Panasonic TH-50PZ800 Plasma TV Comparisons & Conclusion
The most obvious comparison to make here is with the LG 50PG60, the only other 50-inch, THX-certified plasma on the market. As mentioned earlier, the LG's THX mode cannot be adjusted in any way, while the Panasonic's THX mode can be fully calibrated, though a complete grayscale calibration can be performed only from within the service menu. Even then, the Panasonic offers only a 2-point calibration system, while the LG can be calibrated at 10 different brightness levels, which would have corrected the red bump at 50 IRE. As a result, the LG's calibrated measurements best the Panasonic's.
The color gamut of the THX mode is similar in both sets—which is to say oversaturated green and inaccurate secondaries—but it can be made nearly perfect in the LG thanks to its color management system. The Panasonic offers only a single on/off Color Management control, which makes the color gamut less accurate when enabled.
The Panasonic's black level is much lower than the LG's, but the LG's peak white level is higher. In terms of color and detail on real-world material, these sets are on a par—the slightly rosy skin tones of the Panasonic are not all that apparent except in a direct side-by-side comparison.
Pricewise, the Panasonic is only $200 less than the LG ($2700), and both produce a very pleasing picture. Despite the LG's greater calibration flexibility, my nod goes to the Panasonic TH-50PZ800 for its deeper blacks and 48Hz display rate for 1080p/24. Its performance was improved with a full calibration, but I suspect many buyers will be perfectly happy with the out-of-box THX mode.
Excellent overall detail
Superb shadow detail
Fairly low black level
48Hz refresh rate for 1080p/24
Menu system very frustrating
Red bump at 50 IRE
Video processing not that great