Top positive review
67 people found this helpful
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.