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

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


One final massive strength of the P54Z1 that suddenly explodes into your consciousness with Blu-ray playback is its black level response. For while I'd felt strangely unmoved by this aspect of the TV's pictures with standard def, with a good Blu-ray film I'm suddenly seeing black levels deeper and more tonally neutral than anything Panasonic has managed before (except for the P46Z1!).

By tonally neutral, by the way, I mean black colours are hardly infused at all with the slightly green flavour noted with some screens lower down Panasonic's plasma hierarchy.

To sum all this high definition glory up, I'd say that the P54Z1 produces the most cinematic pictures we've seen since Pioneer's KURO TVs - and you can't say fairer than that. Especially when you consider that the quality we're describing is coming via a wireless AV delivery system.

The fairly hefty 'bolt-on' speakers Panasonic does with the P54Z1, meanwhile, work hard to ensure that the blissful Blu-ray film experience is joined by some tip-top audio. The audio from a good film mix fills even a large room, without sounding harsh, imprecise or muddy, while dialogue sounds clean and real. There's even a reasonable amount of bass to be heard, and that's certainly not something you get with your average super-slim TV.


Another day, another TV that's got me feeling conflicted.

Having finished my testing with a few Blu-ray discs, I'm still basking in the warm glow of the P54Z1's truly exceptional HD movie performance. And yes, I've been at least a bit seduced by the extraordinarily skinny design and extremely effective WirelessHD technology.

But forcing myself into a more sober reflection on my experience with the P54Z1 as a whole recalls those sometimes underwhelming standard definition images - which look slightly worse than they did on the P46Z1 because of the P54Z1's extra screen size. And then there's that £4,500 price tag to consider. This is a price so high, of course, that it actually makes the now £2,500-odd asking price of Pioneer's 50in KRP-500A look cheap. And while the Panasonic arguably matches that legendary Pioneer with Blu-ray playback, the Pioneer is for me a more consistent picture all-rounder.

So unless you're desperate for the Panasonic's extra 4in of pictures, slim/metallic design or wireless technology, the Pioneer is arguably the more sensible buy. If you can get hold of one before they disappear forever, of course…


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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