PLASMA TV REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 16, 2009 0 comments
Price: $9,995 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Near reference-quality blacks • No tuners or speakers • HDMI is version 1.2a, not 1.3

Custom Home Theater

I watched a lot of television when I was growing up. But I was also a passionate reader. OK, more often than not, I was reading a RadioShack catalog or the latest issue of the now-defunct Audio or High Fidelity. But sitting at least a dozen feet away from my parents’ 21-inch console television, with all the room lights on, it was easy to divide my attention between the book—er, magazine—and the latest episode of Gunsmoke.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 08, 2009 0 comments
Price: $1,700 At A Glance: Good performance out of the box • Excellent resolution • Impressive black level and shadow detail • Accurate color

It Keeps Getting Better

When I visited Panasonic in Japan in the fall of 2004, with a gaggle of other journalists, plasma was the dominant flat-panel technology. But it was still pricey. On that visit, Panasonic told us that its goal was to get plasma prices down to $100 per diagonal inch.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 01, 2011 4 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,900 At A Glance: Good blacks and shadow detail • Odd gammas in Custom mode • THX certified • Uniformity and calibration issues

The GT30 line is the baby bear in Panasonic's range of 3D plasma HDTVs—not to expensive, not too bargain-basement, but, for many buyers, just right. And at 50 inches, one of today's most popular sizes, the P50GT30 lands right in the sweet spot. But does it offer more than Panasonic's entry-level ST30, perhaps even challenging the pricier VT30 lineup? We're here to find out.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 01, 2011 10 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,500 At A Glance: Crisp, detailed images • Odd gammas in Custom mode • Little to complain about • Exceptional value

Panasonic means plasma. Yes, the company now offers a line of LCD displays, but only in smaller sizes. If you want a 50-inch or larger Panasonic, it will be a plasma. And that's not a bad thing. The TC-P50ST30 is Panasonic's latest, budget-priced, 50-inch 3D model. Only a few short years ago, you couldn't touch this level of quality in a 2D-only flat panel for five times the price—or more.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 14, 2012 6 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,700 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Vivid yet natural color • Solid black level and shadow detail • Outstanding value

HDTV manufacturers’ fortunes have been in a perpetual state of flux for years. With prices continually dropping, profit margins are slim. While the TV makers haven’t quite yet adopted a business plan that calls for losing money on each sale, there isn’t much further they can go without them paying you to take the set home. Just kidding, of course. But apart from the dicey economy (or perhaps because of it?), this is a golden age for the consumer to buy a great HDTV for not a lot of cash.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 01, 2011 4 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $2,800 At A Glance: Accurate color points • Odd gammas in Custom mode • THX certified • Best black level and shadow detail

Deciding among Panasonic's range of 3D plasma sets can be more than a little intimidating. But it's a Sunday stroll through the park compared to choosing from the bewildering flood of 3D LCD flat panels that glut the market. And for buyers who want a bigger plasma, Panasonic's top-of-the-line VT30 range—including its smallest member, the 55-inch P55VT30 reviewed here—pushes the envelope in both performance and features.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 03, 2012 10 comments

3D Performance
2D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,700 At A Glance: Bright, punchy picture • Blacks and shadow detail approaching reference quality • Near-complete adjustability

Panasonic has improved its plasma sets each year, and while that march forward has generated torturous verbiage to describe its continually improving plasma HDTV black levels (Infinite Black, Infinite Black Pro, Infinite Black Ultra, and, perhaps next year, Infinite Black Pro Ultra), the company has kept pushing the design envelope. And it has done so even as flat panel prices continue to drop. A 65-inch plasma for $3,700 would have been considered an impossible dream just a few years ago when the goal was to get prices down to $100 per diagonal inch.

Tom Norton Posted: Sep 04, 2013 3 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price $3,000

At A Glance
Plus: First-rate blacks and shadow detail • Impeccable color and resolution
Minus: Color decoder error calls for care in calibration • Adequate but not terribly bright 3D

The Verdict
With performance nearly identical to the flagship ZT60 series, Panasonic’s VT60 offers state-of-the-art image quality at a more affordable price.

If the Panasonic ZT60 series is the company’s statement product for 2013, the VT60 is an update of its long-running VT flagship line. What’s in that silly little one-letter difference? Less than you might expect, and more. For starters, the ZT60 line is available only in 60- and 65-inch sizes. The VT60 adds a 55-incher to the mix. In addition, the ZT60 is said to be something of a limited edition, the result of a complex, time-consuming manufacturing process associated with that set’s Studio Master panel.

Tom Norton Posted: Sep 04, 2013 13 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,800

At A Glance
Plus: Rich, accurate color and superb resolution • Full adjustability • Unsurpassed blacks and shadow detail
Minus: Adequate but not very bright 3D

The Verdict
Four years after the Pioneer Kuro plasma exited the market, Panasonic has finally, in its ZT60 series, created an HDTV that is essentially its equal in all key areas of image quality.

In 2009, Pioneer ceased production of its highly regarded Kuro plasma HDTVs, and videophiles everywhere took to wearing hair shirts and pondering self-flagellation.

We knew back then that Panasonic produced excellent plasmas as well, but the Kuro’s inky blacks remained unsurpassed. So when a number of former Pioneer engineers went to work for Panasonic, there was new hope. Big changes don’t happen over a single product cycle, however, or even over two or three. But now, with the release of Panasonic’s new ZT60 series, Panasonic claims to have reached that elusive summit. But has it? Can Kuro buyers stop sweating about their sets breaking down, and can those who missed the Kuro express altogether finally stop kicking themselves? We’re here to find out.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 15, 2005 Published: Feb 16, 2005 0 comments
Black level: the revenge.

Note: the other TVs in this Face Off include the LG RU-42PX11 Plasma HD Monitor, and V inc. Vizio P42HD Plasma HD Monitor.

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Joel Brinkley Posted: Feb 12, 2006 0 comments

Trust me. You have seen this Panasonic plasma before. At the airport, bowling alley, department store, maybe even at a car wash. This is a professional model plasma, sold typically to businesses for utilitarian use, like departure-gate displays at the airport. But these models also hold something of a mystique for people like you and me, and as a result they have developed a cult following. And after looking at this one for a few weeks, I can see why.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Nov 07, 2004 Published: Nov 01, 2004 0 comments
Plasma black level is no longer an oxymoron.

In March of 2003, we had a plasma Face Off that featured eight displays. What surprised us all was that the clear winner was not the brightest, nor the one with the most resolution. In fact, of the mix of budget and midlevel 42-inch plasmas, the winner was an enhanced-definition set with the second lowest price of the bunch. It was a Panasonic, and it won for the same reason that this plasma is so good: black level.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Dec 21, 2005 0 comments
A "budget" Panasonic plasma HDTV?

I must admit, I was a bit skeptical. Or perhaps wary is a better description. Thirteen months ago, in these very pages, I reviewed a stellar Panasonic plasma, the TH-42PX25. It had the best black level and contrast ratio to date for a plasma. We even gave it our Best Flat-Panel Display RAVE Award for 2005. It was $6,000. A mere year later, its replacement model—the TH-42PX500U—has almost identical specs and is $3,500. My penchant for sushi notwithstanding, I was expecting something fishy.

Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Nov 21, 2006 Published: Nov 22, 2006 0 comments
HDMI: It's not just for video anymore.

HDMI is a wonderful invention filled with promise. When utilized to its fullest, it can offer the best of both worlds: uncompressed audio and video signals and intelligent, two-way communication over a single cable. Manufacturers have long teased us with talk of complete home theater systems that you can set up using just two or three cables, but the reality has fallen far short of the promise. Most designers have used HDMI only as a top-grade video connector, paying little attention to its audio and communication abilities. Armed with the new HDMI 1.2a spec (the products here were designed and released before 1.3 was finalized), Panasonic is aiming for the ultimate in connection and control with their new EZ Sync HDAVI Control products.

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Shane Buettner Posted: Sep 12, 2006 Published: Sep 13, 2006 0 comments
  • $2,499
  • 42" Plasma
  • 1024x768
  • Key Connections: Two HDMI and two component video inputs, SD card slot
Features We Like: Excellent connectivity with dual HDMI and component inputs, Over-the-Air and cableCARD HD tuners,

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