The Panasonic TH-50PH9BS’s HD pictures impress, too, with their sharpness. Even while using the Movie preset, which sets the picture’s sharpness to just 20, pictures look extremely detailed, crisp and textured. Yet crucially, so long as you don’t try and push Sharpness beyond its 50 setting, this excellent detailing isn't joined by excessive dot crawl, grain or stressy edging.
Also great from a resolution point of view is the Panasonic TH-50PH9BS’s handling of motion. For as well as it almost completely avoiding the smearing and resolution loss you get with most LCD TVs, the set’s Cinema Smooth film mode does a startlingly good job of removing judder with Blu-rays without generating unwanted processing side effects or leaving the picture looking unnaturally fluid.
We were also very pleased to see motion suffering no evidence of either the dot fizzing noise or double edging that are still issues on Panasonic’s plasmas (unless you’re very careful with their motion processing, at any rate).
Also positive is the way the Panasonic TH-50PH9BS suffers less with the green dithering noise in dark areas, which was pretty much my only issue with the F8500 plasmas.
We should stress, however, that the reason for this dithering on the F8500 was that it was driving its panel extremely hard in order to deliver hitherto unprecedented levels of brightness for plasma technology. So you might guess from the Panasonic TH-50PH9BS’s relative lack of this dithering that its pictures aren't nearly as bright as those of the F8500s, and you'd be right. Before anyone gets too disconsolate about this, though, they’re still bright enough to be more than satisfactory in an averagely bright room.