Traditionally plasma HDTVs have been much less energy efficient than LCD HDTVs. Plasma sets have composed the bulk of Panasonic product offering for sets greater then 40". With the greater worldwide emphasis on energy efficient electronics, Panasonic has developed it's new NEO PDP Panasonic S1-Series plasma panels, which consume one half the power of it's previous generation plasma panels. These plasma panels deliver the same brilliant brightness, which plasma HDTV fans have come to love.
The S1 series, is Panasonic's lowest cost sets with NEO PDP panels. The line comprises of six screen dimensions. The 42" TC-P42S1, the 46" TC-P46S1 , and the 50" TC-P50S1 will be available n March 2009. The 54" TC-P54S1 will be available in May 2009, and room dominating 58" TC-P58S1 and 65" TC-P65S1 will be available in August 2009.
The lower cost S1-Series incorporates many of Panasonic's upscale picture quality traits. The NEO PDP panel, in addition to it's much improved efficiency, has a higher contrast ratio that delivers still deeper black levels.
Plasma screens in general have "absolute black", which the sets pixels shut off during very dark scenes. Panasonic, is marketing a 600Hz subfield drive. This feature is essentially a basic element of plasma technology, but the 600Hz inclusion in product literature is a marketing tact to contrast with the LCD sets which at present hold 80% of the large screen sales. Panasonic is also expanding it's anti reflective filter across the entire plasma line.
Plasma sets have been prone to temporary image retention, aka "burn in". Panasonic incorporates a pixel orbiter that slowly shifts the stationary image around the screen. This feature can be set to on,off, or user defined periodic intervals.
The S1 series connectivity is adequate for most users, there are three HDMI inputs: two in the rear and a third on the side. Other connections include two component video inputs, a composite AV input with and S-Video, and an antenna/cable RF input.
With the much needed efficiency boost, lower prices, and black contrast improvements, the Panasonic S1 series offers a lot of value for the money.