Panasonic TX-P50VT30B review

Is this the best home cinema plasma TV around?

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panasonic tx p50vt30b

The differences between this top-end plasma TV and those lower down the pecking order at Panasonic are initially merely aesthetic.

The Panasonic TX-P50VT30B's silver trimmed single glass pane design aside, the two pairs of 3D glasses in the box, a spruced-up remote control with backlighting and a slim 37mm depth - thinner than most mid-range LED TVs, but chubbier than flagship LED TVs - make this a standout screen in Panasonic's store cupboard.

To reach that slim depth has meant using a few proprietary ins and outs and an unusual connections layout, which means a plethora of adaptors in the box. A recessed side panel contains the meat; four HDMI inputs, a USB port, SD card slot and a Common Interface module.

On a rear panel are adaptor points for component video, composite video, Scart and analogue audio in and out, alongside points for Freeview and Freesat, and Ethernet LAN.

Unusually, there's a separate section higher up on the TV's backside that's home to two further USB slots, one of which is designed to take a Skype camera, which Panasonic sells separately.

Although almost all of the brand's output is fitted with a Freeview HD tuner, the Panasonic TX-P50VT30B comes with an additional Freesat HD version. It's good news for those who need it, although rather niche; of more worth is the bigscreen TV's ability to record broadcasts straight from live TV, as well as timed from the EPG to a USB-connected hard drive.

It's also a boon to find digital file support from a USB flash drive as well as from a DLNA-compatible networked PC (or Mac if you install a UPnP client), the latter enabled by an integrated Wi-Fi module.

Wi-Fi makes placement of the Panasonic TX-P50VT30B so, so much easier and will enable full use of the TV's impressive online dimension.

That Wi-Fi brain is also used to hook up the Panasonic TX-P50VT30B to broadband for Viera Connect duties. This online platform is now becoming a slick and powerful rival to the industry leaders - Samsung's stuffed, but rather amateur-looking Smart Hub, and Sony's arguably peerless Bravia Internet Video.

Viera Connect comprises eight dynamic app icons around a bigger, central window that plays, with audio, whatever live input you want - typically a Blu-ray movie or Freeview TV show. That makes it feel part of the TV as a whole rather than a separate service, but it's slightly hampered by the need for several screens; a bit like all those apps on a smartphone that can stretch to too many pages.

At least it can be customised, although most of the services are genuinely useful. Acetrax, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Skype (if you buy a camera/microphone), Facebook, Eurosport, Viera Connect Market and links to set up are on the default home screen. The second page is less essential, with Twitter joined by Screenrush, Euronews, Picasa, UStream, SHOUTcast and Dailymotion. Aupero, Chess Challenge, CNBC Real-Time, BBC News live feed and a weather service can be found elsewhere.

Image quality is bolstered largely by the use of a NeoPlasma panel sporting Infinite Black Pro, which represents something akin to the pinnacle of plasma innovation (as we'll see). It also has a High Contrast Filter Pro (to boost brightness in a daytime environment) and 600Hz Sub-Field Drive motion processing.

Tech Specs

Product TypePlasma TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4), DVB-S2
Analog TunerNTSC, PAL, SECAM
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports3
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyViera VT30
3D Type3D
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size127 cm (50")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Memory Card ReaderYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
Weight with Stand (Approximate)35 kg
Operating Power Consumption410 W
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
RMS Output Power12 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand768 mm
Width with Stand1202 mm
Depth with Stand335 mm
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
Teletext Memory1500
3D ConversionYes
USB RecordingYes
Motion Interpolation TechnologyIntelligent Frame Creation Pro
Enhanced Refresh Rate600 Hz
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD)
Height733 mm
Width1202 mm
Depth50 mm
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus, DTS, Virtual Surround Sound
Product SeriesVT30
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Colour Depth68.7 Billion Colors (12-bit)
FeaturesChild Lock, Picture and Text (PAT), Picture and Picture (PAP), Picture in Picture, PC Streaming, Media Player, Web Content Access, Teletext
Product ModelTX-P50VT30B
Product NameViera TX-P50VT30B Plasma TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTXP50VT30B
Manufacturer Website Address
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.

The 600Hz Sub-field Drive* in VIERA plasma TVs teams up with Intelligent Frame Creation Pro technology to deliver smooth, fluid, on-screen motion. By using an intelligent algorithm within the picture processing based on motion detection, the best combination of frames is created to deliver ultra crisp sports, film and game action.

Package Contents
  • Viera TX-P50VT30B Plasma TV
  • 2 x Pairs of 3D Eyewear
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)31 kg