Panasonic tx-p46vt20b

After an uncertain start thanks to a rather desultory design, the TX-P46VT20B quickly starts to hit its stride.

Its connections are expansive and varied, for a start. The four v1.4 HDMIs should be enough to cater for even the most ambitions AV fan, while those of you already immersed in the new multimedia world will appreciate the video/photo/music flexibility offered via USB and SD card slots - not to mention the set's flexible DLNA compatibility.

You can also record from the set's onboard Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners to USB HDD, and take the TV online to explore Panasonic's fair-to-middling Viera Cast platform.

The TX-P46VT20B leaves no stone unturned in its quest for good picture quality, either. Obviously, its headline feature here is its 3D playback, which is the best currently around thanks to the way Panasonic's plasma technology suppresses the distracting crosstalk problem that blights 3D on LCD TVs.

But the screen's Infinite Black Pro technology also helps make it a stellar performer with 2D, producing the finest black level response seen since the days of Pioneer's KURO TVs. Other factors playing their part in the TX-P46VT20B's generally excellent pictures are its freedom from motion blur, rich colours, exceptional HD detailing, and impressive standard-definition upscaling.

Add some better than average audio to the heady picture mix, and you've got a really outstanding TV.

We liked

The importance of the TX-P46VT20B's ability to show 3D with hardly any crosstalk noise cannot be overstated. But even if 3D is only of secondary interest to you, the TX-P46VT20B still deserves your attention because of its generally superb picture quality with 2D material – both standard and high-definition. Its multimedia talents are attractive, too.

We disliked

The amount of brightness lost when viewing 3D is annoying. There's also some slight colour bleed from narrow, bright picture elements when watching 50Hz material; Viera Cast is a little behind the best online platforms; and the TV's looks and operating system are both rather bland.

Final Verdict

Don't be fooled by the TX-P46VT20B's uninspiring looks. Tucked within the bronzed body are some real cutting edge moves, including, rather handily, 3D pictures that represent the current state of the art.

It's also a multimedia-savvy lover of 2D material, even taking standard-definition sources in its stride.

It's not the easiest TV to learn your way around and Panasonic would be well advised to both call in some serious design help and try and get a bit more brightness into its 3D pictures, but the TX-P46VT20B remains arguably the best 46-inch TV of the current generation.

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