Contrast and black levels
Freeview HD & Freesat HD
Smooth, sharp motion
Immaculate 2D & 3D
3D images lack brightness
Inconsistent handling of digital files
Small buttons on remote
Some image retention
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Panasonic has done it. This 50-inch plasma TV is a true home cinema heavyweight, in every sense of the word. The Panasonic TX-P50VT30B's backbreaking setup, however, is worth it for one of the most delectable performances of the year in our test rooms.
The TX-P50VT30B is the TV screen that cements Panasonic's reputation as the king of 2D plasma, and a similar position awaits it for 3D trickery, too. It's obvious right from the start that this is something special; the build quality is second to none, and the use of a single sheet of glass across the front of a very slim panel puts is above the likes of Samsung and Sony in the style stakes.
Looks-wise, the only slight minus is the rather wide bezel around the picture, which stretches to an 'enormous' 45mm - not huge, admittedly, but nothing on the single-figure measurements of Samsung's LED TVs such as the UE40D5520.
That's plasma tech for you, but there are so many more pluses to recommend this screen above any other 50-incher.
Chief of which is the way the Panasonic TX-P50VT30B handles 3D images. The 3D technology employed here is of the active shutter variety; brands such as Panasonic, Samsung and Sony are fighting a rearguard action against LG's passive 3D system, which boasts multiple 3D glasses that cost just a quid or two, but the TX-P50VT30B is a reason in itself for the active shutter system's existence.
Built around the brand's hugely impressive Infinite Black Pro 2 NeoPDP plasma panels, other sizes in the VT30 line-up aside from this 50-incher include the 42-inch Panasonic TX-P42VT30B, 55-inch Panasonic TX-P55VT30B and 65-inch Panasonic TX-P65VT30B.
Going for between £1,500 and £4,000, in engineering terms these VT30 screens are the inheritors of both the engineering brilliance and praise thrown at Pioneer's illustrious Kuro plasmas of a few years ago.
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),