Panasonic Viera TX-P54Z1 54in Plasma TV - Panasonic Viera TX-P54Z1

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


We're still by no means done with the P54Z1's fancy stuff yet, either. For instance, it also has what Panasonic likes to call 600Hz processing - though actually, using this name is rather debatable. For the screen doesn't actually refresh its output 600 times a second, but rather derives its 600 figure from the addition of extra 'sub-fields' of image data. Still, we've seen the system hugely reduce the judder problem commonly noted with plasma TVs before, so we're sure it will do the same again here.

Next on the seemingly endless list of intriguing features is Viera Cast: Panasonic's online service. I won't go into detail on this again here, as we've now covered it numerous times before. Suffice it to say that it's a well-presented system offering ring-fenced access to such key third-party content as YouTube, Picasa and Eurosport.

Other little bits and bobs of note include the facility to fine-tune the white balance when using the THX preset; a 24p Smooth Film processing mode that automatically kicks in when Blu-ray playback is detected (unless you're in THX mode); JPEG, AVCHD and DivX playback via a built-in SD card slot; and the frame-inserting IFC mode that replaces Smooth Film when you're watching normal TV sources.

With more and more LCD and LED TVs doing more and more exciting things in the past couple of months, I initially found myself startled to feel a touch disappointed with the P54Z1's picture performance. But thankfully, while there are certainly issues with the TV's picture you need to be aware of, it didn't take too long before I fell under the familiar Panasonic spell. At least while watching HD films…

The reasons for my initial disappointment with the P54Z1 are three-fold. First, there's a general lack of brightness vs LED and LCD TVs, at least when the image is calibrated to really movie-friendly levels. Second, some sources can look really quite soft. And finally, colours sometimes suffer with some seriously off-beat tones.

The brightness problem is, of course, not really a huge issue if you can manage to get your viewing environment looking pretty dark - though at the same time the lack of verve can deny some images the punch they might enjoy with a fine LCD or especially LED TV.

The softness, meanwhile, occurs when watching standard definition pictures, and, more troublingly, when playing HD console games. A bit of softness on a 54in screen when showing Freeview/Freesat standard definition programmes really is quite forgivable - in fact, some might even find it quite desirable given the way it can hide noise inherent in a source. But the curiously soft look I experienced while playing Resident Evil 5 on my Xbox 360 - even using the provided Game picture preset - is harder to explain, and harder to ignore.


August 26, 2009, 12:52 pm

I totally agree with your verdict.

Is any TV worth £4,500?


August 26, 2009, 1:54 pm

@Techno22: Worth £4,500? Not when the vastly cheaper V10 series has the same panel and image processing. You are paying a huge premium for a flagship TV with fancy styling, not for technical advances.

But... the fact that the V10 delivers the same picture quality for a fraction of the price certainly makes the V10 look a bargain!


August 26, 2009, 2:05 pm


I thought the Sony 55" X4500 was expensive, but even that can be found for £3500-3700 depending on where you look. That also received 10/10 for PQ no?

I hope Sony have a new RGB LED TV in the works, I know white LEDs are cheaper, but I would love to see a G3 RGB LED TV from them, the improvement from G1 (Qualia 005) to G2 (X4500) was massive. It would be a shame for them to drop the only display tech worth a damn, but I suppose the recession effects even the best of intentions...


August 27, 2009, 2:18 am

Panasonic's 46in P46Z1 price of £5,400.

two months later,... the 54in version it going for £4,500 - a cool £900 less

Makes you wonder what better interest rates might have done. Still, we now unemployed look on in dismay at the savings our glorious government and banking system have encouraged on our behalf. Still- I always did like window shopping!


August 27, 2009, 5:19 pm

Why the same score for value when the price is lower for a bigger screen?


September 20, 2009, 10:11 pm

Hi mr. Archer

First of all i want to thank you, for your splendid reviews.

I had the set installed a week ago. After having read your review here.

I thought my Sharp Aquos 46in XL1 LCD was good, only too small.

Now i know better. Never saw any Picture like this. Blu-Ray with such detail, the Picture so clear und still (judderfree) all the time. In my opinion the set is worth each penny, but unfortunately also too small for me. Actually the set is a temporary replacement for the 65in P65V10 until that becomes available at my local dealer. As the Picture should be the same i am really looking forward to this oversize joy of the 65in. I must say i wonder why you mr. Archer are displeased with the SD Quality of the 54Z1.

SD is not HD (wiseguy i know ;-) but at 54in i am more than pleased with the quality of the SD Picture. The channels which have higher bitrates are looking very good indeed.

The channels with the lowest bitrates are still enjoyable.

And of course, feeding a display like this with analogue SD is like a pizza without cheese. Both are big misundertandings.

Had to express how pleased i am with this set, as i think the review sounds a tad to negative for the outstanding performance i have been withnessing so far.

Best Regards

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