Overall, the Panasonic TC-PUT50 series is a set of excellent performing plasma televisions with astounding black levels and color reproduction. For a very reasonable price, you get a load of features and most of the elements associated with traditional plasma screens. A lack of advanced picture settings does make it difficult to adjust the television to brighter lights, however. For more details about this series, read the full Panasonic TC-PUT50 series TV Review below.
The TC-PUT50 series provides four sizes to choose from, all with basically the same specifications and picture quality.
As a plasma, you would expect the TC-PUT50 televisions to light up the room with vivid color and lovely contrast, but the series actually outperforms expectations on many levels and competes with a few higher priced televisions. The picture settings are relatively simple, but that should not hinder most viewing. Out of the box, the lighting and color is quite dim due to abnormally low standard settings. These settings are likely aimed at Energy Star compliance and will use less electricity. However, for best viewing, you may want to switch to the Cinema setting.
The ratings for the TC-PUT50 appear to be fairly low when it comes to color reproduction, but in reality, the television holds up well. Although it lacks some of the crisp and vibrant contrast of the higher-end Panasonic plasmas, the screen provides stark color contrasts that are viable for most viewers and you will be hard pressed to notice inaccurate colors while using optimal settings in a dark or dim room.
The TC-PUT50 delivers deep black levels that are out of proportion with its price range. When compared by experts and consumer magazines with the Samsung PNE8000 and other similar models, the TC-PUT50 lineup gave a valiant effort that came so close to the pricier models that the difference was almost indecipherable. Despite white-balance and color issues that could develop from the simplified picture quality controls, black level performance is not harmed in any way.
Overall Video Performance
The TC-PUT50 is able to deliver favorable performance on a variety of video sources and processing, including satellite television, BluRay, and various other high definition formats.
Performance in Bright Rooms
A common problem with plasmas in the lower price range is bright room performance, and the TC-PUT50 does suffer in this area. Without the filter of the higher-priced Panasonic plasmas, the TC-PUT50 looses contrast and black levels in a well-lit room. Anyone who will watch a great deal of television or movies in a brightly lit room may want to opt for a different model, because the low performance of the TC-PUT50 will be frustrating.
The design for Panasonic’s latest televisions tends to borrow from recognizable Samsung and Sony elements, and the TC-PUT50 is no exception. The television features a crystal rim and sleek black coat that makes it a stylish piece for entertainment for family rooms. The lower price means you forgo some additional features, including a rotating stand. The remote is compact and easy to use, although the six-inch length may make it easy to misplace.
Panasonic keeps its signature bland look in the television menu. Although the menus lack pizzazz and flash, they are easy to navigate. Simple controls mean you will not get lost in the maze of nested menus associated with some other brands.
Following suit with the television settings menu, Panasonic’s Smart TV Hub places emphasis on function over form. What the interface lacks in aesthetic value, it makes up for in ease of use. Unlike comparable Samsung and Sony interfaces, you can navigate the Panasonic menu with your remote control without frustration. The main page of the Smart hub offers the most popular apps, including Netflix, YouTube and Hulu. Other apps available in the interface include Amazon video, Vudu, CinemaNow, Pandora, Shoutcast, Picasa, Skype, Twitter, Facebook and Panasonic’s web browser. The only disadvantage of the old-style Panasonic interface is that it can be a bit slow on reaction time.
One place where the TC-PUT50 falls down is on connectivity. Although you expect some reduction in functionality at this price point, the TC-PUT50 only provides two HDMI ports compared to a current standard of four. There is a single composite/component input for analog hookup, but the unit lacks a PC input. There are UBS ports for connecting external peripherals like keyboards or gaming pieces, but if you want any other items, you will need to use a receiver or switch box to multiply your connections.
Although the Panasonic TC-PUT50 certainly has a few sticking points, at the price point it cannot be beat. The price for the TC-PUT50 line starts as low as $800 and ranges up to $1000 to $1,200 for mid to large sized models, making it a very affordable and competitive option for mainstream television use. The off-angle viewability of the plasma screen also makes this a superior product for gaming. Overall, the TC-PUT50 would be a valuable asset in any game or entertainment room, provided you have the ability to dim the lights.