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The Panasonic TX-P50GT50 suffers from the same problem as all of the brand's 2012 TVs; while its user interface is relatively straightforward to use, it's long-winded and old-fashioned-looking, and not a patch on the likes of LG, in particular.
Take media playback. The Panasonic TX-P50GT50 supports MOV, MP4, AVC HD and AVI files over a network, adding MKV and WMV support if you use a USB flash drive. MP3, WMA and FLAC music files are also supported, as are JPEG photos.
Not a bad effort, but actually accessing these files from a Mac is a terribly manual process, and poor when compared to LG's SmartShare idea.
That said, it's not a difficult or complicated TV to get on with, largely thanks to its excellent preset picture modes. Kudos goes to the THX Cinema mode in particular, though there are two spaces – Professional 1 & 2 – on which to save calibrations; the Advanced Menu (once activated in the set-up menu) contains tweaks for white balance, gamma and colour management.
Dual-core processing makes Viera Connect a joy to use, and it remains one of the easiest to use smart TV platforms around, despite its separation from the GUI as a whole.
A final gripe about the user interface involves the grid-like electronic programme guide for Freeview HD; it contains two hours' of schedules for 10 channels, but both audio and picture of the channel you're on are cut while you inspect it. It badly needs a live TV thumbnail.
As a result of the Panasonic TX-P50GT50 being relatively slim, audio is nothing to get excited about.
We failed to hear much difference between V-Audio and V-Audio Surround, and though there's just enough mid-range to cope with most dialogue-dominated TV programmes, the onboard sound never does justice to the on-screen awesomeness.
We think the Panasonic TX-P50GT50 is excellent value, considering its high-end performance. Still, we do think that any plasma TV costing this much that purports to be a 3D TV – and a stunningly effective one, at that – really should have at least a couple of pairs of 3D glasses in the box.
All use Bluetooth or radio to link to the Panasonic TX-P50GT50, so no line of sight is required, though that does have the unfortunate effect of making 3D specs from Panasonic's previous 3D TVs, such as the Panasonic TX-P50VT20 obsolete. Who'd be an early adopter?
Although the step-up VT50 version of this TV includes a slightly more advanced black filter, some 3D glasses and a touchpad remote control, the latter, in particular, isn't worth paying extra for.
Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and Space.com. He also edits two of his own websites, TravGear.com and WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),