The design compromise created by the bulge of a decently sized pair of speakers in the TX-P50GT30B proves worthwhile, as the TV produces a louder, more open and more detailed soundstage than most skinny TVs. There's no hint of distortion at sensible to loud volumes, either.
However, there's still not quite enough extension to the dynamic range – especially at the bass end – to enable the soundstage to excel.
To some extent, £1,800 doesn't seem like too high a price to pay for a TV as feature-laden and, above all, accomplished as the TX-P50GT30B. Indeed, it's hard to imagine a better quality 50-inch TV coming along this generation.
However, its value story is undoubtedly damaged by the fact that no 3D glasses are included with the TV (meaning a family of four will have to add another £400 or so to the asking price) and the knowledge that LG's flagship 47-inch passive 3D TV, the 47LW650T, is going to sell for only just over £1,300, complete with seven pairs of free glasses.
Ease of use
Panasonic's remotes this year are solid enough, combining a large but comfortable form, well spaced and clearly labelled buttons, one-key access to the most important features and a mostly logical layout.
The brand's onscreen menus are better too, thanks to the minor, but much appreciated introduction of a few graphics to break the monotony of loads of text and the moving of the IFC/Smooth Film modes into the main Picture menu.
Some may take issue with the way you have to activate the TV's 'Advanced' mode to access its colour and gamma controls, but it's not a big deal really, and stops casual users accessing things they might mess up.
The only serious issue with the TX-P50GT30B's operating system is that the Viera Connect interface, while clearly presented, is not particularly effective when required to handle a large volume of apps.