Panasonic TC-P50U50 Review
50" 1080p HDTV
- Good solid picture after calibration
- Dark Shadow Detail
- Up-conversion of standard definition signals
- Sound Quality
- Feature Set – No 3D nor Smart TV
- Difficult Calibration (inaccurate colors)
- Only 2 HDMI inputs
- Bezel, frame a little large for 2012
by Jack Burden, Reviewer
The U50 series is a low priced plasma television available in two sizes, the 50" TC-P50U50 and the 60" TC-P60U50. It is one of only two Panasonic plasma HDTV lines that are not 3D ready in 2012. This is a budget model that does not include any online Smart TV features or other picture processing features found in higher tier models.
Picture Quality Rating and Viewing Feaures: 8.5/10
At 1080p the U50 has full HD resolution. It actually has the same panel as the UT50 series above it (the G15 Progressive Full HD panel).
It also has the same picture quality of that higher end model. You really get a great picture on this TV and if you dont care about the bells and whistles like Smart TV and 3D then this might be the perfect TV for you. Check out our calibrations for a much better picture than you would otherwise get with this TV. Our calibrations will shorten the life of the TV by a few years but since it's rated to 10,000 or 30 years who cares. You need it to make the colors pop and they do pop after calibrating.
A shot from the Avengers on the 50U50
Standard definition programming still looks good on this plasma television. It does a nice job of maintaining color rendition even with lower signals and the aspect ratio adjustments for proper sizing are also well done, Panasonic has always had a good scaling algorithm for stretching 4:3 content into 16:9. There are some motion artifacts to contend with, but overall this TV still delivers a sound picture.
Black Level And Contrast
Black levels and contrast on the TC-P50U50 are not as strong as the higher end plasma models but the black performance of this television is still excellent when compared to budget priced LCD and LED televisions. A highlight is dark shadow detail which is excellent here on the U50.
Fast Motion Images
The panel in the U50 is the G15 but the drive is still 600 sub field drive as compared to the 2500FFD in the UT50 and above. Nevertheless, we never had a problem with fast motion on last years 600Hz SFD plasmas and that's also the case with this one. There is little to no visible motion lag with fast action (at least not that the human eye can detect).
Another shot from the same flick shows nice color, detail and depth.
Side Angle Viewing
Unlike LCD and LED televisions, side angle viewing is not a concern with plasmas, the U50 retains its contrast and black performance at angle where you can still see the picture.
Features Rating: 7/10
Sound Quality – Better than Top Line
One of the unforeseen advantages of the U50 series plasma is that it did not receive the 3D Real Surround 8 train speaker package of the higher end units. We found that package to be a bust and we like the sound on the 50U50 much more as it received the same speakers as last years ST30 model. Sound quality is richer and fuller and voice comes through better.
Appearance and Design
The U50 has the same shape and looks that UT50. These TVs do not have the glass and metal design of the ST50 and above but are nice looking for a Panasonic Plasma – in fact much better than last years S30 series. The frame is gloss black and a little more than an inch wide. The total depth is not bad at 3.3” when counting the speakers. The normal depth is 2.5” and visible depth from a front side view is less than that.
A front view of the 50U50
Value Rating: 9.4/10
Basically, the TC-P50U50 gets things right from a budget perspective. I would rather have a 1080p, good picture panel without 3D than a 720p panel with 3D and a lousy picture quality. There's not much that can compete when you forego 3D and Smart TV. The LG 50PA6500 is much dimmer and does not have the color capability (post calibration) of the U50, but it's priced the same at around $699 and is 1080p.
Overall Rating: 8.3/10
Height 29.9”, Width 46.7”, Depth 10.5” with stand
Depth without stand 3.3” total at bottom, depth other places 2.5”