Standard definition performance is also admirable, despite this being a large, Full HD panel. There is, of course a Freeview tuner built into the TH-46PZ80B, complete with a CI slot for adding subscription channels. If there’s one thing that’s consistent about Freeview, it’s that there is a plethora of channels employing the lowest quality bit rate, ensuring that your TV has to work very hard to piece together a decent image. Even this stern test didn’t seem to faze the TH-46PZ80B though, meaning that you can happily watch all those repeats of Top Gear on Dave.
The TH-46PZ80B features Viera Link technology, which is Panasonic’s take on CEC, but the company insists that Viera Link offers more features than standard CEC. One thing’s for certain though, if you choose to kit out your living room with Panasonic kit, Viera Link works a treat – controlling both the TV and the DMP-BD50 from a single remote control, definitely makes things simpler and cleaner, a situation that my wife would definitely welcome.
It’s probably a safe bet that anyone buying a 46in plasma TV is likely to have a sound system to go with it, but Panasonic has still ensured that the TH-46PZ80B can hold its own aurally. It certainly does its best to create a sense of drama and awe in during big action set pieces, but for me, that’s never the biggest problem with in-built speakers. I always find that dialogue is the weakest point, leaving the viewer to push the volume up to hear the characters speaking, only to be blasted back into the sofa during the next action sequence. Thankfully, this Panasonic manages to keep dialogue audible, even with the volume at a moderate level.
Considering how well this TV performs, it’s hard sometimes to remember that this is Panasonic’s entry level PZ plasma range, and it therefore carries a very attractive price point. It wasn’t long ago that the idea of a 46in Panasonic plasma for under £1,200 would have been pure fantasy, but the TH-46PZ80B can be had on the street for as little as £1,139! That makes it something of a bargain, and if you’re looking for a decent size plasma for your living room, this one should be high on your list.
This 46in plasma from Panasonic, may not be as cheap as the 50in LG 50PG6000, but it’s also a better TV. Considering the image quality and design, Panasonic has hit an amazing price point with the TH-46PZ80B. OK, so the black levels aren’t quite as deep as a Pioneer Kuro, but then it doesn’t cost anywhere near as much. Now that Panasonic has finally included proper 1080p 24Hz support, there’s very little that this TV can’t do. If you’ve got your heart set on a large plasma, this 46in Panasonic will fit the bill nicely.
Score in detail
Image Quality 9
Sound Quality 9