The large-screen HDTV area continues to be owned by rear-projection fashions, however with each passing 12 months flat-panel variations, particularly plasmas, fall in value and turn into enticing targets for folk in search of huge residence theater footage. However costs have not fallen far sufficient but for most individuals, so for the foreseeable future big-screen plasmas just like the Panasonic TH-58PZ800U will stay playthings of the wealthy. If you happen to can afford it, nevertheless, this HDTV gives compelling causes to go flat other than bragging rights and the potential of wall-mounting. These causes revolve round image high quality, from deep black ranges and extremely correct colour to the type of uniformity and viewing-angle efficiency that places rear-projection fashions to disgrace. Sure, once more Pioneer’s Elite plasmas delivered higher efficiency total than this, Panasonic’s greatest plasma for 2008, however for all however probably the most ardent videophiles the additional value to go Elite will not be value it.
Editors’ observe, October 13, 2008: The overview initially indicated that the 58-inch TH-58PZ800U shares the identical “single pane of glass” design discovered on the 50-inch TH-50PZ800U. That’s incorrect; it has a conventional bezel raised about 1/4-inch from the display screen.
The huge Panasonic has an unassuming look that differentiates itself considerably by advantage of a barely curved decrease edge that varieties the underside of a form of decrease lip. Coloured charcoal gray to distinction with the remainder of the shiny black panel, the decrease part bears the corporate emblem and THX moniker and hiding a set of inputs behind a flip-down door and audio system within the crease of the lip.
The stand appears equivalent to the sloped quantity discovered on different 2008 Panasonic plasmas, however not like the stand included on the 50-inch mannequin, this one does not swivel. Together with stand, the huge TH-58PZ800U measures 56.9 inches huge by 37.4 inches tall by 16.2 inches deep and weighs 136.9 kilos; divested of stand its measurement shrinks to 56.9 inches huge by 35.4 inches tall by 4.3 inches deep and its weight to 128.1 kilos. That is quite a lot of weight to be hanging in your wall, so we suggest utilizing knowledgeable installer if you wish to go that route.
Panasonic’s distant management stays the identical as final 12 months, and we stay followers of its structure. The medium-length wand teams the distinct units of right-size buttons in an easy-to-feel association, and though we might have favored to see some backlighting, we did not actually miss it after a couple of minutes of changing into accustomed to the button association.
A well-recognized yellow-on-blue menu system results in the tv’s setup features, and though the graphics lack the panache of a Sony or a Samsung menu, navigation was intuitive sufficient. We favored that the corporate renamed its beforehand complicated “Regular” command to “Reset,” which extra precisely describes what it does to your image settings.
THX Show Certification heads the record of step-up options on the TH-58PZ800U. The certification requires minimal requirements in various classes, reminiscent of distinction ratio and colour accuracy, though THX is characteristically silent as to the precise particulars of these requirements. The TH-58PZ800U has a particular image preset that, when engaged, causes the TV’s image to adjust to the certification. We’ll element its results within the Efficiency part, and we describe extra concerning the certification itself on this weblog submit.
Like each different image mode, THX on the Panasonic could be adjusted utilizing the TV’s image controls.
Like most plasmas in Panasonic’s 2008 lineup, the TH-58PZ800U has a local decision of 1,920×1,080 pixels, or 1080p, which is quick changing into a typical function on all flat-panel HDTVs, particularly ones this massive.
Image controls on the TH-58PZ800U aren’t as in depth as seen on many higher-end HDTVs. Whereas we appreciated the flexibility to regulate the entire 5 image modes, together with THX, and the truth that the Customized mode is impartial per enter, we could not regulate colour temperature past the three presets.
Superior image controls on the TH-58PZ800U embody a colour administration management that we left off in THX mode; a “C.A.T.S.” mode that modifications distinction on the fly and so needs to be left turned off; two species of noise discount, and a black stage management. In case you are questioning, the step-up TH-PZ850U collection collection does embody adjustable colour temperature and a number of different image tweaks, though it lacks THX certification.
The Superior image menu comprises a smattering of image controls however not almost as many as some competing high-end HDTVs.
Panasonic additionally touts Recreation mode, which seems to be little greater than a simple strategy to choose a selected enter. A fast press of the “Recreation” button on the distant toggles between any of the inputs that you’ve got labeled “Recreation” utilizing the enter naming menu. Urgent that button doesn’t interact the Recreation image mode (which is just one other assortment of adjustable image settings) nor does it have an effect on video processing or lag time between controller and screen–although, to be truthful, such modes on different HDTVs have little worth so far as we will inform.
The TH-58PZ800U gives 5 facet ratio controls for HD sources, greater than most HDTVs available on the market. There’s additionally a setting, known as “HD Measurement 2,” that lets the TV show each pixel of 1080i and 1080p sources with out overscan or scaling. We suggest utilizing Measurement 2 except you discover interference alongside the intense edges of the display screen, which might happen on some HD sources. Sadly, deciding on the THX image mode does not routinely interact Measurement 2; you need to go right into a separate menu merchandise to take action. We would desire HD Measurement 2 to be the default for all modes, or no less than out there among the many normal number of facet ratios versus buried in a setup menu. A number of 5 modes can also be out there for SD sources.
A brand new menu for 2008 offers with burn-in or, as the corporate calls it, “picture retention.” There is a pixel orbiter that strikes your complete picture progressively across the display screen, together with an choice to set the 4:3 mode to incorporate grey bars to both facet of the image (versus black, which trigger picture retention extra simply than grey). On the off likelihood that the plasma retains a picture, there is a scrolling bar that slides throughout the display screen as a form of eraser.
We’d have favored to see an energy-saver mode on this TV, however it does embody one good additional that actually helps ameliorate energy consumption–for a value. If you first plug in and arrange the TV, it asks you whether or not you are in a retailer or residence setting. Selecting “residence” engages the Commonplace image preset by default throughout the entire inputs, which saves fairly a little bit of energy over the Vivid preset. This financial savings is mirrored in our “=”” rel=”comply with”>Juice Field measurements, the place default was measured in Commonplace mode.
Sadly, Commonplace measures a vanishingly dim 6.8 footlamberts max gentle output (23.2 cd/m-squared), whereas we take into account 40 the usual for a very darkish room. Brighter rooms name for even greater gentle output. Participating normal produced a boring image that we take into account insufficient for a TV of this stage, and anybody who cares about image high quality will probably keep away from utilizing normal, and naturally use extra energy. The Juice Field numbers for Calibrated extra precisely mirror the true energy consumption for this TV.
The Panasonic TH-58PZ800U lacks picture-in-picture, however it does embody a considerate “Surf Mode” management, which could be set to limit the TV’s tuning choices. You possibly can set it to “all,” “favourite,” “digital solely,” or “analog solely.”
The Panasonic’s again panel contains three HDMI, two component-video and one PC enter, amongst others.
The jack pack of the TH-58PZ800U is as well-equipped as any high-end HDTV we have seen, beginning with three HDMI inputs on the again panel and a fourth out there out entrance. A VGA-style PC enter can also be onboard (1366×760-pixel most decision), together with two part video inputs, an AV enter with composite or S-Video, an RF enter for antenna or cable, in addition to an optical and an analog audio output. Along with that final HDMI enter, the entrance panel additionally sports activities a second AV enter with composite and S-Video, in addition to an SD card slot for displaying digital images on the large display screen.
A fourth HDMI enter, together with an SD card slot, is obtainable behind a flip-down door on the entrance panel.
The Panasonic TH-58PZ800U produces the second-best total image high quality amongst flat-panel HDTVs we have examined this 12 months. Its black stage and colour accuracy examined a notch beneath these of the Pioneer PRO-111FD–a 50-inch plasma that we assume matches the efficiency of the 60-inch PRO-151FD–and a number of notches above anything we have seen in its class, together with the THX-certified 60-inch LG 60PG60.
With the comparatively few image controls on the TH-58PZ800U, our user-menu calibration took little or no time. The principle change, after deciding on THX mode, was to get the sunshine output as near our 40 ftl goal as doable, which on this case meant maxing out the distinction (image) management. Very giant plasmas, bigger than 50 inches, are sometimes dimmer than different sorts of shows and this Panasonic was no exception, though after calibration we nonetheless measured a suitable 32 ftl in THX mode. Different non-THX image modes allowed greater gentle output, however it wasn’t definitely worth the trade-off in colour accuracy–only THX hit the Rec. 709 HD normal intently sufficient (see the Geek Field). We’d have favored the potential to tweak grayscale on this set, however that wasn’t doable. Try the underside of this weblog submit for our full image settings.
Our comparability concerned the LG and the Pioneer 50-incher flanking the TH-58PZ800U, together with the 50-inch TH-50PZ800U and a token LCD, the Samsung LN52A650. We checked out Grasp and Commander: The Far Aspect of the World on Blu-ray courtesy of our PlayStation 3.
Black stage: The Panasonic 58-inch plasma produced the deepest shade of black in our lineup other than the reference Pioneer, out-blacking even its 50-inch brother by a shocking margin and looking out an excellent deal darker than the 60-inch LG or the Samsung LCD. The variations had been most blatant in darkish scenes, such because the black background behind the “Napoleon” titles the shadowed ocean and silhouettes of the rigging and flag poles, and as at all times the letterbox bars above and beneath the picture. Particulars in shadows, such because the underside of the bell, the folds within the hammocks and the heads of the darkened animals beneath decks, got here throughout distinctly and with a pure rise out of black, partly due to the correct (2.178) gamma imparted by THX mode.
Colour accuracy: We measured a barely redder grayscale on the 58-inch Panasonic than on its 50-inch brother, which made whitish areas, such because the fog and the sails of the HMS Shock seem a bit ruddier than on the reference Pioneer. The distinction is hardly a deal-breaker, and quite a few different areas appeared less-affected by the redder tinge, which was nonetheless comparatively near the usual. Pores and skin tones, just like the face of Blakeney throughout his amputation, nonetheless appeared pure sufficient and never too reddish in comparison with the reference Pioneer. Main and secondary colours had been excellent, from the inexperienced of the rainforest and fruit to the pink of some sailors’ army uniforms to the cyan of ocean water beneath the tropical solar. Colourful scenes appeared wealthy and vibrant due to the Panasonic’s deep blacks and stable colour decoding. We additionally appreciated that near-black areas stayed true and did not discolor as we have seen on so many different shows.
Video processing: Panasonic geared up this plasma with the potential to vary its refresh charge, when fed a local 24-frame sign reminiscent of 1080p/24 from a Blu-ray participant, from the usual 60Hz to 48Hz, to higher match the 24-frame cadence and eradicate the two:3 pull-down required for 60Hz shows. In concept that is good concept, however in observe the 48Hz refresh charge launched vital flicker. The glint was noticeable in each scene however elevated in brighter areas, such because the frequent fields of cloud cowl or vibrant skies. The good thing about considerably smoother movement, with out the refined hitching attribute of two:3 pull-down, simply wasn’t definitely worth the flicker for us, so we left the TV in normal 60Hz mode. It is value noting that the Pioneer plasmas can refresh at 72Hz, which additionally avoids 2:3 pull-down however does not flicker.
By way of decision, the TH-58PZ800U carried out as anticipated, resolving each line of 1080-resolution alerts and correctly deinterlacing video-based sources, though it failed the take a look at for film-based deinterlacing. We counted between 800 and 900 traces of movement decision on this set, which is about what we anticipated on a plasma TV, though not fairly a excessive as both the LG or the Pioneer. As traditional, we could not inform any distinction between the TVs’ resolutions in our side-by-side comparisons.
Uniformity: We often skip this part with plasmas, however it’s value noting within the case of the large TH-58PZ800U as a result of, in comparison with any rear-projection HDTV, a plasma will ship a more-consistent image when seen from off-angle, in addition to higher brightness and colour uniformity throughout the display screen.
Brilliant lighting: In contrast with the Pioneer, which has the very best antireflective display screen of any plasma we have examined, the Panasonic did not do nearly as good a job of attenuating glare. Watching darkish scenes with the lights turned on and the home windows open, mirrored objects within the room appeared bit brighter and extra distracting within the Panasonic’s display screen than on the Pioneer. Darkish areas additionally washed out extra rapidly than on the Pioneer or the Samsung LCD. In contrast with the LG, nevertheless, the Panasonic’s display screen each diminished reflections and preserved black ranges higher.
Commonplace-definition: With lower-quality sources, the TH-58PZ800U carried out about common in THX mode. It did not fairly resolve each element of the DVD format, based on the decision chart on the HQV DVD, and consequently particulars within the bridge and grass from that disc appeared a bit softer than the opposite shows in our take a look at. Alternatively the Panasonic did a advantageous job of eradicating jaggies from diagonal traces and a waving American flag, though not fairly nearly as good because the Pioneer or the LG. Its 2:3 pull-down detection kicked in successfully, if not fairly as rapidly as some units we have examined. Its noise discount carried out nicely with low-quality materials, too, cleansing up the motes in skies and sunsets in addition to any of the shows in our take a look at.
PC: With our take a look at PC related to one of many HDMI inputs, the TH-58PZ800U carried out perfectly–as anticipated from any 1080p flat-panel–in THX mode, resolving each element of a 1,920×1,080-pixel supply with no hint of edge enhancement or shifted pixels. Textual content appeared sharp and pure. Once we tried the VGA enter, nevertheless, we had been solely capable of get a most of 1,366×760-pixel decision (because the guide says), which after all resulted in softer wanting textual content and an total less-impressive picture.
|Earlier than colour temp (20/80)||5942/6020||Common|
|After colour temp||N/A|
|Earlier than grayscale variation||+/- 412||Common|
|After grayscale variation||N/A|
|Colour of pink (x/y)||0.638/0.334||Good|
|Colour of inexperienced||0.292/0.613||Good|
|Colour of blue||0.152/0.06||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Y||Good|
|480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps||Go||Good|
|1080i video decision||Go||Good|
|1080i movie decision||Fail||Poor|
*Value per 12 months based mostly on 2007 common U.S. residential electrical energy value of 10.6 cents per kw/hr at 8 hours on/16 hours off per day.
|Panasonic TH-58PZ800U||Image settings|
|Image on (watts)||196.37||363.45|
|Image on (watts/sq. inch)||0.14||0.25|
|Value per 12 months||$60.78||$112.50|
|Rating (contemplating measurement)||Good|
How we take a look at TVs.