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Panasonic TH-50PZ85U

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Pros: Great picture, Reliable, No gaming lag, No image retention

Cons: Thick Bezel

I purchased this Plasma way back in 2008 and paid over $1800. I have this wall mounted with an Ergotron tilt mount which is the most well-built mount I have ever seen.

While I am a tech nerd, I am not an AV scientist. I have never calibrated the picture and have relied on settings posted here on AVS for a starting point and my gut feeling about what looks best. I remember being blown away when I got this running and consider it one of the best purchases I have ever made. Now that it is over 5 years old I appreciate its value and performance even more. After 5 years the color and black levels have mellowed and the picture looks better than it did on the first day I plugged it in.

The TV is old enough to have no smart TV options and I don’t miss them. I use a PS3 as my primary media machine and I have a Philips upscaling DVD player (for DIVX). While there are features on the set that seemed interesting when I got it, I rarely, if ever, use any of them. For me the best and only feature I care about is the picture.

Gaming is perfect on this TV with no perceptible lag, decent built in speakers, and no burn-in whatsoever. Games like GT5, Uncharted or Hot Shots Golf (my favorite) are stellar on this screen and exhibit no motion blur displaying fast moving objects.

Blurays are amazing as well, of course, from new CGI masterpieces like Brave to old remastered classics like “It’s a mad mad mad mad world” everything looks as good as I can imagine and over time the picture has indeed gotten better. Plasma compared to LED/LCD is a bitter battle at times and I have nothing against either, but at the time I bought this TV, Plasma was the only way to get the great black levels and color I wanted. Now that LED TVs are much better I can still look at the PZ85U and be very satisfied that I have an exceptional picture and am not missing out on anything. I also like the warmth that this sets picture has achieved over time. I may be imagining it, but to me the colors look better and more natural overall.

Setup is simple using the built in menus and following the lead of folks here at AVS for advice made getting a great picture very easy. The remote has held up very well over the 5 years which is saying something because having children with sticky fingers and such many remotes don’t last a year before I have to crack them open and clean them. The remote set up is good, although I wish the “last” button was positioned differently it is not a big deal.

Like I stated earlier in this review the picture has matured nicely over time. Colors pop and have not shown any sign of their advanced age. Contrast, clarity and black levels have all been outstanding and bring out the best in movies like Hugo and Prometheus. There are few things I have acquired that I look at years later and say to myself “I love that _____” one is a Mini Cooper convertible we bought used. I love that car, and this TV. Many times I just look at it and think how thankful I am to have such a great, reliable and beautiful “magic screen” in my living room. I hope it goes another 5 years!



Picture: 5 stars
Audio: 4 stars
Features: 4 stars
Reliability: 5 stars
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Panasonic TH-50PZ85U
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Panasonic 50 Inch Plasma TV

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