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

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


The colour problems noted earlier are mostly restricted to standard definition again - especially low-quality standard definition, such as outdoor news broadcasts. With this sort of material, skin tones tend to look a bit over-cooked, reds can look a bit orange, and some shades of green can look radioactive. Especially if you make the mistake of sticking with the Normal picture preset you might imagine to be the best option for basic TV viewing.

Thankfully - very thankfully - all of the problems just detailed vanish in the blink of an eye when you switch the TV to play back a Blu-ray disc and select the TV's Cinema or THX presets.

Colours, for instance, suddenly become remarkably natural and consistently totally believable, with even tricky low-lit skin tones no longer giving cause for concern.

It does no harm to the image's sudden new-found colour precision, either, that the Cinema preset introduces new Gamma adjustment options as well as fine-tuning of the high and low red and blue elements of the white balance.

The image's sharpness levels and detail presentation also snap into focus to mesmerising effect with Blu-ray sources, revealing all the customary minutiae we love to see from our HD sources without - and this is key - detail being over-egged to the point where images look unnaturally noisy and forced.

If you use the Cinema preset with the 24P Smooth Film mode selected, you can also remove almost all judder from Blu-ray images, further improving their clarity. This mode can, it has to be said, also produce some minor and sporadic processing glitches, but for me these are less distracting than the judder that sometimes materialises during camera pans.

With this in mind it's perhaps surprising that the THX mode doesn't actually allow you to turn Panasonic's motion-compensation circuitry on. But on reflection this does make sense, for THX's driving interest is to have the TV reproduce images so that they look as close as possible to how they would have looked in the cinema. And the fluidity visibility with the 24p Smooth Motion mode active does not by any means replicate the 24fps experience of a celluloid film experience.

For that reason there will understandably be many purists who stick always with the THX preset - and I'd have no argument with that whatsoever. All I'd say is that the de-juddering option opened up by the Cinema mode at least warrants a trial run before you completely dismiss it.


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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