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Panasonic's second-generation 3D plasma TV arrives with a lot to live up to and some hot competition, so it's just as well that it comes sporting a radically revamped panel design and all manner of multimedia tricks and treats.
The new panel technology enables much more brightness than was possible on previous models and this is achieved without damaging energy consumption or spoiling contrast. The TX-P50GT30B's multimedia talents include USB recording of the Freesat and Freeview HD tuners and access to Panasonic's exciting new Viera Connect online platform.
Happily, the new plasma technology helps the TX-P50GT30B improve considerably upon the already fine GT20 series with both 2D and 3D footage, enabling enhanced contrast, richer colours, much more brightness and more detail in dark 3D areas. These new benefits come on top, of course, of plasma's already proven advantage with 3D crosstalk.
You need to be more careful to avoid image retention in the first 100 or so hours of the TX-P50GT30B's life than you might have been with previous models, but provided you're willing to commit to this and can afford the asking price, it's a spectacular TV.
The improvements Panasonic has introduced to its 2011 3D panels deliver clear and wide-ranging picture quality benefits, such as enhanced contrast, richer colours, sharper detailing, and a more dynamic picture, in 2D as well as 3D.
The TX-P50GT30B looks nice by Panasonic standards, too and is beautifully built. Plus, it's superbly connected with multimedia tools galore.
The screen seems more prone to image retention, at least in the early hours of its life, than last year's models. There's a little colour seepage with 50Hz PAL footage too, but this can be fixed via the IFC system.
A bit more control over colours and motion processing would be a good move too, and it would have been nice to find built-in Wi-Fi and a couple of free 3D glasses included for its £1,800 price tag. Finally, Panasonic's current 3D glasses continue to irk.
As with its debut 3D LCD TV, Panasonic has gone for broke with the first of its new 3D plasmas, a fact that has resulted in a rather imposing price tag on the TX-P50GT30B. The good news is that your outlay is rewarded with a truly sensational level of picture quality in either 2D or 3D mode.
The high levels of extra punch Panasonic has added to the GT30's 2D and 3D pictures versus last year's equivalent models means you need to take a few extra precautions to avoid screen retention in the TV's early days. Aside from this, the performance is state of the art.
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John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.