Panasonic Viera TC-P50VT25
Plasma TV Buying Guide Comments
Panasonic's new flagship line of Viera Plasmas is the VT25 series. These new Full HD 3D plasmas feature the new 1080p Infinite Black Pro panel with a stated 5,000,000:1 native contrast ratio. The VT25 series meet the THX certification and include THX Movie Mode which sets the TV up for optimum movie viewing right out of the box. The VT25's Full HD 3D sends a full 1080p image to each eye for the complete HD 3D experience. One pair of 3D eyewear is included with each plasma.
Panasonic's Viera Cast features returns with new additions. Wireless capability or the built in ethernet port allow instant access to content such as Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Skype video calling and conferencing, Bloomberg News Service, YouTube, Twitter and more. Viera Link allows for similarly equipped items to communicate and integrate into a home entertainment hub with added features.
4 HDMI Inputs, 2 USB Ports, PC Input and RS232C give plenty of connection options and Viera Image Viewer allows for easy viewing of still images and HD video from an SD memory card.
We were more impressed with the Panasonic plasma HD 3D experience than almost any other at CES 2010. Upon first view we noticed that the 3D presentation is smoother and does not wear on the eye as much as some of the LCD 3D models. During a lengthy discussion with Panasonic technology experts at the show, we learned that this is partly due to the 600hz sub field drive allowing for full 1080p-resolution to each eye. This differs greatly with even a 240Hz frame rate LCD which will allow for a max of around 800 lines of reslution in 3D. It showed. We also discussed viewing angles with 3D content as a possible plus for plasma over LCD. I did not notice this as being too much of an issue when I tested 3D on a couple of LCDs later at CES though I think it will warrant a more thorough test later this year.
Thanks to Pansonic's staff we were able to view and test the Skype enabled (through USB) feature at CES 2010. Though you must purchase the camera adjustment seperately this is a nifty option for Grandmoms the country wide to be able to view those grandchildren without straining to see them on a small monitor. It probably will not matter much to them that there is considerable lip sync lag time (due to transmission and not the TV). The picture quality during Skype transmission was not crisp or even very colorful - but it gets the job done in 50, 54, 58 or 65 inches which will make it a useful feature to many.
Panasonic was quick to point out its new energy savings technology to us at CES 2010 which they stated was 40% more efficient. This is due in large part due to their new NEO PDP (plasma display panel) factory in Nagasaki Japan. The new NEO PDP panel design allows for major savings on the power supply inside the plasma panel. A smaller power supply helps in two ways, first it's one of the most expensive components in a plasma panel and thus costs have been significantly reduced by accomplishing a smaller supply. Second, the smaller supply helps with reducing the wattage intake of the TV, reducing your power bill. Panasonic states that the new NEO PDP panel plasma models are 40% more efficient.
Are plasma TVs now as energy efficient as LCD TVs? No, LCD on average still uses less power. Panasonic was quick to point out the difference in savings however at around $1 to $2 per month in energy savings. They posed the question, "How many hundreds of dollars more is the consumer willing to pay for this kind of savings (in an LCD)?"
We've noticed Panasonic plasma TVs improving the brightness of its TVs over the past couple of years. Apparently, 2010 will continue this trend as Panasonic is still gaining on LCD technology in the brightness area. Panasonic representatives explained that 2010 model will be still brighter than 2009 models with the new NEO PDP while still going for a deeper black dimension.
Panasonic did not appear to concentrate on the super thin TV presentation at CES 2010 as did many of the LCD manufacturers. Though we did not measure depth in the new Pansonic lineup it looked to be about the same as 2009 on the series at around a 3.5" depth. Panasonic stated that it was not a big focus this year. This will likely translate to very attractive price points on the 2010 Panasonic plasma models.
This HD Blu Ray shot from Blood Diamond shows off the light throughput and vibrant colors of the VT25.
Picture Quality and Performance: With both HD sources and standard definition content the VT25 produced a very vibrant, colorful, vivid image even after being toned down during our calibration. This TV is like a difficult to control race horse, that doesn't know when and where to focus its energy. The panel light on the VT25 is extremely powerful. The plasma 3D TV has a tendency toward over saturation with tons of light flowing through color information – providing a bright picture. Motion artifacts and background noise are present, more with standard definition programming than with HD.
A shot from standard definition DVD Perfume shows very saturated color information.
Aesthetic Considerations: Panasonic doesn't appear to have entered the contest when it comes to 2010's TV aesthetics. They answered, "not present," even with their top end entries. The VT25's looks hearken back to yesteryear. The bezel framing is black gloss plastic at 2" on top and 2.25" on the sides giving the TV a large frame with no real design quality. The dark teal color of the screen (when off) contrasts with the black gloss frame in an unappealing manner. Panel depth at 3.5" also ignores the trend toward thin and sleek.
Left: The VT25 employs a new oval stand allows a 17 degree swivel.
Right: We were not fans of the unattractive contrast between the wide 2.25" bezel and the dark teal green screen on the VT25
3D TV: Obviously the TV has 3D capability as an added feature. Our evaluation of the performance of the feature was satisfactory.
Though prices are a bit higher for 3D TV compatibility, Panasonic has not been able to keep the price too high due to aggressive moves by Samsung. The TC-P50VT25 is priced around $2400 and may come packaged with extra 3D glasses and 3D Blu Ray player.
Infinite Black Panel
A new panel and improvements to the cell discharge area dramatically increase contrast when viewing in brightly lit locations. And reducing the electrical pre-discharge that causes graying has greatly enhanced black gradation. As a result, deep, rich blacks are displayed in virtually any viewing area, from living rooms to bedrooms. Even in dark film scenes, fine textures such as on clothing, are clearly reproduced.
Nothing is hotter this year than 3D TV, Panasonic's 3D capable plasma TVs are the only 3D capable televisions that show the full 1080 lines of resolution to each eye.
VIERA Cast's brings online content direct to your TV - in addition to the popular contents such as YouTube and Picasa Web Albums, it now offers Pandora® Internet Radio, movies streamed from Netflix, exciting sports from FOX Sports, and even web communications with Twitter. It also provides USB terminals for a keyboard and Wireless LAN Adaptor. No PC required.
THX reproduces film images as the filmmakers intended them. The overall aim was to improve the experience of cinema-goers and faithfully recreate the audio and visual ambience that filmmakers intended. To receive THX certification, TVs undergo stringent tests to determine, for example, whether the exact same brightness and color are displayed at all screen locations, and whether black levels satisfy standard criteria.
VIERA Cast's addition of Skype makes it possible for people around the world to connect and communicate through voice and video calls from the comfort of their own living room on VIERA's large screen.
Viera Image Viewer
It's easy to view full-HD images with the SD card slot. Watch and show your photos and motion images right after you take them. Simply insert an SD Memory Card into your VIERA HDTV to display photos and full-HD videos on the large screen. You can also choose from among 5 types of background music and 5 display effects. It's much more fun when you can view them on a large screen HDTV with family and friends.
- 50" Screen
- Full HD 3D with included pair of eyewear
- 1080p Resolution
- 600Hz Sub-field Drive
- 24P Cinematic Playback
- Infinite Black Pro Panel
- Digital Cinema Color
- THX Certified Display
- 4 HDMI Inputs
- PC Input
- Two USB ports
- RS232C and ISFccc
- VIERA CAST allows instant access to content such as:
- Amazon Video on Demand
- Fox Sports
- 100,000 Hour Lifespan
- VIERA Image Viewer with AVCHD Playback
- VIERA Link communicates with other VIERA Link equipped devices
- Lead and Mecury Free Construction
- Energy Star 4.0