on 18 June 2011
This is an excellent 3D plasma television, and I can recommend it 100%.
This is a brief report, as at the time of writing I've only had it for a month. In this time I've used it for blu-rays and hi-def gaming exclusively - no TV or satellite.
BUILD QUALITY: it's a handsome set, with a silver bezel framing one piece of glass. It is very thin (3cm) and looks very elegant. It isn't as hi-tech looking as the samsung sets, which appear to have come off the set of Star Trek, but I like its black contours.
2D PICTURE QUALITY: I haven't calibrated the set yet, I've been using it mainly on the THX setting. This pre-set is a great start, a shade too much yellow in the skin tones on my set, but otherwise very, very impressive. My preferred blu-rays (Days of Heaven on Criterion, Blade Runner, Godfather) look gorgeous; standard def DVDs (No Country, There Will be Blood) look great too. Frankly, I haven't put anything through it yet that hasn't looked awesome!
3D PICTURE QUALITY: Avatar was incredible, better than in the cinema, where I had a funny problem with scale (it felt to me as though the large screen had been shrunk into my glasses!); the Imax scenes in Tron are also astounding. Flicker free, no cross talk (or "ghosting", though I always seem to see some for a few minutes before my eyes settle properly into receiving 3D images). The great thing about the VT30 is that panasonic include 2 pairs of infra-red glasses, which are very expensive to buy separately. The glasses are very light (they seem to be made from a light carbon-fibre), are pretty comfortable to wear over normal glasses. They also feel very breakable - not for nothing do Panasonic house them in a tough plastic box. Keep them away from the kids...
VIDEO GAMES: I've got a PS3, 360 and a Wii hooked up, and they all perform brilliantly. Actually, they play noticeably better even than on my older 2006 plasma - with the picture processing effects turned off, there's next to no input lag on the VT30, which I understand is a problem generally on LCD/LED panels, where controller response time can feel sluggish. Also, there are no negative picture effects (motion blurring or phosphor trails) which I understand can sometimes be a problem. Finally, 3D gaming on the VT30 is flat-out amazing: I replayed both Crysis 2 and Killzone 3 in 3D, and can safely say that there's no going back. Personally, I think 3D has a better future in gaming than it does in the cinema...
SOUND: the TV sounds fine. I don't have it hooked up to a 5.1 system, which would obviously improve matters. But in any case, it is certainly rich and I've squeezed plenty of low end out of it. I can confirm that it doesn't sound tinny!
NEGATIVES: In the evening, with a darkened room, the picture is stunning. With a lot of daylight in the room, however, the picture can seem rather dull. I'm informed that LCD screens are better for well-lit rooms. Perhaps something to consider if you want this set for daytime TV viewing.
There have also been reports on various internet tech-enthusiast forums that the 2011 panasonics are suffering from a fluctuating brightness issue (where the picture visibly lightens and darkens to accommodate sudden changes in picture contrast). I haven't noticed this on my VT30. If it's there, it's invisible to me so far. If you've heard about this and you're worried about it, go and demo a set in the shop.
To conclude, I can only say that this is a fantastic piece of technology to own and indulge in at home. At work I spend a lot of time looking at reference quality HD video monitors, as I work in post-production for feature films. I'm used to seeing perfect colour reproduction and the best projection money can buy, so I tend to spot flaws like a hawk. This panasonic VT30 has only impressed me so far, and I look forward to many years of enjoyment from it.
on 9 December 2011
please find an update on this set at the end of the review- 16-02-12
Bit of a TV buff, so this may go on a bit-
I have had this TV for about two months now, still bedding in so can only presume the picture will change in the future, if it is possible to get any better that is.
I have the TV connected to a Pionner LX91 Blue Ray Player and a Pionner amp and I watch TV through a virgin TIvo box on HD channels. I sit about 3.5m away from the set for normal viewing and closer for blue ray and 3D
I looked at the Samsung 8000 series before getting this model. The one I viewed had a very good picture, supper bright and sharp. Motion was a bit off though during fast shots and I couldn't help but feel that the blacks looked a bit washed out when viewed in dim lighting. I would say that this range is the only one that comes close to this TV. Sony needs to catch back up, must have been napping in the 2011 development meetings.
The build quality is outstanding. The single sheet of glass looks like one big I pad hanging on the wall. Panasonic have made some changes to the previous models. The power lead is now built into the rear of the panel, meaning that if you wish to feed the lead down internal wall conduit, you will have to cut the plug off. You also get adaptors for the inputs, allowing connections to be made a bit easier. HDMI are on the side, set into the panel. Depending on the type of leads you use, they may stick out. They would have to be very thick though for this to happen.
I have had three other top of the range Panasonics over the years and have seen the picture develop for the better throughout this time. I have never had any of them calibrated by a certified engineer, but I am tempted this time. I think that the picture would be truly outstanding once this has been carried out.
For the time being I am using the THX setting, which gives a bright and punchy picture (in the right lighting). However this setting gives the picture a slight yellow tone, as mentioned by another reviewer. Don't get me wrong the picture is still outstanding and the tone gives the picture warm feel, but it would be nice just to tone this down a bit. On the other sets I have had the THX setting lets you do this, but I can not appear to find the setting on this one.
Also in THX the gamma is just a bit out (touch bright). This appears to be corrected when playing blue rays through the player though,
Other settings are very good, with Cinema giving a good picture but not as punchy as the THX. (bit green) needs calibrating.
Professional setting 1&2 needs calibrating, and I can't do this to the level needed to give it a punchy picture with true reference colour. Messing about with the colours and brightness just doesn't cut it.
I do not use normal as the blacks appear to be crushed and dynamic just looks wrong
There is a True Cinema setting which appears when you use the TV's built in I Player etc. This setting is very good and I would use this more if it was available in other inputs.
BLUE RAY PICTURES
Out of all the sets I have had this is the best. The blacks, the colour's the sharpness all add up to make at truly outstanding picture, and it appears to be getting better the older it gets. No other TV on the market comes close to this other than Samsung 8000 range. Others may be touch sharper (I have a sony which looks sharper) but there is something about the picture which blows you away with the Panasonic. It is shame that the Plasmas look so dull and washed out in the shops; because this is not how they look in lighting you would watch a film in.
CABLE - HD TUNER
TV Tuner looks very good, although gamma is out on the THX setting. I was happy watching the built in HD tuner until I connected the Virgin Tivo box through my amp. The picture is truly amazing. The sharpness is unbelievable and the gamma is corrected giving it a deeper feel. I was going to connect the Tivo box directly to the TV, but it would not let me set it to 1080p in the menu settings. Says it is not a 1080p TV.. think it is Virgin.. So I connected it to the amp which up-scaled it to 1080p.
I didn't get this set for 3D as I had no discs and no interest in getting into 3D . However, since testing this out with my PS3, I have bought the bottom range Panasonic 3D player just to play 3D on. The picture is outstanding and has no cross talk. The picture does go darker with the glasses though and I was tempted to put the setting to normal to brighten the picture up. This would be a shame as the set is THX 3D certified, and for this reason I have left it on THX and set the contrast up on the player instead. This gives a brighter picture, but keeps the colour true. The new glasses which have come out recently are good, but not as bright as they advertise. Very light though. But not that much different to the ones you get with the TV.
Overall I would say cartoons are the best in 3D. (Not including Avatar of course) this is due to the bright picture that they have, and you can set the TV to normal without the picture looking crushed.
Black levels are very good. When the lights are out and screen is switched on you can still see light on the screen, but the black edges blend in very well. On some blue rays you cannot see the edges of the screen at all. Are they as good as the Pionners of past? I would say one more model away yet, although the 65inch version of this TV has reference black levels? I would love a TV which is totally black when viewed in dim lighting, however I don't think this would be possible with present technology. Would like to see Panasonic professional range of plasmas for blacks, but 45,0000 pounds for a plasma is pushing it a bit.
Over all this TV is outstanding and out of all the Panasonics I have had, this has been the best one out of the box . I have not had to mess with the picture as much to obtain a fantastic picture. I would advise that THX is the best setting, once you have adjusted to the slightly warm picture as this setting gives it a more natural picture. I would watch HD through the Freesat tuner or Virgin, sky to get that extra sharpness. Give 3D a try The player I got was 90 pound and I got 2nd hand films to keep cost down.
Just a case of 65 or 55inch,. The 65inch is even better. Sat in front of one, 3m away and it was still watchable. Mmmmmmmmm. wife only said to me the other day I wish it was bigger,!
Had the set now for 4 months. Picture looks amazing still. I am now using the pro 1 setting which I have calibrated myself. I have put the Gamma at 2.4 which looks dark at first but gives the picture a 3d feel and the depth is outstanding. I turned the contrast up to 60, colour 27, brightness 29, sharpness 6. only messed around with other settings a little nothing major. in a dim lit room the picture is truly amazing with the gamma at 2.4, this gives the correct gamma for the set which comes out at 2.2, The more I watched the THX the more washed out I thought it was. No way is the gamma 2.2 like it should be to be passed by THX. Also the picture had a hint of green, I have read over time that the thx mode does get darker and the green drops off. But in the mean time I will stick to pro 1. love this tv. Having had it the wall I would go for the 65 next. cant wait to view the 2012 range. well done Panasonic for sticking with plasma.
The abnormities with the THX setting, mainly the green tint and contrast, have balanced out now. The setting looks very good when playing blue rays and is starting to look how THX should. The black levels are getting darker. The edges around the films blend into the surround on the TV now.
Our TV is our main source of entertainment at home, so we decided to splash out on the top of the range TX-P50VT30-B, bought this week from a local supplier for £1765 with a five year genuine Panasonic guarantee included in the price. The guarantee sealed the deal, otherwise we'd have certainly used Amazon.
First impressions were of just how 'chunky' and solid feeling everything was. The stand is far more rigid than our old Toshiba one, and very easy to assemble, although this set is certainly a two person lift. It weighs a surprising amount in these days of lightweight electronic hardware.
The TV itself seems to be made of better materials than the Toshiba too, hence the weight, and the remote feels like holding a lump of metal compared to a bit of relatively flimsy plastic.
And then there's the picture....
Let's just say it's the best picture I've ever seen on any television. We seem to have avoided the green splodges and fluctuating brightness that one or two other reviewers have encountered, and I can't praise it highly enough. And with the five year guarantee, I'd like to think any future problems will be covered, if they happen of course.
We didn't really care about having 3D, and although we briefly tried the glasses and the facility it offers to make 2D programmes into 3D (rather impressive actually), we doubt the proper 3D will be used very often as we've no 3D films to watch at present.
Although I've bought the necessary bits of kit, we haven't set up our wireless internet facility at home yet either, so I can't comment on that aspect of the set's performance.
There's also little features, such as that each item in each section of the menu has a description at the bottom of the screen so you know just what it does, that make this set head and shoulders above any we've previously had. No wonder it's come top in so many reviews.
Summing up, in my opinion, yes it's expensive, but what a fantastic set. And it has a proper on/off button too, something rarely seen these days. If you can afford it, have a look at one in a shop and then prepare to get out your wallet. I'm sure you'll love it.
Update - 29th March 2012. We were still delighted with it until tonight, when, without warning, there was a loud noise and the screen went blank followed by the standby light flashing a few times and going off. Closer investigation showed the screen at the top right hand side was very hot and had a large crack in it. Needless to say, we're awaiting our dealer collecting it, but to me, it's had it and will have to be replaced under warranty. I'll update this once I know more.
4th May 2012. It was collected by our dealer (who has been nothing short of excellent) on Monday April 2nd, for repair. After Panasonic had finally been satisfied we hadn't damaged it ourselves (we were just watching the telly and it went bang, for goodness sake!), he's been trying to repair it ever since. It's had a new screen and two printed circuit boards so far. We're still watching our spare one, and no sign of our Panasonic coming back. He's ordered a second new screen which was supposed to be in today. It's got to lose a star now (down to four), just for FIVE WEEKS with no telly! Watch this space....
10th May 2012. Finally, our long suffering dealer arrived at our door this afternoon with a fully repaired and working TV. Six weeks and a day after it broke, we got it back. It seems fine again now (although I'd almost forgotten how the remote worked), but I'll edit the review again if necessary.
16th May 2012. Here we go again. It's broken down again tonight. The screen hasn't cracked this time, but it started switching itself off at random, and now won't work at all. I think it's time we had a replacement from Panasonic. More here once I know more (and we're down to a generous three stars now.)
25th May 2012. Panasonic got it collected by their main service centre near here (Integrated Services Ltd of Kettering) last Friday and we got it back this morning. It seems to be working fine once more. Only time will tell how long it lasts, but at least we didn't have to wait six weeks for it to be returned this time.
Incidentally, should anyone else intend use them, ISL were excellent, kept us fully informed of progress by text, and were very punctual collecting and delivering the set.
20th January 2013. As many folks perhaps won't bother to read the 'comments' below, it's only fair to put this review back up to five stars now. The set has been superseded, but since I last updated this, we've had no problems at all with it (famous last words!) As far as I can tell, plasma is still king for the best picture when viewed from all angles.
If you're able to pick one of these TVs up for under £1000, you're in for a real treat.
on 4 July 2011
We bought this on the 2nd July. Couldnt be more pleased with it. The picture quality is oh so excellent. There are no visible defects in the displayed picture. Sonys edge LED lighting can lead to horible vertical or horizontal lines apearing when watching football games fast pans.
The functions that it has are numerous and easy to use. Especially "youtube" (easier to use than on the computer).
The remote control is excellent (sonys one is diabolical in comparison. You only have to slightly touch a numbered button and off you go from HDMI to freeview. Complete pain).
Setup was quick and painless. The menus are easy to navigate around. You can even connect to a Win 7 pc (blimey)
Im sitting 2m from it. Analogue pictures are slightly fuzzy, But still watchable. Freeview again is very slightly blurred. But HD stuff is perfectly crisp. For a 55" set the picture is very very good.
Brilliant paper manual. Great looks.
We have a 50" version (what hifi 5*)that is 5 years old and to be honest its just like looking at that but bigger.
Now for the bad points.
Absloutely stupid placeings for the HDMI inputs. I have now got THREE HDMI leads sticking out of the left hand side as its the only place they will go. I have also had to buy longer HDMI leads. I dont want to see leads sticking out the side, Especially the giant yellow one ive got. And now a white one.
But for all that they are really easy to access, Apart from the ones that are on the bottom, Eg the headphone socket
No PC input. The positions of some the USB ports (4 off) are odd as two face upwards, well good as a dust trap. The USB ports are used for charging the 3d glasses,the wireless dongle and connecting a Hard drive storage device.
You have to be a contortionist to get to the headphone socket.
It weighs 39KG for the TV alone. The box it all comes in has a total weight of 54KG. Must be transported upright, Cannot be laid flat. It thus wont go in a hatchback.
Me and the missus struggled up the stairs with it. Took everything out that we could first. Hand holds are slippery, Care needed is when carrying.
This is now our second TV. We had to send the first one back becouse you can hear computer/fan noises from the back. It sounds like a fan wobbling on its bearing and just catching the sides. But im told its the processer on the main board. This one makes the same noise. But it is only audible at low noise levels. If you are sitting over 2m away you wont hear it.
The 3d only seems to work best in very low levels of light. If you use it in daylight you get flickering. But at night its brill. But i really dont want to sit there all night with a pair of glasses on. Avatar Was fun to watch. The 2d to 3d conversion does work but not brilliantly.
Just does everything you want from a tv plus. Buy it and you wont be disapointed, But get someone to give you hand carrying it.
28th August 2011 -- Living with it.
Still hear the ticking noise, but goes when the tv is fully warmed up. Still annoys me that the cables stick ou the side.
But the good bits are 3D. Watched Avatar twice now, Still keep falling asleep through it, But ive got the 3d bug now. It started by watching a HD film on channel 4. I thought why not watch it in 3D (2d to 3d conversion)(i lied it does work brilliantly on HD footage). Watching "The Pacific" that way now. Still feel stupid with the glasses on. But its BRIL. Dont get greasey fingermarks on the glasses as that really spoils the picture. Damn im now a geek!!!
Found a great button on the remote that lets me immediately go back to the previous channel or input. Great for flicking between freview and sat or even the PC.
But THE BEST THING IS we bought an ASUS TRANSFORMER and you can send pictures, music and movies straight to the TV. No wires and no fuss.
And im charging my phone via the USB sockets.
I love it!!!
on 23 October 2012
Last month my wife finally agreed to let me purchase a new HDTV. After doing an obsessive amount of research I settled on this model. Being that this is a plasma TV, and knowing of the "burn-in" issues in the past, I made sure to read quite a bit about how to avoid it. Most of what I came across simply stated that it isn't really a problem these days as long as you have a "break-in" period of about 100 hours.
Unfortunately, that will not help if you are hard-of-hearing and must use subtitles. After just three weeks of owning the television there were now two bars at the bottom of the screen that are darker than the rest of the display. These are caused by subtitles displaying in that area (even though subtitles aren't actually a static image). After hunting around online for a possible fix I read that it could just be mild image retention and I should just give it a few days and use the "scrolling bar" option on the TV.
So, I stopped using subtitles for 3 weeks and, instead, just relied on some headphones. Unfortunately, they are still there, and will most likely remain there. I called Panasonic customer service to see what could be done. I explained that I'm hard-of-hearing and I have to have subtitles. They replied that "burn-in" only really happens if you watch the same thing for many days in a row and that I should use the "scrolling bar" tool frequently. I informed them that I don't watch the same thing all the time, and that I do use the scrolling bar occasionally, but nowhere near frequently because that wasn't stated anywhere in the manual. Then they just casually told me there's nothing they can really do since I left a static image on the TV for too long. I explained that, had I known that subtitles (which wouldn't strike me as a static image) would cause damage to my expensive display, then I would not have purchase the TV in the first place.
I hate rating this product low because the display really is absolutely gorgeous. I just can't recommend it to anyone with a hearing disability knowing that they will damage their TV. I also can't recommend it to anyone who can hear simply because of the unsatisfactory quality and unhelpful customer service.
on 10 December 2011
This replaced a 5 year old 42" LCD TV and it is our primary TV in the front room.
I have been properly impressed with the picture from this Panasonic, the blacks are deep and the colour is rich and vibrant. The setup process is a doddle and it even detected its own firmware updates over wifi once i had connected it... the best TV I have ever owned and I still dont tire of just gazing at the gorgeous rich colours...
on 5 October 2011
didn't buy this Panasonic TX-P42VT30B from Amazon but had it delivered & set it up myself, one or two things I haven't sorted out yet like facebook etc (wireless dongle included connected easily)once I'd set up the hd on virgin I was blown away by the clarity & the colours which are rich & very natural, everybody who've seen it so far have been gobsmacked!the 3d is a bit weird for me probably as I wear varifocal specs but my son assures me it is better than at the flicks!blu rays are magnificent & best put through a 5.1 system.I researched these tv's for months & I have definately made the right choice! highly recommended.
on 17 August 2011
I bought my 55 inch Panasonic TV about 2 mths ago not long after it came out. I am extremely pleased with it so far-fantastic picture quality especially with any good quality source material-Freeview HD / DVD /BLU ray / even the better bit rate freeview SD channels look great from my viewing distance ( 12 feet approx).
Had no problems with the fluctuating brightness - but then I'm sure I read a recent online review which said that this had been fixed for the 2011 model. The black levels of this tv are the best I have ever seen, which sounds a bit nerdy but gives the picture the most amazing contrast and in a dark room you often can't see where the black bars at the top and bottom of the film blend with the black tv border.
One point I'd like to mention also is the game mode which is used when playing online games especially--it really does produce a noticeable reduction in the lag time during gameplay (important in fps). It certainly helps my (low) scores!
I would wholeheartedly recommend this set and the price is still falling online.
30th April 2013
Whilst watching a film the picture started flickering during bright frames with fine magenta lines visible on parts of the picture. Tried switching it off to reboot it but problem kept returning within a minute. Stopped watching it and went to bed worried. Turned it on next morning and seemed ok for a minute then went blank with the 7 blinks of death from the led power light. After some internet research it seems that this indicates a board failure-possibly 3 boards- so have arranged an engineer visit for an estimate!! Hope to recoup some of the cost if it is economic to repair from vendor under Sale of Goods Act 1979 as is only 22mths old.
1 May 2013
Independent engineer (from panasonic website approved list) visited today -diagnosed failure of the power board which is a rare event apparently and is normally paid for by panasonic as a goodwill gesture in 'young' sets so wont cost me anything. Will find out in 2-3 days time if he is correct.
10 may 2013
New SC board fitted today and is back to perfect working order and only cost me £50 call out fee which is not bad as its outside the 1 years guarantee period. Well done panasonic.
Still very pleased with picture quality.
on 26 November 2011
I have had my 50" VT30 for a couple of weeks now and Iam very impressed. I have had a panasonic plasma in one form or another for a good few years and decided that this year I would treat myself to the flagship model. The last Panasonic plasma I bought was back in 2008 and I can confirm that the technology has moved on significantly, picture quality is amazing, although, as always it's only as good as your source, but watching Blu-Rays is a dream.
A lot has been reported on the various issues that apparently plague the 2011 Panasonic panels, however I can confirm I have had no such issues with mine. ( IR, green tinge, fan noise etc etc)
This is my first 3D set so have nothing to compare it against apart from the cinema. I'd say the experience matches, if not betters that of the cinema.
Overall a reallly good set and if your toying with the idea of upgrading from an older model from any manufacturer, then go for it,you will not be disappointed.
on 6 July 2011
Wow! This is an brilliant 3D plasma TV, and I can't recommend it enough....110%.
2D PICTURE QUALITY: the picture is stunning and crosstalk (double images) is minimal. In fact most friends and family that visit comment on how good the picture is even with standard definition TV, HD TV and Blu-ray viewing is out of this world though!
3D PICTURE QUALITY: took a bit of getting used too at first but also quite impressive. My only 3D blu-ray TRON 3D looks amazing, and the 2D to 3D conversion works reasonable well for non native 3D viewing. Panasonic have included 2 pairs of infra-red 3D glasses which are a very welcome addition, and are light and are reasonably comfortable to wear.
SOUND: the TV sounds good for normal TV viewing, but I have it hooked up to my 5.1 surround sound system for the proper movie experience when necessary.
NETWORK: VIERA Connect is Panasonic's cloud-based App Internet service and has a limited number of applications at the moment, but those of you who want YouTube, Facebook etc will be well catered for.....apparently more Apps will be introduced over time. There's even a movie rental App a la LoveFilm.com. The best networking feature however is that the TV will connect to your network and stream music, photos, and video, allowing you to view most of your media on the TV. Most media formats are supported, but not all.
CONCLUSION: this is a fantastic TV, with a great set of features, and the viewing experience has only impressed me so far.