviness' of the motion processing, to eradicate the artefacts completely. But overall I found myself more than happy to leave the processing permanently active. Mind you, even if you decide you don't like the processing, you can rest assured that the TV's native judder levels aren't at all bad anyway.

With non-24p sources, the 24p Smooth Film mode turns into Panasonic's Intelligent Frame Creation system, where again you only get options to switch it on or off rather than adjusting its power. But actually I detected even less processing side effects from this than I did with the 24p system, so the need to deactivate it or reduce its power is even less pressing.

One final comment concerns the TV's THX picture preset, which really does deliver a pretty superbly calibrated image for films - so long, at least, as your viewing room is reasonably dark. Having such a carefully created film preset preinstalled on the TV really is a boon for people not particularly confident about calibrating a screen themselves (though I probably wouldn't use it with PAL TV sources).

If you really pushed me to find any flaws in the P46Z1B's picture make up beyond the occasional processing glitches already mentioned, I might say that the occasional standard definition skin tone looks a touch plasticky and even slightly orange. But such moments are rare, and generally lost in the ocean of good stuff that's going on.

I'm duty-bound to report that my test screen irritatingly kept going into a reduced brightness 'no activity' mode while I was watching films or TV if I didn't touch the remote control, and I couldn't find an option in the onscreen menus to stop this happening. However, this apparent glitch only occurred if I switched to an HDMI input direct from using the VieraCast system, and could be rectified by simply switching the TV off and on again.

Anyway, however hard I look for trouble, the bottom line is that the P46Z1 is a truly sensational picture performer, delivering - especially with HD - KURO-beating picture quality of a standard Panasonic has only previously been able to produce on its megabucks professional or custom installation screens. And it does this, let's not forget, via a completely wireless and utterly stable connectivity system.

Even the P46Z1B's sound is excellent, with those side-mounted speakers producing a soundstage width and dynamic range way beyond anything you usually hear from a built-in speaker system, while also leaving dialogue sounding accurately locked to the correct parts of the picture.


The P46Z1 is a truly stunning television, combining cutting edge design and technology with professional-grade AV standards. To see one in action is to desperately want to own one.

The sad thing, of course, is that no matter how desperately we might want to own one, precious few of us will actually get the chance on account of its truly grimace-inducing £5,400 price. In fact, no matter how much I love this TV - and I really do love it - I just can't quite justify the price in today's ultra-competitive TV market.

Still, this is a statement TV from Panasonic aimed at people who want to make a statement. And from my experience, those sort of people nearly always have money to burn.

Simon J

June 8, 2009, 7:39 pm

Hmmm, very interesting review but that price is a big surprise. The best news is that Panasonic has finally manufactured a plasma, which matches if not betters in some areas the Pioneer Kuro. Whilst the lack of ultimate customisation will annoy the real enthusiasts, for my untrained eye, I just want a TV that does a great job straight out of the box and it seems this set just does that. The biggest disappointment for me, (especially when you consider the price) is the fact that the wireless modules are plug in accessories rather than built in units? I wonder what Panasonics reason for this was? Could it have been that the technology standards were not signed off in time to be build them in?

The fact that this wireless functionality is so bolt on, can you connect the media box to the TV with a cable such as a HDMI lead?

I now look forward to the TX-P50V10 review, which seems to have all the same technology as this panel but in one neat (if not slightly chubbier) package.

John Archer

June 8, 2009, 8:00 pm

Hi Simon

In Panasonic's defence, while it is irritating in some ways that the wirelessHD transmitter and receiver aren't built in to the multimedia box and screen respectively, I suspect it's because the system uses a beam-based delivery approach which needs to be able to beam and receive signals over a wider angle than would probably be possible using built-in components.

On other matters, since writing the review I've had further correspondence from Panasonic seemingly confirming that the issue I had whereby the picture dims unless you touch the remote every few minutes is a specific problem with my test unit, possibly caused by it not having the very latest firmware. At any rate, Panasonic's own engineers haven't been able to replicate the problem with any of the sets they have.


June 8, 2009, 8:25 pm

Nice review guys. Will you be testing a V10 set shortly?


June 9, 2009, 5:06 am

A silver TV? How very 1990s.


June 10, 2009, 8:33 pm

@ Stephen Allred. It might be very 1990s but as someone who's had enough of shiny black bezels of varying thickness, I think it's nice to see Panasonic do something different. I will take a look at this set first chance I get, but the price is a deal breaker for me, no matter how good the quality. It's the same with Sharp's 56" set. It looks amazing, even when switched off. But £9k? No way! Unless I win the £50m Euromillions this Friday, of course.


June 13, 2009, 10:43 pm

@Ninjakettle: According to Panasonic's press release, "In picture quality, the V series stands at the top of the VIERA 2009 product line." The panel technology and image processing in the V10 and the Z1 are the same. The Z1 is differentiated by speakers, cabinet design, and wireless HDMI. If TR gives the Z1 10/10 for image quality, then the V10 at 1/3rd the price should be a no-brainer! (Although I'd still be interested to see what they write.)

Rupert Henson

June 21, 2009, 2:22 am

From what i can make out apart from nicer styling and the wireless media box this tv is the same as the V10.

Picture quality is no different. Save your money people this is no Kuro beater.

If you're lucky you may be able to get a 9G KURO for less than half the price of this and it's a 50 incher.

If money is tight you can still get the fantastic V10 for less than a third of the price of the Z1. Panny has dropped a real clanger here!!


July 23, 2009, 1:39 am

I've seen this TV on a few sites and the best price so far is 2k, at this price I would expect the review would have scored higher than 6/10.

One TV in 2009 that may catch the eye of a few people is the new Philips 56PFL9954H. Philips have gone for a 2560x1080 pixel panel with 21:9 format. Not sure if the picture quality will match that of the panny or the KURO and I believe HD films are encoded at 1920x1080 pixels so may be a downside to this TV.

Geoff Richards

July 23, 2009, 4:15 am

@KDY - where have you seen a Z1 for £2,000?? It's quite a bit more than that.

We have already reviewed the Philips you mentioned: http://www.trustedreviews.c...

Incidentally, KURO's are back in stock (despite being discontinued, which is a bit weird) http://shopping.trustedrevi...


July 23, 2009, 4:52 pm

It's on 1st audiovisual but not in stock until 27/07, considering buying one - http://www.1staudiovisual.c...

Jan Andersen

August 13, 2009, 5:44 pm

Nice review, but missed the rantiglare - how is the % of reflektion on this plasma ?

Can one use it in daylight, or is it a night-only TV set ?

Ulrik Rasmussen

August 20, 2009, 6:47 pm

I just saw the 46" Z11 in the shop (Z11 is the same tv but w/o the wireless feature which don't need and I don't like the look of the little attachment to the TV). Must admit I was sold by the picture and looks of the TV, my only question is whether Panasonic have made a 'slim' wall mount for the TV to do the slim design justice? (like Samssung have done for their ultra slim LED's)

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