Plasma TV's Still Offer Some Bang For The Buck

Plasma televisions are still a great choice when it comes to buying an HDTV, particularly for their fast refresh rate and deep colors. You just have to make sure you get one that doesn’t suffer from screen burn-in and doesn’t use up too much electricity, which is why the Panasonic TC-P50S1 is certainly worth considering.

Picture Quality

The Panasonic TC-P50S1 delivers excellent picture quality, making it at par with many high-end models. The black levels are especially worth mentioning, since they are the deepest that Panasonic has been able to produce so far. The shadow detail is also impeccable and the colors are saturated and vibrant, seemingly bursting all over the screen, which is why they are still great in spite of the less than accurate color temperature – a common problem with Panasonic panels.

Even moving images appear crisp and clear on the screen of the TC-P50S1 – a feat achieved by the combination of its 600Hz sub-field drive and its Full-Time 1080 TV Lines Moving Picture Resolution. This means that the TC-P50S1 shows all 1080 lines even during fast-moving scenes, compared to some HDTVs which temporarily reduce the number of lines to keep up with the pace.

Design

Models of the same series usually sport a similar design and like the other S1 models, the TC-P50S1 comes with a sleek, glossy black frame – a frame accentuated by rounded edges and interrupted only by two logos, an indicator light and the power button, which actually blend in nicely. It also has a glossy black stand. It is set apart by one added feature, though – hidden speakers, which also result in a slightly better sound.  Adding a set of indoor outdoor bluetooth speakers or a good quality sound bar would help the audio considerably.

Remote Control

The remote control of the TC-P50S1 is similar to other models, though it has three additional buttons for the Viera Link, Viera tools and the SD card. Unfortunately, it does not have a backlight but it does come with buttons that can be easily distinguished from each other since they have different shapes, sizes and colors.

Connectivity Options

The Panasonic TC-P50S1 has enough inputs and outputs, though not as much as high-end models. It has three HDMI inputs – two on the back and one on the side. It also has two AV inputs, two component-video inputs, an RF input for your cable or antenna, an SD card slot and a digital audio output, though not a standard analog one. Also, you will need to have an HDMI-capable computer if you want to use this as a monitor since it does not have a VGA input.

Energy Efficiency

The strongest point of the Panasonic TC-P50S1, though, is its energy efficiency. While Plasma TVs normally consume twice the electricity used up by LCD televisions, the TC-P50S1 consumes less because of its new plasma display panel and the low light output of its standard picture setting. How much less? Enough to qualify for an Energy Star 3.0.

Other Features

Another great thing about the Panasonic TC-P50S1 is the Viera Link. With this feature, you can turn on all your HDMI-capable devices with the push of a button which saves you the time and inconvenience of switching each one on individually. It also has features to prevent and treat screen burn-in, such as the pixel orbiter and the scrolling bar function. In this way, it is similar enough to several high-end models but its price isn’t, which makes it a good HDTV to look out for when you go shopping for your own.

Edward McKellen is an HDTV expert who writes HDTV reviews for HDTVreviewlab.com. To read more about the Panasonic TC-P50S1 HDTV or check out the latest Toshiba HDTV reviews visit HDTVreviewlab.com