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Panasonic Viera TX-P50X10 50in Plasma TV - Panasonic Viera TX-P50X10
In action, the P50X10 generally - though not completely - reinforces the strengths and weaknesses I noted with the smaller P37X10.
Starting with the weaknesses, the P50X10 shares the colour issues noted with the P37X10. Tones sometimes - quite often, actually - don't look entirely natural or convincing, especially when watching standard definition. Reds and skin tones can look a bit orange, for instance, and greens occasionally look rather sickly too, especially during dark scenes.
The set also tends to judder a little when watching 24p sources. Not excessively, but enough to catch your eye during slow camera pans such as those on show during the opening credits of Casino Royale on Blu-ray.
I did not, however, feel a lack of brightness in the P50X10's pictures as much as I did with the P37X10. This may simply be down to the fact that the bigger screen dominates a greater chunk of my retina, making its image seem more striking. Or maybe the greater number of pixels tucked away inside the screen helps it produce more light. But to be honest, who cares. All that really matters is that the picture looks more eye-catching and dynamic.
I'd also say that the P50X10's HD pictures look a touch sharper than those of the smaller P37X10. Obviously, larger screens tend to deliver more impact from HD, but I don't believe this explains the full extent of the sharpness improvement. It seems likely to me that the screen's higher pixel count is helping out too, particularly when it comes to picking out really fine details like facial pores or convincingly portraying subtle colour blends.
There is, perhaps, a tiny price to pay for the extra sharpness of the P50X10 in the form of a marginally grittier look to HD fare. But this is seldom if ever distracting, and could even appeal to the 'grain is more cinematic' school of thought.
Strengths the P50X10 has in common with its smaller plasma sibling, meanwhile, inevitably kick off with the screen's excellent black level response. Panasonic has long been one of the finest proponents of this key plasma advantage, and their experience shines through yet again here, enabling the screen to reproduce dark scenes with an authority, naturalism and depth that no standard (as in, non LED) LCD can challenge.
It's worth pointing out, too, that despite suffering a little judder, the P50X10 still leaves motion looking sharper and more detailed than the vast majority of LCD TVs, thanks to both its 100Hz processing and the fact that unlike LCD, plasma technology doesn't suffer with any significant response time issues.