Particularly eye-catching on such a vast screen is how sharp and textured the picture looks while watching high definition. All the effort Panasonic has put into its picture processing results in stunningly fine colour blends, largely noise-free textures and edges, and a general crispness that’s rare on any plasma TV, never mind one this large.
The picture also has bags of cinematic drama, by which we mean that it reaches extraordinary black level depths by flat TV standards while also portraying bright parts of the picture with plenty of vibrancy. This works wonders on games too, with the Willamette Mall in Dead Rising on the Xbox 360 looking particularly fine.
Actually, the black level part of the above equation is arguably the most impressive we’ve seen on a big-screen flat TV – especially as the profound blackness of dark areas isn’t achieved at the expense of the sort of shadow details that make dark scenes believable and ‘three-dimensional’.
Colours, meanwhile, benefit from a superbly expansive palette, meaning you get natural, unforced tones covering more of the colour spectrum than is common in the flat TV world.
Chuck in on top of all these glories superbly clean motion handling and standard definition pictures far more watchable than is usual for a 50in TV, and Panasonic clearly has another plasma winner on its hands.
Things are not completely perfect, mind. Some big LCDs, for instance, look slightly more detailed with HD. Some LCDs can also look slightly more aggressively vibrant – though this usually comes at the price of some less authentic colour tones. And finally, if you watch the 50PX600 from an angle, you occasionally become aware of a ‘ghost’ image offset from the main one, caused by the use – common in the plasma world – of two separate sheets of glass in the screen construction. Even added together, though, the 50PX600’s niggles are punily insignificant versus all the good stuff its pictures have got going on.
There’s plenty of good stuff going on with the TV’s audio too, which presents a bold, punchy soundstage that delivers ample bass and treble extremes wrapped around an open, natural mid-range.
This is quite simply the finest 50in TV we’ve seen to date. Need we say more?