In the 50 inch and larger category of plasma flat panel HDTV displays, you will begin to see pricy models appear. Many of the producers of plasma displays make specialty or professional level sets in sizes of 50 inch and up. Panasonic, considered a leader in plasma HDTV displays is no exception to this rule. Panasonic makes seven plasma displays in the 50 inch category. These displays range in price from $1999.95 on up to $3499.95. The differences amongst the offerings by Panasonic are subtle, but it is important to make the distinctions amongst the different displays. This overview will focus on the Panasonic Plasma HDTV with the model number of TH-50PE700U.
Model numbers play an important role in determining many aspects about a given plasma display. This model number of TH-50PE700U helps determine many things about this plasma display by Panasonic. The first two letters of TH are used on all Panasonic plasma HDTV displays and therefore have no significant meaning. The next two numbers of 5 and 0 describe the size of this plasma display of 50 inches. The next two letters of P and E indicates that this is a full 1080p HDTV display. This differentiates it from lesser 720p sets that carry the letter designation of P and X. Finally, the 700U indicates that this is Panasonic’s second from the top offering. The 700U class offers options such as more HDMI connections, more speakers with more power, the availability of more on screen adjustments, and other various features over the lesser sets that do not end with the 0U designation.
However, there is one thing to note about the model number listed above. The letter E in the model number designates this model as a special offering. A special offering is usually a specific model that is only available at one retailer or a few select retailers. There may be slight differences from this model and the nearly identical model of TH-50PZ700U sold nationwide at all retailers.
Now we will move on to pricing. As this particular model is considered to be Panasonic’s second from the top 50 inch plasma model, it is usually priced accordingly. Since this is considered a special mode, you will have to refer to the retailer’s that carry this model for pricing information.
This particular set is a full 1080p HDTV display. This means that this display has the ability to display the full resolution of a true high definition signal. Though a 1080p set will be more expensive than an identical 720p, it will usually offer better picture quality and is capable of higher resolutions.
The contrast ratio of this particular display is listed at 5,000 to 1. The contrast ratio determines the sets ability to show true black and crisp, clean whites on the screen at the same time. A higher contrast ratio translates to better picture quality. When comparing contrast ratio among plasma and LCD displays, you must compare the contrast ratio of the plasma display to the on screen contrast ratio of the LCD display. In order to make an accurate comparison, you should not look at the dynamic contrast that is listed for most LCD display.
This model utilizes Panasonic’s G10 Progressive 1080p HD Plasma Display Panel. Though a direct comparison of panels cannot be made, it is worthwhile to note which Panasonic displays use the same panel. The same panel should give the same or similar picture quality.
This brief overview is intended for comparison purposes. If interested in comparing this set to another plasma or LCD set then please refer to my overviews listed for each specific model. Overviews are available for or will soon be available for major models from Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Pioneer, and Toshiba.
Though portions of this article have been reused from my other Panasonic plasma reviews, model specific information is changed and pertinent only to the model listed.