Panasonic Viera TC-P50U50 Plasma TV Review$899.00
There's nothing very surprising about the U50's design. The 50-inch panel is balanced squarely upon a plain, black plastic stand--you know, the kind that tends to gather fingerprints like a rich man gathers friends. The stand is affixed to the panel by two rounded, metal rods, so as long as your screws are tight, the TV promises to be sturdy. Unfortunately, that sturdiness comes at a price: namely, a glaring lack of flexibility. The P50U50 does not swivel, which we find to be a hugely lamentable oversight, especially by today's standards for HDTVs. While there aren't a lot of ports to speak of, the U50's two HDMI inputs are located on the back of the TV, rather than the side, and a little swivel would be a welcome addition to be sure.
Design components aside, this TV is very average looking. Its bezel, like its stand, is black plastic, giving way to a rounded metal back that feels strong, yet strangely hollow. Almost all of its major ports are located on its back, though there aren't many of them. The left side of the TV is where you'll find the controls--which are quite easy to use--and a single USB port for playing back your pictures and music, as well as the now ubiquitous Panasonic SD card slot, which Panasonic continues to include as a way to boost their sales of Panasonic brand SD cards. We think that's a silly reason to include a port that doesn't do anything that the much more consumer-friendly USB port doesn't already do.