The TV lacks picture-in-picture and cannot freeze the image temporarily to catch a phone number, for example. It can, however, accept SD cards with digital photos into a slot on the left side, which lets it play back the images on the big screen.
Connectivity on the TC-PG10 series is perfectly adequate, but not great, starting with three HDMI inputs--two on the back and a third on the side. Other back-panel connections include two component-video inputs, an AV input with composite and S-Video, and an RF input for cable or antenna. There's also an optical digital-audio output and an analog stereo audio output. In addition to the HDMI port and SD card slot, the side panel offers a second AV input with composite video along with a VGA-style PC input (1,366x768-pixel maximum resolution).
All told, the picture quality of the Panasonic TC-PG10 series was excellent, and surpassed that of the company's S1 model in both black-level performance and color accuracy when we engaged THX mode. Color in general was less-satisfactory than we'd like, however, and engaging THX caused slight greenish/yellowish cast when compared with our reference displays--the sole reason the G10 did not earn higher marks in this category.
Our calibration of the TC-PG10 series boiled down to switching the picture mode to THX. In its default settings, we found THX was dimmer than we'd like to see (28.3 footlamberts) and since contrast was already pegged at max, we couldn't equalize light output to our nominal level of 40ftl utilizing user-menu controls. A calibration that accessed the service menu could increase light output in THX mode, but we don't perform such calibrations as part of our TV reviews. We also appreciated the accurate gamma in THX, which measured 2.25 versus the standard of 2.2.
Another difference is that last year's THX on the TH-50PZ800U came closer to the HD specification for cyan and magenta secondary colors; this year those two were off quite a bit, although the primary colors and the yellow secondary were quite accurate, as was the grayscale. The Pioneer PRO-111FD's color accuracy did surpass that of the G10 in both regards.
To get the image brighter, we could have used one of the other picture modes, but none came close to the color or gamma accuracy of THX. We calibrated Custom to our 40ftl level and adjusted the rest of the controls as well as we could, but in the end, the dimmer--albeit more color-accurate--picture of THX was still preferable. We wish Panasonic had let us eke more light out of THX mode, or had simply provided a choice of color spaces or gamma controls with all modes, like many manufacturers do, but it did not in the case of the G10.
Check out this post for our complete picture settings.
For our comparison, we lined up the TC-P46G10 next to the company's TC-P50X1 and TC-P42S1 plasmas, the Samsung LN52A650 LCD, and our reference displays, the Pioneer PRO-111FD and Sony KDL-55XBR8. Each display was recalibrated to match the maximum light output of the Panasonic's THX mode, to provide a level field for comparison. Our image quality tests included scenes from the "Slumdog Millionaire" Blu-ray Disc.
Black level: Since it shares the same panel as the TC-PS1 series, we expected the TC-PG10 to produce a deep shade of black, and we weren't disappointed. In dark scenes, such as the shot of the dark control room for the game show set, shadows and black areas looked deeper and more realistic than those of any of the other displays in the room, with the exception of the Pioneer, which got a bit darker in the blackest areas like letterbox bars.
In a side-by-side comparison between the Pioneer and the G10, the Pioneer had a clear advantage only in actual black areas, like the bars or the black background behind the lettering asking how Jamal Malik got to be one question away from winning. In near-black areas, like the money in the foreground or shadows under the seats and along the equipment in the control room, the depth of black between the two was extremely close--although if we had to choose, we'd say the Pioneer appeared just a bit deeper. But the G10 got closer to the black level performance of the Kuro than any display we've ever tested, meaning it also beat the 800U from last year (although we didn't have an 800U to directly compare with, the G10 got much closer to the Kuro than the 800U did in our recollection).
As for the other displays, despite the S1's identical contrast ratio specification, it appeared lighter in near-black areas than the G10, and couldn't match the latter's color accuracy (the S1 dipped into green). The Sony XBR8 likewise came up short.
Details in shadows were equally good on the G10 and the Pioneer, and again we'd have a hard time choosing one. The difficult opening sequence with the game show and the money worked well to demonstrate the G10's prowess in this regard; it delivered a very realistic rise from black to lighter shadow without obscuring any details.
Color accuracy: As we mentioned, and as you can see in the Geek Box, the TC-PG10 series delivered generally superb color accuracy in most of our objective tests. The exceptions came in its reproduction of the secondary colors of cyan and magenta, which were significantly diverged from the HD standard, as well as in color decoding. The three primary colors and the yellow secondary came very close to the standard, but again, the Pioneer PRO-111FD measured better in this regard, as did last year's Panasonic TH-50PZ800U.
The G10's color decoding also appeared less-accurate than our reference Pioneer and Sony displays. As a result, the image seemed slightly too greenish or yellowish, for example in the polluted skies above the Mumbai, India, slums, the upturned face of the beautiful Latika in Chapter 1, the face of Jamal under the bright lights on-stage or his younger version on the train counting money in Chapter 11, or the trees and shrubs alongside the tracks. We saw an even bigger difference in the green background behind the preview notices on the disc or the brown background on our PS3's menu screen, for example.
To our eyes, the greenish/yellowish cast was not enough to ruin our viewing experience, but in side-by-side comparisons it was pretty obvious in most scenes. We can imagine how videophiles seeking the perfect picture might be disappointed in THX mode, and for them the only solution might be a professional calibration--although we can't say whether that would solve the problem. That said, the color accuracy of THX mode overall on the G10 surpassed that of the other Panasonic plasmas. The G10's saturation and "pop," thanks again to deep blacks, also beat that of every other display in our comparison, with the exception of the Pioneer.
Video processing: In our resolution tests the TC-PG10 series performed very well. It delivered every line of 1080i and 1080p content with still resolution test patterns, properly de-interlaced both film and video-based 1080i content with the "3:2 pull-down" control set to "On" (a first for Panasonic in our experience, whose displays have always failed the film test) and passed all 1080 lines of motion resolution, matching the S1 and beating the Pioneer, which hit between 900 and 1,000 lines. As usual, we found it basically impossible to discern any differences in resolution, motion or otherwise, between the Panasonic and the other 1080p displays in our test when watching actual program material as opposed to test patterns.
The company also includes a "24p direct in" setting that's available when the TV detects a 1080p/24 source, typically from a Blu-ray Disc. As with the PZ800U and 850U models from last year, choosing the "48Hz" setting, as opposed to the standard 60Hz setting, causes the display to refresh at 48Hz to match the 24fps cadence of film. And as with last year's sets, selecting 48Hz on the G10 causes flicker--more intense in brighter areas, but visible pretty much constantly--that basically renders the image unwatchable. We don't expect any of the videophiles toward whom this setting is aimed to stand for the flicker, so we kept the G10 set to 60Hz. It's worth noting that the step-up V10 series refreshes at 96Hz, according to Panasonic, so the flicker shouldn't be a problem on those sets.
Bright lighting: The G10 did a solid job attenuating ambient light and glare in our bright room--not quite as good as the Pioneer or Sony, but clearly better than the highly-reflective Samsung. It uses the same antireflective screen as other 2009 Panasonic plasmas and handled bright lighting as well as those displays. The G10 did not preserve black levels in the bright light as well as any of the other non-Panasonic displays.
Standard-definition: The TC-PG10 series was a mediocre performer with standard-definition material. It resolved every line of the DVD format, although details weren't quite as sharp as on the Samsung, for example. The G10 did a subpar job with moving diagonal lines and stripes on the waving American flag, leaving plenty of jaggies along the edges. Noise reduction was solid, on the other hand, as all three noise reduction settings, especially Mosquito, contributed to removing motes and snow from low-quality shots of skies and sunsets. Finally, the set properly engaged 2:3 pull-down to remove moire from the grandstands behind the race car.
PC: With an HDMI source and set to THX mode, the G10 performed perfectly, resolving every line of a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution source, with no sign of edge enhancement or overscan. Via VGA, the TV would accept a maximum resolution of 1,366x768 pixels, as the manual indicates--and, naturally, the test looked softer, blockier and generally worse than via HDMI. We'd love to see a full-resolution VGA input on a TV this expensive.
|Before color temp (20/80)||6371/6716||Good|
|After color temp||N/A|
|Before grayscale variation||150||Good|
|After grayscale variation||N/A|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.636/0.333||Good|
|Color of green||0.294/0.61||Good|
|Color of blue||0.15/0.057||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Y||Good|
|480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps||Pass||Good|
|1080i video resolution||Pass||Good|
|1080i film resolution||Pass||Good|
Power consumption: Testing was only performed on the 46-inch TC-P46G10, not on the 42-inch TC-P42G10. For details, see the TC-P46G10 review.