Bottom Line: Panasonic is one of the few manufacturers still dedicated to making plasma televisions, but I believe it’s too early to sound a death knell for the technology. The Panasonic TC-P46G10 proves that plasma is still a winner with a beautiful, film-like picture and an assortment of terrific, cutting-edge extras. Most noteworthy among the latter is the TC-P46G10’s Viera Cast Internet connectivity. That feature allows the set to stream Web content from YouTube, Amazon Video On Demand and other sources without need for an outside device.
- Smooth film-like images and nice, deep black levels
- THX certified display
- 600Hz refresh rate to prevent motion blur
- Direct access to YouTube, Amazon Video on Demand and other Web-based content
- On board photo viewer
- Easy setup
Setup: For a large TV, the TC-P46G10 is easy to get up and running. It comes with a small pedestal stand that can be assembled with eight screws in about five minutes. Because of the screen size, it’s preferable to have a second person available when lifting the television onto the stand, but my wife and I were able to handle all aspects of the setup quickly and with relative ease.
The TC-P46G10 is reasonably well designed for connection to multiple devices. It has three HDMI inputs (two on the rear and one on the side), as well as an antenna/cable input, two component video inputs, two composite video inputs and an S-Video input. There’s also a PC input (if you want to use the television as a monitor) and both digital and analog audio outputs for connection to a home theater amplifier.
The remote control is a nice size, well-labeled and intuitive to use. It is particularly well designed for using the TC-P46G10’s Web-based functions.
Appearance: The TC-46G10 is an attractive television. The screen is bordered by a simple-but-elegant glossy frame that’s about 1½ inches wide on the top and sides and about two inches on the bottom. The set, which is wall-mountable, features bottom-mounted speakers that are not visible to viewers.
Picture Quality: I personally have a weakness for the super-bright images that today’s LCD televisions produce, but many people still prefer plasmas, and when fed with good source material, the TC-46G10 delivers a rich, film-like image that should satisfy just about anyone. Although some televisions come with more picture-adjustment controls, the Panasonic still allows users to tinker with the basics and I didn’t have any trouble coming up with settings that were satisfactory for multiple sources, ranging from standard-definition television to Blu-ray movies.
Of course, there are many viewers who hate to adjust controls like brightness, contrast, tint, color and sharpness. This is understandable because it’s easy to make a picture worse than when you brought the television home. Because of that, the TC-P46G10 comes with several pre-defined video settings, meant to be good for general use. These include a “vivid” option and a mode for video games. There is also a THX setting, which optimizes the picture to THX Certified standards. The THX mode is meant to adjust the picture so that movies are shown exactly as directors intended. Like others who have reviewed this set, I found the THX setting a little dim, so I tweaked it. Some people may not have an issue with the brightness, however, as this mode is meant to be used in low-light situations and it does make it easy for viewers to grab a good, no-fuss picture with the touch of a button.
Along with the predefined picture options, viewers can create their own manual settings that are saved for each input. For instance, you can save one picture setting for your Blu-ray player and use completely different settings for your standard television viewing.
Plasma televisions are touted for their ability to handle motion without blurring, and the TC-P46G10 uses a 600Hz refresh rate to assure that the picture is crisp even during fast-action sequences. I personally think complaints about motion blur with LCD televisions are overblown, as the average person is probably not going to be bothered if watching one of today’s better LCD sets. You can notice the difference with test patterns, but when is the last time you watched a test pattern. If, however, motion blur is a concern for you, it won’t be with the TC-P46G10.
Audio quality: The TC-P46G10’s onboard speakers do an excellent job filling a room. In fact, when running satellite television and Blu-ray signals to the set, I couldn’t get the volume past 50 percent of capacity without it becoming painfully loud. As for quality, the sound is decent for built-in speakers, particularly when using the set's built-in "surround sound" mode. Still, I noticed soundtrack distortion on several occasions during the review period, particularly when the set was trying to reproduce deep bass sounds. I was able to minimize (in fact almost eliminate this) by playing with the audio settings, but people looking for a high-end theater experience will want to connect the set to an outside amplifier using its digital audio output.