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Panasonic TX-P50GT30B review

Breathtakingly accomplished 3D plasma with cloud-based apps capability

Panasonic tx p50gt30b

The TX-P50GT30B knocks the aesthetic spots off previous Panasonic plasmas, with a cabinet that grows from a strikingly slender depth of 37mm to a reassuringly capacious 60mm where the speakers reside.

The whole screen feels extremely robust, as if it's been hewn from a block of metal. The bezel, in particular, is almost ridiculously sturdy, giving the TV a front-heavy posture that makes it quite difficult to handle when putting it upon its stand.

The bezel is narrow as well as slim and is given further appeal by the application of silver trim to both its inside and outside edges and a subtle, blended-in grey section in the centre of the TV's bottom edge.

The stuff going on inside the TX-P50GT30B is even more interesting. Panasonic's 3D NeoPlasma screens use a new phosphor with faster switching properties to boost the efficiency of the screen's illumination. Panasonic has also shrunk the 'rib' structure that divides the plasma cells, to boost luminance and has managed to increase brightness while reducing power consumption.

Perhaps most interesting of all is the new 'louver' (referring to overlapping slats) shape of the TX-P50GT30B's front filter, which both blocks more ambient light from hitting the screen and absorbs more of whatever remains to deliver an impressive claimed contrast boost of up to 40 per cent.

The TX-P50GT30B's connectivity follows the lead of the TX-L32DT30B, which is good news for the most part. Four HDMIs deliver digital HD and active 3D images, while a LAN port, three USBs, an SD card slot and a D-Sub PC port serve the TV's extensive multimedia abilities.

The LAN port is particularly handy to most modern households, as it enables you either to access content on your DLNA PC or to delve into Panasonic's reasonably extensive new Viera Connect online service.

The USBs and SD card slot are predominantly there to provide instant access to video, photo and music files held on portable storage devices, but the former can also be used either to record – losslessly – from the Freeview or Freesat digital tuners to a powered hard-disk drive drive, or to make the set Wi-Fi-enabled via an optional dongle.

Heading into the TX-P50GT30B's onscreen menus, you'll find that the screen has two endorsements. First, there's a THX mode among the picture presets that extends to 3D playback.

Second, if you head into the Setup menu, you'll see an Advanced (isfcc) option. Activate this then head back to the picture preset options and you'll find two additional Professional slots where an ISF engineer can store day and night image settings.

After activating the Advanced option you'll also be able to access a series of gamma settings and a white balance toolset enabling you to tweak the gain and cut-off levels of the red, green and blue colour elements. There's no way to adjust the secondary (cyan, magenta and yellow) components, though.

Other features of note include Panasonic's 600Hz Sub-field drive technology for making the image look smoother and richer and the brand's Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) system, which interpolates extra frames of image data to remove judder. This morphs into 24p Smooth Film when watching Blu-rays.

When it comes to 3D, there's 2D-3D conversion, a new 'auto detect' option that can spot and respond to side-by-side 3D broadcasts such as those delivered by Sky and the option to adjust the field-depth of 3D images. Bear in mind, though, that exploring the latter tool might result in messing about with depth that has been already been carefully and deliberately set by a 3D source.

Two potentially alarming final adjustments are a pixel orbiter and a screen wipe. These are both designed to tackle plasma's problems with image retention, even though recent experience with Panasonic plasma TVs suggests that such tools are no longer essential.

Viera Connect wraps up the features section; this has already been covered in other reviews of new Panasonic sets, but to save you a spot of cross referencing, its key points are that it's a cloud-based, apps-driven system containing dozens of video, game, music and information apps for you to download if you fancy them.

Highlights include the BBC iPlayer (a long overdue addition to Panasonic's online offering), Skype, YouTube, the Acetrax movie rental/purchase service, and upcoming games and fitness programmes that will work with new optional hardware accessories including a joystick, a pulse-rate monitor, and even a treadmill.

Tech Specs

Product TypePlasma TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4), DVB-S2
Analog TunerPAL
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyViera GT30
3D Type3D
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size127 cm (50")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
EthernetYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)29.50 kg
Operating Power Consumption400 W
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand753 mm
Width with Stand1177 mm
Depth with Stand335 mm
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Teletext Memory1000
3D ConversionYes
USB RecordingYes
Motion Interpolation TechnologyIntelligent Frame Creation Pro
Enhanced Refresh Rate600 Hz
Height718 mm
Width1177 mm
Depth58 mm
Sound SystemVirtual Surround Sound, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS
Product SeriesGT30
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Colour Depth68.7 Billion Colors (12-bit)
FeaturesPicture and Text (PAT), Child Lock, Teletext, Web Content Access, Media Player, PC Streaming
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelTX-P50GT30B
Product NameViera TX-P50GT30B Plasma TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTXP50GT30B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

The viewing experience has never been so lifelike and compelling as it is with Panasonic's 3D Technology. The fast switching phosphors used in the Neo Plasma panels and an original light-emitting process minimise crosstalk (double images) to deliver clear 3D images and ensure comfortable viewing. This technology also helps to improve 2D picture quality.

SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)25.50 kg