Pros: Excellent picture quality, good sound, lotsa connections, 4" deep, reasonable price
Cons: No PIP, no PC input, clunky remote & menu
Panasonic TH-50PX60U Review
After researching and wanting to buy a 42 Plasma TV for more than 2 years, I finally took the plunge and went in for the Panasonic TH-50PX60U.
The Amazon price, though not the lowest, was very competitive, they offered 12 months No Interest/Payments via Amazon Credit Card, No Sales Tax and Free White Glove delivery. They also offered me refunds a couple of times within 30 days of purchase due to price drops.
Why the Panasonic TH-50PX60U?
I have been following the Panasonic plasma models for over two years, and they have consistently received positive reviews. The reason for the last minute switch to a 50 screen size was because when I looked at the 42 sets they appeared kind of small for our normal viewing distance (8-10 feet) in our family room (17 x 13). Also, when I compared this 50 Panasonic set side-by-side with 50 Vizio, Philips, Samsung and Hitachi sets, the Panasonic clearly stood out in terms of picture quality.
About the White Glove Delivery:
Eagle Global Logistics (eaglegl.com) called me to schedule an appointment for delivery. On the scheduled day they arrived before the promised time. The two delivery guys gently brought the TV up to my family room and unpacked the set. They refused to assemble the pedestal stand. I had called both Amazon and the local Eagle office earlier and they had both confirmed that the delivery guys will assemble the pedestal stand. However, when I spoke to the local Eagle office again in the presence of the delivery guys they refused to do that. The delivery guys who are probably used to this ploy started helping me with the assembly when they saw me bumbling around trying to figure out how to assemble the darn pedestal stand. They were also kind enough to carry my old 27 Panasonic TV to the bedroom upstairs. They were suitably tipped for their assistance.
About the installation:
I had the delivery guys place the TH-50PX60U on the plasma TV stand (Sanus AFV48b from racksandstands.com) that I had purchased recently. Then I connected the Cable Box (Component), DVD player (Component), VCR (Composite) and Receiver (Audio Out) to my new TV. The stand is very stable and the slot allows you to route cables even to the front, say for the center channel speaker.
The picture quality of this set is excellent right out of the box. This TV has the usual contrast, brightness, color, tint and sharpness picture controls. Unfortunately, there are no hot buttons for brightness/contrast control on the remote; you need to go via the main menu which can be painful if you like to adjust the settings frequently. The contrast ratio for this set is 10,000:1 making it ideal for bright rooms. You have three picture modes: Cinema, Standard and Vivid which you can customize for different viewing settings. You can also set the color temperature to Warm, Normal or Cool. You can label the input sources (Cable, DVD, VCR, etc.), which is a neat feature.
The sound quality from this set is reasonably good. You can adjust the bass, treble and balance, and also choose AI Sound, Surround Mode, etc. The surround sound effect is good. I would strongly recommend using a home-theater system for watching movies. My old 27 Panasonic TV had variable audio, i.e., you could vary the volume on your home theater system via the TV volume. This TV lacks that feature.
This set offers lots of different connection options such as composite, component, S-Video, HDMI, optical digital, etc. more than enough to satisfy most of the users even with multiple equipments.
Straight out of the box the picture from the TV looks very good for both SD and HD sources. However, you have to sit at least 8-10 feet away for the SD picture to look crisp. If you sit too close, the SD picture looks a little fuzzy and color separation is not good. On the other hand, HD picture is simply awesome, even if you watch it from a distance of 1-2 feet. Clarity and color from an HD source is absolutely brilliant. You have to see it to believe it. SD on channels like Toon Disney/Jetix looks pretty good at 480p. HD channels like Discovery HD Theater are amazing at 1080i.
The menu is a little clunky and takes some time getting used to. Some settings are nested deep so finding them could be a chore for amateurs.
The remote does not have a backlight and is rather big and unwieldy. Out of the box the remote can only control Panasonic DVD Players and VCRs. You will need to program the remote for use with non-Panasonic equipment. My old universal remote does not handle the menus of this TV well. Ill probably need to buy a new universal remote or program this remote for use with my other equipment. This remote does not have hot buttons to directly access closed captioning, brightness, contrast, color which can get a little annoying since you need to go via the main menu.
Due to the sheer depth of our old 27 CRT Panasonic TV our family room (17 x 13) looked smaller. Though we were initially apprehensive about the screen size of this set, we were surprised that this TV is in fact making our family room appear wider and bigger because of the flat panel. So my suggestion to those who are probably looking at the 42 Panasonic model is dont be fooled by the size of this TV, we figured out its the depth of the TV that really affects the size perception of any room. Also, the TV looks gorgeous and goes well with our black Sanus AFV48b stand.
I would strongly recommend the Panasonic TH-50PX60U to anyone looking for a good plasma set at a reasonable price. With Amazons free white glove delivery, no sales tax and a competitive price you couldnt find a better deal.