on March 18, 2013
Been researching new Smart TV's for about 2 months and like most people on a mission to find a good TV you have to weed through all the reviews and opinions found on the web. CNET, Amazon, HDTV forums and even watched the entire 2012 TV shootout videos on YouTube.
I kept going back and forth between plasma and LED/LCD. I was ready to take a chance on Panasonic plasma when my March edition of Consumer's Reports showed up in the mail. In the 55" to 59" category of ratings Panasonic took the top 3 places with the VT plasma, ST plasma and WT LED. It was also very interesting that the Panasonic WT is also the only Panasonic LED TV to make the HD Shootout (which was won by a Panasonic plasma).
So decided this TV was worth a look. Headed to a local Big Box store and must say I was impressed with the picture on this TV hanging on the wall in the "High-End" section of the store with the top rated plasmas and Samsung LED and Sony's top of the line LED's. I was armed with Amazon's online price and decided I would buy this set right then if they would match the price (they were $400 higher). After they decided to let me walk, I went home and got online and ordered it from Amazon.
Two days later I received an email from the delivery company asking me to schedule a time to deliver my new TV. We scheduled a day for the early part of the following week. Can't beat this kind of customer service.
A couple of days went buy and I noticed that Amazon had dropped the price by $100 so I sent them a quick email and the next day I had a response stating they were issueing me a credit for the $100. Great!
Two days later, the price drops another $140 so shot off another email and a qucik response with an additional $140 credit.
TV gets delivered on time and in perfect condition. Could not ask for any better service from Amazon or the company they used for in home delivery.
Now for the details. The picture on this TV is awesome right out of the box in Cinema mode. Vivid is a little too Vivid for me. Black levels seem fine and popped in the Dark Kight Returns just to see if I could witness any of the negative comments from Cnet on this TV. It was perfect, even with my glasses on...........
I then decided to try some recommended picture calibrations found online and after a few hours settled in on Cnet's calibration for Standard mode. I just did not like the Custom mode recommendations.
Viewing angle of this IPS LCD panel (with LED backlighting) are very good and almost as good as plasma.
Now for the summary. This TV is as close as you can get to a plasma quality picture and viewing angle without the worry of potential burn-in if you watch a lot of old programming or news channels with stationary logos. You won't be disappointed.
By the way, this TV is now over $500 more than a paid a few weeks ago.
on November 17, 2012
This TV has taken a beating by professional reviewers such as CNET and had I not seen this TV in person, I would not have ever considered buying this TV. If you watch TV in a bright room and never watch movies in a pitch black environment, then you need to consider this TV for your next purchase. This TV is one of the best if not the best performing HDTV in medium to brightly lit environments. The sharpness and clarity of the WT50 picture quality is one of the best that I have seen and the viewing angles are unrivaled among LED/LCD TVs. The main knock on the WT50 is in its black level. When viewed in a dark room, the black levels are average at best but add some light to the room and watch the black levels turn inky black. Panasonic has done wonders with the Clear Pro panel filter in this regard. So in short, if you like watching TV in a dark room, this TV isn't for you. But, if you're like me, and always watch TV in some kind of lighted environment, then you should definitely consider this TV.
Note: I didn't buy this TV from Amazon. The local brick and mortars are selling the 55" version of the WT50 for $1799.00. At this price, this TV is a steal.
There are plenty of reviews of the technical aspects of this tv, so I'll spare you mine. Suffice to say, the picture is beautiful, the tv is light and thin, and the resolution is amazing (I really love the 'soap opera picture', though others don't).
My review will focus on some of the apps available in the Viera Tools section of the tv's menu. I use a Roku for Amazon tv, Netflix, and Plex (a media streaming program). I own the HD Roku, and HD shows looked pretty great on my Samsung HD tv. They look even better on my Panasonic tv. But, you can bypass the Roku altogether for both Netflix and Amazon if you have a Panasonic tv - these apps are now built in. Should you replace your Roku? For these apps, sure. Because you aren't getting them through a cable from another device (with its own picture limitations), the streaming is directly to the tv, and the picture is better. The interface for Amazon tv and Netflix is also a little better (more menu options). I miss the 'plunk' click noise on the Roku apps, because the Panasonic apps use a really piercing, annoying 'ding' when you click a menu item.
How is load time? Here, the Roku wins. When you click a title in the menu on your Roku, the video loads. On the Panasonic, you click a title, then the tv performs a connection speed test. This takes a few seconds, or quite a few seconds. After that THEN the video loads. My gripe here is the same as my gripe with the Roku: if the tv determines that your internet connection is not great at the moment, it will automatically load degraded video. The Roku does the same. I would like the option of waiting longer in order to load the HD. I don't want to purchase HD, then watch it in SD because my internet spazzed out for a few seconds. I want to choose my connect speed manually. Another weird element to the Panasonic Viera tools is that when you turn it on, it nearly always wants to perform a connection test. Usually mine fails. But if it fails and I skip out of the menu, then open the menu again, magically the connection is re-established. This is a glitch that regularly happens, but doesn't particularly affect the quality of experience.
Plex, however, is not available for Panasonic Viera. Viera charges apps for development and inclusion, so you won't see a Plex app anytime soon, since it's a free app available on a few platforms (Roku, Playstation 3, etc.). So if you care about using this app, you'll still need your Roku. For those of you unfamiliar, Plex is amazing - it allows you to use your computer as a media server, then streams this media to your device running Plex. Some may argue that you can do this by plugging in a USB key to your tv (the Panasonic has USB 2.0 slots), but the number of file extensions the tv will play from a key is small. Plex will play just about any type of media file you throw at it. So I use Plex on Roku to watch downloaded items on my tv instead of my computer. How do these files look on the Panasonic? It depends on your file size, but even with a very large file, you're going to get a mildly grainy picture unless you tweak the tv settings A LOT to soften the picture. The picture quality will basically be the equivalent of an SD network tv option or SD Amazon digital item.
In sum: should you use the Panasonic Viera tools instead of getting a Roku with your tv? Yes. Viera has YouTube, Amazon on Demand, Netflix, Pandora, all things that people tend to use a Roku for, and the interfaces for these apps are better on the Panasonic than the Roku. Unless you are planning to use experimental apps, don't bother with the Roku.
on February 17, 2013
I've no actual complaints with the TV itself. It hands down has the most amazing picture quality of any set I've watched and the sound isn't bad considering how thin the TV is. One thing I might note however is it has a highly reflective (I believe it's gorilla glass) front panel. If you have some bright light sources in front of the set, you're most likely to notice the reflections on a dark screen.
The only complaint I have is with the service that delivered and setup the TV. They were clean, curtious and prompt, but didn't know how to install the simple base that came with TV. They only installed the screws meant to hold the plastic base cover (which do attach moderately to the TV, and hold it in place minimally) in place and did not install the screws designed to actually hold the base to the TV. I was very lucky something was not damaged because of this, as the mount was extremely loose and wiggely. Fortunatly I noticed the issue (and found the attachment screws in a bag) prior to anything bad happening. At any rate, I've now ditched the based and have it attached to a cheeta wall-mount, which works excellent for my setup.
on June 2, 2013
We bought it in February 2013 for $900 from Amazon and it was delivered in 2 days (prime shipping ). There was a 1-day special deal, and I was waiting for one such for couple of months - did lot of research among Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic. The deal expired within few hours, but I was able to grab one for $900.
Overall, we are so happy with our purchase and its amazing performance. We haven't got the 3D glasses yet (there are hardly 2 channels), and we don't have much time to sit down and watch 2-3 movies over the weekend. My wife and I are both scientific/ research professionals, so we do use the TV for blowing up our PPT presentations, practice speech - which is equally brilliant. The amenities such as USB drive, SD card slot, HDMI are terrific bonus! Some 30 min shows, news, business, HDTV, Food/ Cooking channels, NatGeo type channels are what we watch - maybe 10-14 hours per week. We do love the Hulu plus, youtube, pandora and internet functionalities - crisp and clear picture. Overall, excellent!
on April 13, 2013
I like the TV very much . The 3 d quality is amazing. I watched a variety of movies including the animation, action movies and I always liked the experience. The Viera smart connect is easy to use and has a simple User interface. The 2-d to 3-d conversion was good enough. Browser is as good as in the other tv's but cant expect too much from it. Playing videos, viewing photos from USB is good as well.
I would have given this 5 stars if there was a pair of 3 d glasses given along with this TV.