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Panasonic TX-P50G30B review

This 50-inch plasma is one the best 2D TVs you can buy

Panasonic TX-P50G30B
If you want the best picture possible and are not interested in 3D, give this plasma TV an audition

Panasonic tx-p50g30b

The TX-P50G30B, like most of Panasonic's Viera range, is dripping with features. If you're looking for a smart TV, you've found one.

The Panasonic begins with a dazzlingly healthy selection of modes, tweaks and technology designed to deliver the kind of AV performance anyone spending £1,100 on a TV will expect. It has a full HD resolution (1920x1080 pixels) and a built-in Freeview HD tuner (but no Freesat version, surprisingly), while picture processing is from Panasonic's powerful Vreal Live engine.

Further picture enhancement features include proprietary Intelligent Frame Creation motion smoothing technology, 600Hz sub-field drive and Content Auto Tracking System (CATS).

The TX-P50G30B has been certified by both THX and the Image Science Foundation (ISF). This means that users get a THX-certified preset optimised for movie watching (although, annoyingly, there's no dedicated button for it on the remote control) and the ability to pay an ISF-trained calibrator to pop round and fine tune two further dedicated presets.

You could, of course, have a go at doing this yourself, although Panasonic makes it hard for you to do so by accident. You need to go into the Setup menu (not the Picture menu) to unlock access to the Professional1 and Professional2 modes - then you can run wild in the advanced picture sub-menu, experimenting with the white balance, colour management and gamma tools.

The vast majority of buyers will be perfectly happy with one of the many picture presets, though.

The impressive AV chops are complemented by the TX-P50G30B's extensive multimedia talents. The set is DLNA-certified and network-savvy. Via the Viera Tools button on the handset, you can access media stored on your home network (via wired Ethernet if you don't want to splash out on the optional dongle), USB and SD card.

We had no trouble connecting to our resident NAS device and pulling down music and photo files (you can even watch a slideshow accompanied by some cheesy background music). Video playback was a bit more hit-and-miss - AVI, AVCHD, MP4 and DivX files played, but the TX-P50G30B turned its nose up at .MKV videos.

Then there's Viera Connect, Panasonic's own content portal. This is slickly designed and chock full of apps, though some are of less appeal than others. BBC iPlayer (with HD content), Acetrax, YouTube, Eurosport and CineTrailer are among the standout offerings. Typing via the Panasonic handset is not a fun experience, though, and a smartphone is a far superior means by which to access Twitter and Facebook.

The Panasonic TX-P50G30B is one of the best connected TVs in the business, with four HDMI inputs (one-side mounted) and three USB inputs (one dedicated to recording from the TV's own in-built tuner).

Add in Ethernet, SD card, optical digital audio, PC input, and those Scart and composite connections that you'll probably not bother with, and it has every base covered.