Panasonic TC-P50GT30 3D Plasma HDTV Page 3

The GT30 offers exceptional resolution. If you don't see resolution that's second to none on this set when it's properly calibrated, you need either better source material or better glasses.

In terms of black level and shadow detail, the GT30 did very well. The darkest scenes in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World were impressive. And the star field that opens Stargate: Continuum displayed a density of stars, from the dimmest to the brightest, that often escapes lesser sets. That star field was also less affected than on most sets when the bright white title pops up over it.

The only problem here was that the GT30's mid-brightness tones were a bit lightened, which brought shadow detail up a bit too much. This may have been due to its lower gamma in the Cinema mode (see "HT Labs Measures").

We still had our review sample of last year's top-of-the-line TC-P50VT25 on hand, so a comparison between that and the GT30 was clearly irresistible. There was only time for a 2D face-off, but one thing was clear: In terms of picture quality, the GT30 was neither better nor worse than the VT25 in any respect save one: The VT25 had better blacks—0.008 ft-L on the GT30 versus 0.004 ft-L on the VT25. The visible difference on a full black field was subtle but unmistakable. This was disappointing, as we were hoping for steadily increasing improvement in Panasonic's already very good black levels. The GT30's overall performance is still near the current state of the art for plasma, which can still beat the usable black-level performance of most LCDs. But note the word current in the last sentence. Even the best black-level measurement turned in by current flat panels is still well short of our gold standard: the 0.001 ft-L measured on the last generation of the now long-discontinued Pioneer Kuros.

3D Performance
Surprisingly, the GT30 outdid my expectations in 3D without a full color calibration. Its technically inaccurate color didn't look obviously wrong, and in all other respects, its 3D performance was comparable to that of the ST30 and VT30, which I was able to calibrate separately for 3D.

Like all sets in our experience, the brightness and color of the GT30 were somewhat muted in 3D. But in its Custom mode, those weren't major concerns, and it produced no obvious 3D ghosting. Both Avatar and A Christmas Carol have exhibited serious ghosting on some active-glasses sets, but not here. The near total lack of this phenomenon may well be a major factor in this set's crisp, vivid 3D performance. I say "near total lack" because there's no way of knowing if this or that piece of some as-yet-unseen 3D material will conjure up an unwelcome apparition or two. But thanks to plasma's naturally fast response time, not to mention the faster phosphors Panasonic introduced with last year's first generation of 3D sets, I didn't find ghosting to be an issue here.

As with virtually all plasmas, this one exhibits the sort of off-axis performance that no LCD can match, which was true for both 2D and 3D. The color and 3D effects held up solidly as far off center as anyone would care to sit—at least 45 degrees. Sit beyond that, and parallax takes over (with an increasingly trapezoidal image), even as the basic picture quality remains virtually unchanged. Nor was head tilt ever an issue in 3D, as it is in LCD sets.

About that 2D-to-3D conversion mode. It provided a modest degree of depth to 2D material, but as I've said before, if I'm going to sacrifice brightness for 3D, I prefer the real thing.

Conclusion
The GT30 is a good set, but apart from slightly spiffier aesthetics, more cable clearance for a wall mount, an additional HDMI input, a PC input, and THX certification—which is of questionable value in this particular case—it offers little that you can't get in the ST30 for $400 less. Also, the trouble I had calibrating it and the color tint I saw would steer me toward the ST30 anyway.

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COMMENTS
luckyman777go's picture

My 65GT30 has better PQ than the 55VT30 I exchaned it for,the overall picture qaulity is stunning.

I,do not know what gives with the smaller
screen sizes of the PANASONIC GT30 series,but they are not in the same league as the larger screen sizes.
I,looked at both the 50" & 55"versions of the GT30 and they did not look any where near as good as the two larger sizes,and I, owned the 55VT30 for a little over a month,and it did not look as good overall as my 65GT30. I have none of the issues,others have complained about, with MY 65GT30, the VT30,however,was another story. What is up with The GT30 series? in comparison to the ST and VT series that seem to test better overall,especially in the smaller screen sizes.
my 65GT30 performs near perfect.

Very good review!

luckyman777go's picture

My 65GT30 has better PQ than the 55VT30, that I exchanged, for the GT30, the overall picture qaulity is stunning.

I,do not know what gives with the smaller
screen sizes of the PANASONIC GT30 series,but they are not in the same league as the larger screen sizes.
I,looked at both the 50" & 55"versions of the GT30 and they did not look any where near as good as the two larger sizes,and I, owned the 55VT30 for a little over a month,and it did not look as good overall as my 65GT30. I have none of the issues,others have complained about, with my 65GT30, the 55VT30 however,was another story. What is up with The GT30 series? in comparison to the ST and VT series that seem to test better overall,especially in the smaller screen sizes.
My 65GT30 is excellent,I have 0 complaints.

Thanks for, the informative, detailed review!

riverajuan's picture

Hello,

I am new to this site, but have been reading all your reviews on the tvs and after so much research and trials with different led tvs and lcds and not happy with the results decided to go plasma.

I decided on the 50gt30 which I have own for the past 15 days from a purchased from BB.

I am extremely happy with this set and have not seen or experience any of the problems mentioned here and in other sites (fluctuating brightness, etc.

My only worry or concern has always been image retention which is not a concern with led tvs.

What do you recommend, keeping the plasma has been the best quality picture I have seen so far or going with an led and if so which led do you recommend that has good blacks?

Your advise will be greatly appreciated

DSharkey's picture

Listen, for all of the people looking for a TV that fits in to the category of "I need a TV that is bigger and better than my friend's and father-in-law's, a TV that looks amazing and provides the best viewing experience I can get for under $2k", then this is it.

I did hours of research and read tons of blogs/reviews from people on Amazon, CNET, Crutchfield, etc and there is one basic theme. The majority of the posts include specs and technical functionality that means nothing to me or my wife at the end of the day unless I spend another two weeks learning. And for what? I want a bad ass TV period.

Panasonic Plasma HDTVs are excellent TVs. They definitely have different brightness levels, colors, etc compared to LCDs, LEDs, yada yada yada. The three levels of Panasonic Plasmas vary and the basic just is you pay for what you get.

Here are the things I would advise you to look for (all of these are included in the GT model):

Screen size
1080p (if you are going to spend the money on anything bigger than 42 in, otherwise 720p is fine)
THX Certified (this is the biggest feature...makes ALL the difference)
HDMI inputs (especially if you have game consoles, a blu-ray, cable set top box: that makes 3 already, want an extra?)

These items are the most important for me and talking to others these seem to be the most important to them too. So save yourself some time, and buy this TV. You will not go wrong. I have had my TV for 3 months and placed at 9 feet away, it feels like I go to the IMAX every time I turn it on. Clear, crisp, vibrant picture. What more could I ask for? Oh yea...beer anyone?!?

P.S. Before you're will buy this TV, I suggest check for best deal at: Dealsfine.info/panasonic-tc-p50gt30/

Good Luck!

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