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Customer Review

232 of 237 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent TV, 31 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Panasonic Smart VIERA TX-P50GT30B 50-inch Full HD 1080p 3D 600Hz Internet-Ready Plasma TV with Freeview HD and Freesat HD (Installation Recommended) (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I spent a long time researching TVs this year (as I do most years) - last year I had a P42G20, itself a good TV. Having read through various forums and their numerous threads as well as viewing nearly all the current £1000+ TVs in various shops (I am sure most of you know that the picture quality in retail outlets is not what you will see at home - the first question on the menu is if for home viewing or shop - make sure you press the home option!) If you can, find a shop that has a proper viewing room if you are unsure.

First impressions are the TV is visually stunning (probably a first for panasonic). The bezel having a silver inner surround I thought might be a problem with the TV on, but is not, so please don't be concerned as I initally was. I also like the way the surround fades from black to gun metal around the panasonic logo. The bezel inself is the thinnest panasonic have done (please be aware this is not like lcd/led sets which on some of the expensive Samsung TVs is only mm thick - however personally I like this look better). The thichness of the TV is very thin as well, about half last years models.

A very important note for plasma TVs is the "run in time", for this set it between 200 and 500 hours long to get to the optium picture and calibration (google avforums for information on calibration, which most people will never do, but will make your picture stunning). The picture will noticeably improve over this time (mine is not fully run in but is a huge improvement over "out of the box").

In the menu section the picture options I would leave initially on THX or True Cinema, prehaps a touch of adjustment on the brightness (up) - please note do not use dynamic or make the contrast or brightness to high for the first 200 hours to allow accurate pixel development.

For day time viewing the picture will not be as bright as lcd/led TVs and I would put the CATS option on as will will help compensate for bright rooms. If you need any further info on set up send me a email.

Now firstly the HD picture. My Tv is using the integrated Freesat (this is generally better than Freeview HD) which is stunning, I sit about 11 feet from my TV and now I have adjusted from 42 to 50 inch (so glad I did). The colours are amazing and watching the Belgium GP last weekend on BBC1HD there was no picture lag (sometimes a problem on 50Hz TVs - this is not a "true" 600 Hz TV, no such TVs exist) or pixel problems. Watching Football again there was only the smallest lag on the ball. If you compare this to any lcd/led tv they will not be able to match this performance - try for yourself in large retail outlet and get them to show you HD sport with an lcd/led next to a plasma and you will see. The best sport to watch is golf as the ball moves very fast and there are lots of greens to really test the TV. The black levels (again plasma is best) are as good in my opinion as the Pioneer Kuro G9 (arguablely the best TVs made - and they stopped making them 3 years ago as they did not make a profit even though they cost £2000 to £4000! - I have 2 friends with them so I know what they look like).

SD picture quality is OK - but on any 50 inch TV it is not going to be fantastic - fortunately BBC, ITV and CH4 now broadcast most new TV in HD (but not kids tv). The best way to watch SD TV is to record to PVR or Hard Disk Recorder which has an upscaler built it (most do) and the picture is better, a bit more video looking rather than film looking but smoother - you can also use the various picture enhancements in the menu set up which smooth out poor quality pics. If you intend to watch mainly SD pictures I would not recommend a 50" TV.

DVD picture is upscaled very well, again most players have an upscale built in (when the picture comes on in the left hand corner 576p shows). Although not as good as blu ray it is still pretty decent. I would only replace my very favorite films with blu ray.

Blu Ray - pics are amazing and the sound through an external AV Receiver (buy Onkyo HST5405 all in one about £350) is superb. I watched Transformers as a test last week - picture perfect and the sound through the external receiver was absolutely amazing. All my connections are using 1.4 HDMI cables which means as soon as the tv is switched on av kit, blu ray dvd/hdd recorder all switches on. With the 1.4 version if you have a good av receiver you do not need an optical cable to get full 3d sound.

As well as a dvd/hdd recorder I use a 1 TB external hard drive to record TV using the USB connection. The picture quality is excellent, although you cannot use the THX picture mode - you would need to buy a Humax system. I use True Cinema picture setting which with a bit of fiddling is excellent. As external hard drives only cost about £50 this is the best way to record tv.

I am still waiting for my 3D glass so cannot comment on 3D performance but as I also got a panasonic blu ray player with 7 blu rays free offer including Avatar 3D I am looking forward to when Panasonic finally send some to England!

Overall this is an excellent TV - not perfect, as there is no such TV and until OLED or similar becomes available in the next 5 years then plasma will remain the best option for all large TVs. For value this is probably the best bang for your buck you can get. I could not see much difference to the VT30 which is £400 to £500 more, plus has a bigger surround so takes up more room.

I have not included all the many other functions this TV does such as wi fi etc etc as they are not the main reason for getting a TV

One final point, which is very important, if you are buying now the Firmware should be 1213.000, this seems to have fixed some fluctuating brightness issues some people experienced with the first batch of TVs - again email me if you want to know how to do this, it is simple.

If you read reviews this has pretty much cleaned the board this year. The latest What Hi Fi has the best ever TV review (for what thats worth) - I'll give you one guess which set won.....

Buy this TV - I know there are 2 poor reviews, but if you look at the 42" reviews they are all 5 star. With the right audio equipment, cabling, running in and fiddling with the set up this will make your viewing experience the best you can get......until next year
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Showing 1-10 of 89 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Sep 2011 10:10:15 BDT
king deano says:
i am about to order a panasonic tx-p50gt30b mr brown,your information perfect on regards to calibration of the tv is it quite esay to do or do i need the pros in,also i have ordered panasonic 3d blueray player with 5.1 surround sound what are the best cables to to go with it if you could help me on this this would be much appreciated.

kind regards deano

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Sep 2011 19:23:48 BDT
Hi Deano

Firstly for calibration i have not used a pro as they charge about £250 to do this but it will be perfect for you tv. If you go to avforum.com and search for the pan gt30 owners thread they are now unto 3 so lots of posts. Flatpanelshd have a set of calibration which many have used. To be honest once the tv has done 200 hours it will not need much fiddling with. Cables I used hdmi 1.4 which if you search in amazon are the red and black ones. Do not buy the 90 degree ones as they don't fit sorry can't remember the company but you will see them if you search for 1.4 version. This is an excellent tv but you do need to let it run in. After you have had it running for 200 hours email me again and I will give you my phone number to talk you through any problems. Enjoy. Regards Paul

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2011 09:17:20 BDT
king deano says:
thank you very much paul will do this when i buy the tv in the next 2 to 3 weeks,we had a house fire so waiting for the renovation to finish then i will be kitting the house.
i will e-mail you nearer the time because i have not had a 3d tv before ,so this is very new to me.
thank you for this.

regards deano

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2011 09:35:20 BDT
OK let me know when you set it up, Paul

Posted on 20 Sep 2011 17:15:42 BDT
I saw one in a JL store next to the Samsung D7000(?) both playing sky sports HD football and I have to say that both sets looked equally disappointing in terms of dealing with motion. It may well have been the settings needed adjustment but there was a lot of blur and processing artefacts on both screens. I expected the plasma to be noticeably better having read the reviews but it was not the case. Your review has caused me to reconsider the panasonic however and it is a toss up between these two sets given the lack of other decent options right now.

Posted on 22 Sep 2011 11:24:27 BDT
John W. guy says:
Great review but could you supply best calibration levels for tv
Cheers

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Sep 2011 03:34:49 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Mar 2013 11:23:39 GMT
Trust me, I have done ALL MY HOMEWORK for hours over a week long, b4 I got my parents to buy me this very tv for my 21st (I had to chip in, which was easy as I don't drink and budget my money) and it is THE BEST VALUE FOR MONEY 3D TV!!! I watch upto 6 hours of tv a day, collect horror films for a hobby and have around 600 (so studied the picture quality and blood splattering effects in depth with Saw) on different picture settings and other people's reviews b4 I bought it and it is the best bang for your bucks you can buy (and this is also coming from a lad whose family and friends call MR STINGY). Trust me, the picture quality is alot better than the shops are making out, as they are trying to clear out the rubbish models beforehand. just buy the tv and then look online afterwards for calibration settings to bring the precision to perfection!!!!!!!! It's won countless awards, got positive feedback and loads of modern features to impress your mates when they watch the football!!!! if you want 3d - it has to be plasma or else you'll get motion blur - and if you want plasma - it has to be 50 inches or more, or else the quality won't be as spot on (so I went for the above - the 50 inch 3d plasma - P50GT30B) Best value for money and an investment for the future as you don't want a dull 2d tv, only for it to plummet like the analogue, do you????? feel free to reply with any questions and I will try and answer as best I can!!! If you do buy this tv, I will try and find the calibration settings link for you, or I'll tell you the settings I have now so you can enjoy in decent quality!!! Then, after you've entered in my recommended settings, you can then tweek them yourself to suit the brightness and atmosphere in your room!!!

EDIT: My TV Settings Page 8

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Sep 2011 10:23:47 BDT
king deano says:
hi brendan thanks for this and if you do know the link for the calibration settings that would be perfect,as i have the tv now and all being well set it up 2 morrow or sunday.

many thanks for this deano

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Sep 2011 12:19:00 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Mar 2013 11:26:29 GMT
I'm quite sure it was this link - http://www.highdefjunkies.com/showthread.php?9134-2011-Panasonic-Settings-Issues-Thread

Oh yes, and here is another recommendation - All the tv companies have signed a deal with Xpand to produce the PERFECT 3D glasses for ALL TVs, so if you haven't bought the glasses yet, I would recommend waiting until March-June time next year to buy Xpand X104 glasses as they will be universal 3D glasses and better quality to eliminate cross-talk! If you can't wait and want 3d glasses now, then buy the Xpand 104 glasses as they will work on panasonic tvs and few others, giving them more use! - Edit: Universal 3D Glasses OUT NOW

http://www.chromapure.co.uk/XpanD%20X104%20Youinversal.html - Universal 3D Glasses £89 + £5 Postage (Free if ordering more than 3 pairs)

My picture settings - Go to PAGE 8

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Sep 2011 09:35:20 BDT
Hi A M Scotland

What I can say is that the picture quality in the shops is not what you would see at home. There are various options in the menu which allow for "smoothing" the picture. As mentioned before (I think I sit about 12+ feet from the tv) and watching the rugby world cup the motion control has been very good. I did notice watching the GP yesterday that there were some artefacts for 1 seond as the camera moved acrss the Singapore sky line - but that was it. None of the TVs are perfect and as always its down to personal viewing tastes. Which ever you choose I hope you enjoy, bothe are good TVs - I just preferred the picture of the GT30.
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