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Panasonic Viera TX-P58V10 58in Plasma TV - Panasonic Viera TX-P58V10
The more observant of you may have noticed that I mentioned Freesat a couple of paragraphs ago. For the P58V10 is, as we'd expect given its near-top position on Panasonic's TV 'ladder', equipped with a built-in Freesat HD tuner.
This sits alongside Freeview and - shudder - analogue tuners, covering the gamut of free-to-air TV options currently available in the UK. And all the brave new digital channels the TV brings you are tucked away within reasonably tidy electronic programme guides.
While the P58V10's raw size, Freesat tuner and multimedia capabilities go some way towards explaining its slightly hefty-looking price tag, though, I still feel as if it needs to go a bit further still before I'll be truly satisfied on the value front.
Cue the set's video processing engine, which uses Panasonic's Intelligent Frame Creation interpolation technology to produce a claimed 600Hz picture. In other words, the interpolation technology adds enough sub-frames to the original image to create 600 different images a second. It's important to stress that the P58V10's panel does not actually refresh itself 600 times a second, as we'd usually expect to be the case when we're talking about a 'Hz' figure on a TV.
Panasonic's V-Real Pro 4 video processing engine is on hand to deal with other aspects of the picture, such as noise reduction, scaling and colour, and the set also enjoys Panasonic's Digital Cinema Colour system, designed to recreate a colour range close to that seen in commercial digital cinemas.
One final noteworthy feature is the P58V10's THX certification, showing that George Lucas' 'quality control' outfit reckon the screen has got what it takes to deliver home cinema perfection. In fact, the set even boasts a THX preset, featuring image settings reckoned to produce the most movie-like experience. And if there's one thing the P58V10 certainly can do, it's produce a movie-like experience.
As we've noted before, stepping as high up Panasonic's range as you can really does reap considerable performance dividends this year, and the P58V10 reaffirms this belief in emphatic fashion. For while the images from the G series, which rests one rung further down the Panasonic plasma ladder, are good, those from the P58V10 are in a different class.
The main reason for this is the P58V10's much better colour response. Some of Panasonic's lower-level TVs haven't blown me away with their colour tones this year, with green or orange undertones creeping into pictures. But, possibly thanks to the Digital Cinema Colour engine, the P58V10's colours during HD viewing are really terrific; natural, subtly blended, yet also vibrant in a way we don't often see with plasma technology. With such a terrific colour palette on display, it's really no surprise that THX decided to get involved with the P58V10.
It has to be said that the colour palette can look a touch forced sometimes when you switch to standard definition, but it doesn't take much effort to tweak the TV's settings to calm this problem down to an acceptable level.