Test Report: Panasonic TC-P5OVT25 Plasma HDTV Page 2

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Recent Panasonic TVs have been multimedia-friendly, and the VT25 Series is no exception. There are two USB ports and an SD card slot on the set’s side panel alongside the Channel and Volume up/ down, and Power on/off buttons. With an SD card or USB storage device/digital camera plugged in, you can watch AVCHD videos, view slideshows of digital photos, or even listen to MP3 music. Yet another use for the USB slots is to plug in Panasonic’s optional DY-WL10 wireless LAN adapter ($99) and link the TV to the Internet via Wi-Fi.

Now that I’ve dropped the I-word, here are a few key media-streaming options for Panasonic’s 2010 Viera Cast TVs: Netflix (not available during testing, but scheduled to go live by the time you’re reading this), Amazon Video on Demand, YouTube, and Pandora. Other offerings include Twitter, Skype (which requires an accessory video camera/microphone), Picasa Web photo albums, Bloomberg stocks, and weather forecasts.

The VT25 Series remote control isn’t all that different from previous versions accompanying Panasonic TVs. One recent change is that the clicker now has a mostly backlit keypad — a big plus. Pressing the Input button calls up an onscreen menu with a list of inputs that can be relabeled Blu-ray, Receiver, etc. Along with the Menu key, there are two big buttons orbiting the navigation cursor labeled Viera Cast and Viera Tools. The first one takes you to the set’s media-streaming options portal. And the second calls up a row of windows at the bottom of the screen that provide quick shortcuts to stuff like the set’s 3D and THX display modes.

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