The Panasonic TC-P46S30 is a mid-price range plasma TV offering full HD 1080p resolution and a newly designed phosphor process. The new plasma panel lasts for 100,000 hours, good for 30 years if you watch TV for 8 hours a day! You will enjoy the renowned Panasonic plasma screen at pricing levels we have not seen in years.
For 2011 Panasonic has upgraded the former NeoDPD technology into a rebranded version called NeoPlasma. HDTV is great because it intensifies viewing so much. At the same time it can blur easily. The TC-P46S30’s NeoPlasma decreases blur with a new circuit design and improved processing that provides greater brightness with increased clarity. For 2011 the engineers have made the process much more energy efficient—the power consumption has been reduced by a factor of 2 in one year.
The P46S30 also has Motion Picture Resolution. It will faithfully reproduce film speed of 24 fps, accurately displaying the movie as intended by the director. Without this feature, movies can start to stutter and jump, destroying their enjoyment.
Infinite Black 2 – when the video signal fades to black, the screen will effectively fade to look as it is turned off. In a dark room, this looks like “infinite black.” Basically you are getting the deepest black possible of any plasma in the market.
In order to maximize the Infinite Black effect, Panasonic has framed the P46S30 in a glossy jet back bezel that has a clean, modern look that will add drama to any room. The 46-inch screen is a great size for many rooms and offices. It will fit on many wall spaces easily or take center stage in a TV room when desired.
Breaking in a plasma TV is like going on a first date – getting off to a good start will dictate how well the rest of your time together fares. In the case of the TC-P46S30, the first 100 hours are the most important. Try to avoid black bars on the screen when you’re watching a video for the first 100-200 hours (the black bars on the side of a letterbox). You want all the phosphors and pixels to wear in evenly. Most plasma TV’s these days protect the image by default but do everything you can to help. Use full screen whenever possible.
To help you prevent burn-in, Panasonic provides a lot of image retention tools. Anti-image retention is enabled by default. You can get right into it by accessing the P46S30’s anti-image retention tool settings. They include:
Pixel Orbiter- this feature jumps the pixels around very slightly every few minutes. This can be useful in certain situations where an image is on the screen for a long time–for example, TV station and cable channel logos.
Pillar Bar Brightener- turns pillar bars to bright gray to help prevent image retention.
Scrolling Bar- this is a screen write function. Turn it on and let it run for a few minutes. It has a gradient bright white-to-black feature that helps “reset” the pixels.
600Hz Subfield Drive is standard on the TC-P46S30. Panasonic engineers have figured out how to quickly refresh pixels within normal frames of the video signal much faster than normal video replay would provide. This means that fast action on screen will not suffer from any burn, ghosting or lag. As you can imagine this is a great benefit when watching tennis, soccer, football, or any high-speed sport.
Watching Manchester United against Liverpool in high-def on the P46S30 last week you could really see the benefit of the 600Hz Subfield drive. There were no blurry streaks coming off their uniforms–the same with close up shots of, for example, a foot blasting into the ball off the turf. Wide screen shots with field-wide passes also fared well. No ghosting “trails” followed the ball on the screen.
Curious about the look of hi definition blu-rays on the P46S30, we dropped “A Christmas Carol” with Jim Carrey in the Panasonic DMP-BDT210 blu-ray player and took a look. Scrooge’s overly long features and sourpuss demeanor are created with spades of details and depth. Many times Scrooge puts his face so far into the screen you feel like he’s going to meet some of your popcorn.
Despite those unpleasant moments, truly magical scenes-like falling snowflakes landing gently on the hushed town stood out. This is gorgeous animation and a truly accurate transfer to Blu-ray. The P46S30’s 24fps (Movie Smoother) compatibility also helps with the lush visuals.
Christmas Carol’s 5.1 DTS HD Master audio soundtrack complements the visuals perfectly. As the movie progresses the sound seems to get louder and more bombastic (perhaps altering the sound to match increasing drama on screen). In any case, the TC-P46S30 faithfully reproduces the full sound spectrum, from loud bombastic bass tones all the way to the high-end trebles.
The TC-P46S30 has two channel digital surround sound pumping out 20 Watts. More than likely you will eventually want to integrate it to a home theater system or the ZVOX 550 surround sound system which comes in a single cabinet. With the detailed soundscapes available from the Blu-ray titles, you would definitely want to invest in a good playback system for the high resolution multi-channel audio tracks. Even so, if you just want to stick with the built-in system you will still get pretty decent results.
Plasma TV technology advances very quickly – Panasonic has been able to reduce energy use in the TC-P46S30 by up to 25% year-to-year compared to similar models. This is based on improved processes and better technology. Panasonic exceeds Energy Star requirements in all of their models.
The panels are expected to last 100,000 hours. This will help keep your P46S30 on the job delivering great pictures – and out of landfills. When it finally meets its demise you will be happy to know that Panasonic panels are Mercury and lead free.
TheP46S30 comes complete with Viera Connect, Panasonic’s rebranded Viera Cast which provides access to popular on-demand services like Netflix, Skype and more. With Viera Connect they have added more features like Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, NBA and NHL hockey.
The SD slot on the P46S30 will turn out to be a popular feature due to its simplicity. It allows you to drop in an SD card and immediately see photos and videos. You can add custom frames to your still photos and music beds to videos. You could return from a family outing, remove the SD card from your camera, place it into the SD slot and watch the day’s fun as you eat dinner– easy and fun.
Connection wise you get the fall Panasonic complement with three HDMI connectors and 1 USB terminal. The TC-P46S30 is Wi-Fi ready and the wireless LAN adapter is included. Also standard is Viera Link – with DLNA compatible components you can set up a wireless network in your home and watch movies from your bedroom or out on the back deck.
Fashions change in the HDTV world much like any product. It wasn’t too long ago that plasma TVs were not very well regarded and many manufacturers discontinued them altogether.
Those days seem far behind us as Panasonic produces model after model with gorgeous pictures combined with energy efficiency. Add in significant advances in imaging technology, such as their proprietary NeoPlasma screens with 600Hz Subfield Drive, and you can see why their plasma models are a hit. Best of all, prices have never been lower – 2011 might be your be your year to jump on board.
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