Does plasma still cut the visual mustard? Panasonic proves it does
The Panasonic TX-P50VT20B’s plasma tech should, in theory, make it better at 3D.
LCD and LED-backlit LCD TVs sometimes have their 3D-ness marred by ‘crosstalk’, where elements of picture information intended for your left eye are relayed to your right eye, and vice versa, creating a halo effect around objects.
But because plasma has no issue with panel response time, it doesn’t have to worry about such things. How ironic that a TV technology some (not us) dismissed as outdated is now being heralded as the saviour of 3D.
Freeview HD? Yes, please
Of course, 3D’s far from the only tool in the Panasonic’s box. It’s equipped with both Freesat and Freeview HD tuners, giving free hi-def TV anywhere in the UK.
We’d watch the Freesat tuner, given the choice: it’s crisper, edges are more precisely described, and digital noise kept more firmly in check. In this case, you don’t get Dolby Digital 5.1 from Freeview HD either.
You’ll find connections galore, including four HDMI sockets, SD slot and USB, while online access is via either Ethernet or an optional Wi-Fi dongle.
The latter supports Panasonic’s Viera Cast online streaming service (recently bolstered with Acetrax online movie streaming) plus any DLNA-compatible kit. Finally, you can use the VT20B as a simple PVR, by connecting an external USB hard drive.
So what about performance? Out of the box, the picture is, compared to modern LED-backlit LCDs, a little, well, dull. But that’s a false first impression: have a play with the set-up and things rapidly change for the better.
The Panasonic renders solid blacks and natural colours: it copes with rapid movement well too, although we’d disengage the TV’s Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) mode with DVDs: use it, and movement seems less filmic.
There’s no disputing the Panasonic’s 3D ability. Fed with Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, the Panasonic’s picture is as sharp as any we’ve seen.
Just about the only area where the Panasonic is less than wonderful is its sound, which is no more than OK.
Panasonic TX-P50VT20 review
An excellent TV that shows plasma still has a place in this 3D world