Standard definition material is often a problem for very large screens, especially ones with a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. However, the TH-58PZ700 was surprisingly impressive when it came to standard definition content. Firing up The Bourne Identity DVD (yes I’m a fan of the films) produced a reasonably crisp and clear image, with little in the way of shimmer. I compared this to the HD DVD version of the same film, and although the difference was obviously stark, the standard DVD print was very watchable on this TV.
Sound is also very impressive, with Panasonic clearly making good use of the large cabinet that houses this huge screen. The TH-58PZ700 creates a wide and full soundstage and handles big action scenes with aplomb. It’s just as at home with subtle effects though, so if you’re not looking to blow the roof off with the latest action blockbuster, this TV will serve you just as well. All that said, I can’t help but think that anyone who buys a 58in TV will have a full surround sound system in their room, but it never hurts to have a good set of speakers.
A TV this size was never going to be cheap, but at around £2,990 including VAT and delivery, it’s not that expensive either. When you consider that the 60in Pioneer KURO PDP-LX608D costs around £2,000 more than this Panasonic, it looks like an absolute bargain. OK, so the Pioneer is a truly stunning TV, and nothing can match the KUROs when it comes to black levels, but you’ll need very deep pockets to invest in one of Pioneer’s new babies. Even the 63in Samsung PS-63P76FD plasma is over £500 more than this Panasonic, and that TV is definitely a bit of a steal. If you choose to go with Panasonic’s undeniably cool stand, then that will push the price up a fair bit, but even then the TH-58PZ700 looks like good value.
The Panasonic TH-58PZ700 is very large TV at a very reasonable price. Yes, almost £3,000 is a lot for a TV, but value for money isn’t about a price tag, it’s about what you’re getting for that price, and here you’re getting a lot. The picture quality from this Full HD panel is superb, and unless you really know what you’re looking for, you’re unlikely to notice that converts 1080p 24Hz signals to 60Hz.
Black levels are solid, as I’d expect from any Panasonic plasma, while colours are rich and vivid. Even the sound is top notch by flat TV standards. If you’re looking for a first rate, large screen TV, the TH-58PZ700 should tick most of your boxes without breaking the bank.
Score in detail
Image Quality 9
Sound Quality 9