Panasonic TC-P50G25 Review
Although it is not 3D ready, like its more expensive brothers, TC-P50VT25 and TC-P50VT20, Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 has a lot of perks. If you do not mind not being able to watch just yet the scarce 3D HDTV content that it is out there, then this Panasonic plasma is among the best HDTVs money can buy in 2010. An improved type of panel, NeoPDP Infinite Black, is guaranteed to make the performance better, especially in the black levels area, the employed 600Hz sub-field drive technology is supposed to eliminate all blur from fast moving scenes (although plasma never had such problems), and the THX movie mode will get the job done when you want to watch movies in all their glory. Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 is a great product, and, with the exception of a few flaws, it delivers as promised.
- Great black levels
- Above average anti-glare capabilities
- Amazing colors in THX mode
- Issues with 1080p/24 sources
- Sub-par standard definition performance
- No real built in Wi-Fi (it works with a dongle, though)
Panasonic is trailing behind its competition when it comes to providing entertainment options directly on your TV. For instance, LG Infinia 50PK950 has DLNA functions, which cannot be found on the more competitive Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25, and the latter also lacks popular services like VUDU and Blockbuster, that are readily available on Samsung’s proprietary system Internet@TV, on products such as Samsung PN50C6500, which are a step down in matters of performance. Still, the inclusion of Netflix on Viera Cast Entertainment will change things for the better for this 50 inch plasma TV. Other features included for this TV are the capability to use an USB keyboard, and the possibility to use the Panasonic plasma TV’s wireless capacities, if you are willing to pay extra for a Wi-Fi dongle.
Panasonic did not opt for the sleek design one can see in LG’s HDTVs launched this year, but Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 is not a bad looker, either. We could say the design is quite minimalistic, a single accent strip contouring the frame, and making it stand out just a little.
It seems that there are more than just 3D capabilities that are given up on the Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 by the manufacturer. Only three HDMI ports are available, which is even less than what we get to see on models that are situated a little lower on the top list – at least, as far as plasma TV reviews are concerned - , such as Samsung PN50C6500 (with four HDMI inputs). Still, connectivity is fair enough, with two USB ports, two composite and two component video inputs, one RF input (for antenna or cable), one PC input, one Ethernet port, and digital audio output included. Some would say that it is a shame that Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 lacks built in Wi-Fi, and, for the price, it is not exactly the manufacturer’s best policy to ask for extra money for a Wi-Fi dongle, in case the buyer wants to use this 50 inch plasma TV’s wireless capacities.
Many plasma TV reviews have words of praise for Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25, when it comes to picture quality. It seems that Panasonic did it right, and its Infinite Black technology is a true deliverer. Since black levels are very important for image quality, and Panasonic is able to deliver true blacks on its top of the line models, there is no wonder its products, Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 included, are considered to be among the best plasma TV models released this year. The THX mode succeeds to make primary colors look really good, and, if it wasn’t for some problems with engaging the 1080p/24 mode, this Panasonic plasma TV model would have no competition.
The blacks seen on Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 are incredible, and it seems that only the defunct Kuro still surpasses them. Except for that incredible plasma TV model, about all the others, from competition, and from the same brand, cannot succeed to beat Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 (only Panasonic Viera TC-P50VT25 and Panasonic Viera TC-P50VT20 being able to be on the same level, and this is understandable, since they are the flagship models from the manufacturer’s production lines, 3D TV included). The blacks go deeper than what is seen on LG Infinia 50PK750, but some tests show that there could be a direct competitor for Panasonic in this area, and that is LG Infinia 55LE8500. The best surprise in this comparison is that the latter is an LCD TV, not a plasma TV, although it does employ the newest technologies, such as the LED backlighting.
The colors on Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 are quite good, and just engaging the THX mode will make them look really great. Small issues may be noticed by a very keen eye, such as the turning towards a little greenish tinge of the skin tones of characters appearing on the screen, when you watch a movie. As this Panasonic plasma TV model does not have an incredibly accurate grayscale, this is understandable. On the positive side, the blacks managed to stay black, and did not develop any bluish tinge, as it happens on some other models. Since this is a very competitive model, it is natural to focus on the little details, too, even if the overall picture quality and colors are really great.
Full HD content is displayed beautifully on this 50 inch plasma TV. Still, because it cannot engage the 96Hz mode, like Panasonic Viera TC-P50VT25, some issues appearing when 1080p/24 content is played cannot be avoided. It is also preferable to keep the mode in 60Hz, as engaging the 48Hz mode only makes it worse, flicker being one of the most obvious problems the HDTV encounters. The presence of the 600Hz sub-field drive is not that much of a great deal, since best plasma TV models do not usually encounter problems with fast moving sequences. All in all, this one is not really the best recommendation if you want to watch 1080p/24 content, and it is better to opt for the more expensive Panasonic Viera TC-P50VT25.
The new anti-reflective screen does marvels, especially if you compare Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 with the company’s models from last year. In a brightly lit room, glare is usually a problem for plasma, but not for this particular model. The colors are preserved well, and brightness is cleverly reduced, to avoid hurting the eye, and even the blacks do not turn grey.
Standard definition performance
Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 is not a good performer when it comes to evaluating its standard definition performance. Especially if you want to watch regular DVDs, you will notice that the image is far from looking anything close to perfect. On the contrary, a bunch of problems can be noticed with the naked eye. Jaggies, and motes appear and they are noticeable, and the image looks soft for a HDTV of this caliber. Samsung PN50C6500 and LG Infinia 50PK750 are better performers, and they are more recommended, if you want a plasma TV on which you can watch regular content.
Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 is a very good plasma TV model, and it has some very strong points that recommended, such as the ink like black levels, and the accurate colors delivered in THX mode. Still, some small issues that appear when you want to watch 1080p/24 content (which means Blu-ray discs), and the fact that there are other competitors that can perform better when it comes to standard definition content, mar the reputation of this Panasonic plasma TV. It is better to wait a little for the prices on new models to move downwards a little, and then to make a thorough comparison between this model and others, and see which truly deserves your money.
Because in our experience most of the time it has the best prices on HDTV, our recommended store is Amazon.com. Do look around for the best price, but make sure you don’t skip Amazon.com or you might miss a good deal.