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Panasonic Viera TX-P50S10 50in Plasma TV - Panasonic Viera TX-P50S10
Settling down to watch the P50S10 strutt its stuff, pictures for the most part turn out to be pretty much exactly as I'd expected them to look.
For instance, as is almost de rigueur with a Panasonic plasma TV, the set's black level response is first rate. The night skies providing the background to the gory goings on of 30 Days of Night look way darker than they do on any standard LCD screen we can think of - and even many plasma rivals, come to that. What's more, the lack of the customary grey mist hanging over black hues enables the TV to produce lots more shadow detailing than most flat TVs, helping dark scenes achieve a more credible sense of three-dimensional space.
I should stress that the black levels aren't for my money as dramatically black as those now being produced by the best LED TVs out there, but that doesn't stop them from being hugely impressive for such an affordable big TV.
The potency of the P50S10's black level response is also enhanced a little by the screen's decent brightness and vibrancy, considering this TV doesn't use the new NeoPDP technology. I found the 42in S10 plasma model a little dull overall, but for some reason - possibly just the extra screen size - I didn't feel that the P50S10's pictures looked nearly so muted, even after being accurately calibrated.
The P50S10 follows Panasonic tradition by being an unusually accomplished standard definition performer, too. Particularly impressive is the way the TV manages to upscale grubby, noise-strewn source material to its Full HD screen without leaving it looking like the blocky, smeary, artificial mess witnessed with more rival Full HD flatscreen TVs than we care to mention.
It's notable, too, that the P50S10 doesn't lose colour integrity with standard definition sources as drastically as we see with many LCD rivals.
Other great things about the P50S10's pictures include the way you can watch them from extreme angles without any significant loss of colour saturation or black level, and the way the IFC system delivers its promised reduction in judder without throwing up the sort of shimmering, flickering side effects seen on some previous incarnations.