Panasonic TH-58PZ800 review

A good big-screen plasma, and well worth an audition – although we'd be sure to try out its key rival too Tested at £4000.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A good big-screen plasma, and well worth an audition – although we'd be sure to try out its key rival too


  • +

    Big, punchy and exciting pictures with most discs

  • +

    excellent tuner

  • +

    well equipped


  • -

    Only that the similarly priced Pioneer is even better

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Panasonic's track record record with plasmas has been enviable, but this is the company's most modern and complete product yet.

Part of the premium PZ800 series, it's loaded up with all manner of performance-enhancing features, from Full HD resolution to 'Intelligent Frame Creation' picture processing, which aims to achieve ultra-high resolution.

An enhanced version of Panasonic's 'Real Black Drive' black-level booster is said to deliver some dramatic results in contrast terms, too – the company claims a 1,000,000:1 ratio.

Unlike some sets this big, it's sold as a complete TV, so it's got a fine digital tuner and comes with built-in speakers.

Partner it with bigger speakers
They sound fine, but we'd suggest you buy something bigger and better for optimum results, because otherwise the image will appear unbalanced by the relatively meagre sonics.

With a punchy Blu-ray like Horton Hears A Who! you'll have few complaints: the image is vivid and involving, its edges crisply stable. However, and despite the superb spec sheet, the black levels and overall drama don't quite rival the best efforts of the similarly priced Pioneer PDP-LX6090.

Watch a dark movie, such as Blade Runner, and you'll find that while the Pana' reaches into the murk with some aplomb, it's the Pioneer that really uncovers every last drop of detail.

That's not to suggest this is in any way a bad TV: far from it. It's terrific, and if you can get a good deal, it's well worth consideration.

What Hi-Fi?

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