Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ800U vs. TH-50PZ850U

Published: 05th June 2009
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The Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ800U and the Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ850U are two of the best 50-inch 1080p Plasma HDTV models released by Panasonic so far. They share several other similarities, too, as well as key differences which can help you better decide which one to get.

At first glance, the Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ800U and the TH-50PZ850U look alike, and the reason is simply because they are in most aspects. Both models have a striking, non-glossy black frame and a sophisticated, large pane of glass to set them apart from other HDTVs. They both also sport a base which looks like a pair of pursed lips, and a swivel stand. The base of the Panasonic TH-50PZ800U is dark gray, though, compared to the black one of the TH-50PZ850U. The remote control of the latter is also partially backlit, though both have buttons which are easy to distinguish from each other.

Both Plasma HDTV models also deliver excellent images, both static and high moving. This is because the Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ800U and the TH-50PZ850U both have an increased native contrast ratio of 30,000:1 and a dynamic contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, as well as a 480Hz Sub-field Drive to maintain the smoothness and clarity of the images even during fast moving action sequences. The TH-50PZ800U, however, has a slight edge since it has a THX mode which allows it to better recreate the visual ambience of a movie theatre.

Both models are capable of displaying accurate and vibrant colors, too, particularly since the TH-50PZ800U and the TH-50PZ850U are equipped with two of the latest color technologies - Deep Color Technology and Digital Cinema Color Technology, respectively. They are especially excellent at reproducing deep black levels, something which Plasma televisions are known for.

When it comes to connectivity options, both the TH-50PZ800U and the TH-50PZ850U provide an extensive range of inputs and outputs for you to connect your existing devices. In fact, they have almost the same number of ports, except that the Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ850U has an ethernet connection. More importantly, they both offer four HDMI inputs for you to connect your DVD player, Blu-ray player and game console, as well as a PC input. They also both come with a built-in SD card slot so you can easily enjoy and share your home videos and digital photos.

As for the features, you can expect almost the same from the Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ800U and the Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ850U. These include noise reduction features for sharper and clearer images, an anti-reflective filter to reduce viewing distractions, a dedicated game mode and a pixel orbiter to prevent screen burn-in from occurring. They have an energy-saving feature, too. They both carry the Viera Link feature, as well, which allows you to synchronize and control your HDTV-compatible devices, like your DVD player, camcorder and surround sound system, sparing you the inconvenience of going around and turning them on and off individually.

The only difference in features is that the TH-50PZ850U has the Viera Cast feature and the Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ800U does not. The Viera Cast feature provides access to online entertainment even without a computer or any other external box. As of now, the available content is limited to YouTube videos, Picasa web albums, weather updates and the latest financial information. However, new content will be available in the future and the Viera Cast menu will update itself.

Indeed, the Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ800U and the Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ850U are alike in many ways, with the biggest differences being the offering of a THX mode on the TH-50PZ800U and the Viera Cast and ethernet port that come with the TH-50PZ850U. This means that they are both great HDTVs and both excellent choices to consider when shopping for one.

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