Panasonic TH-50PZ800 Plasma TV Real-World Performance
Looking at chapter 8 of Mission: Impossible III on HD DVD at 1080i, the moiré in the stairs as the camera pans over them was pretty bad, but the shadow detail in the catacombs was great. Colors were superb in general, with brilliant reds and skin tones that might have been just a tad rosy.
Ton Norton complained that displaying 1080p/24 at 48Hz caused the image to flicker on test patterns, which I verified, though it was less pronounced at the lower contrast setting I used in my review. Also, I saw none of it on real-world material—in fact, motion in Hidalgo on Blu-ray looked smoother at 48Hz than at 60, which was perhaps most apparent in the scrolling credits at the end.
Tom also noted that the peak white level dropped when the TV was set to 48Hz, which was true—I measured a drop of about 20 percent on test patterns compared with the 60Hz setting. But I didn't find this to be a problem with real-world material.
In all respects, Hidalgo looked great, with crisp detail in the stone tower, desert sand, and facial textures. Color was likewise gorgeous, and shadow detail in Hopkins' tent was excellent.
Stargate: Continuum on Blu-ray opens with a star field against the black of space, which was fairly deep—nowhere near Pioneer Kuro or LED local-dimming territory, but satisfying nonetheless. Also, there were many more stars visible than on any LED-backlight LCD I've seen. Shadow detail in chapter 3 as the Achilles steams across the Atlantic was excellent, as was the color throughout the movie, including blue sky, green trees, and skin tones, which still exhibited just a hint of rosiness.
Detail was exquisite in The Nightmare Before Christmas on Blu-ray—the claymation sets and characters were crystal clear. Blacks were fairly deep, and colors were rich and vibrant, from the orange pumpkins to the red and green lights of Christmas Town to the neon familiars of Oogie Boogie.
The black of space in the opening title sequence of The Fifth Element on DVD was not all that deep, but the detail in the stone buildings in the desert and cityscape as Leeloo jumps into Korben's cab was surprisingly good for standard-def. Colors were natural except for those ever-so-slightly ruddy skin tones.
The audio performance was about average for a TV. It sounded a bit hollow, but dialog intelligibility was pretty good. The BBE Viva 3D enhancement improved the sound quality, making it somewhat fuller.