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Disclaimer: First I'd like to say that I do not have the equipment to view this set's 3-D picture yet. I bought it as a hedge against 3-D. I'm not sure if 3-D is going to take off, but if it does I know I'm ready for it. I thought I would get that out of the way so while you will know I cannot review that feature of the TV, I still have a lot to tell. Now on with the show...

The Panasonic comes shipped in a conveniently designed box where you simply punch out four inserts and lift the box top off of the base. Sort of like when you get a cake from the bakery in a plastic container. Inside's the TV, the stand, the remote (and batteries), the power cord, and the owner's manual. Attaching the swiveling base is very simple and involves screwing a metal fork onto the base then slipping the TV onto the fork and screwing it down. The whole process takes 5 minutes and I was able to do it without any assistance. Also, I'd like to mention that Amazon shipped the TV through a company called HomeDirectUSA. They were very professional and opened the box for me to make sure the TV was undamaged.

Looks wise the Panasonic isn't much. It's framed in a piano black trim and is about 3 inches deep. The base is also done in piano black with a chrome band around the edge. At the bottom of the TV's frame is a bronze colored streak. Overall it's a classy look, but also nothing special. On the lower edge of the TV are the 3-D glasses' transmitters and the remote sensor. On the left side of the TV are various buttons (channel, volume, menu, input, and power) along with a few inputs (HDMI, composite video, and an SD card slot) and two USB ports (for hooking up the wireless dongle amongst other things). On the back of the set (on the set's left side viewed from the front) are two HDMI, two components, one composite, one RF/coaxial, and a PC input. There is also an optical audio out. The TV's build quality is very good, the materials are nice, and it feels sturdy overall. Lastly, the included remote is long and narrow, but well laid out with large buttons that light up.

Using TV is straightforward and easy. It guides you through the set-up, scans for channels, sets up the network, and sets the clock. The menu system is logically laid out and easy to use. The picture controls are many and allow you to fine tune precisely, although the pro-setting are only available in Custom picture mode. Besides Custom mode there is Vivid, Standard, THX, and Game modes. Each mode can be tweaked individually and set up differently for each input. Some of the features included with the Panasonic are 5 individual timers to turn the TV on and off and a sleep timer. There is also VieraLink that, if the TV is connected to the Internet, allows you to view YouTube or Netflix among other services (I have not used this feature since I stream that content through my Blu-ray player). You can insert an SD card or a USB jump drive into the set and view photos, videos, or listen to MP3 files as well. This feature worked well when I inserted an SD card from my Canon camera and the photos looked very nice on the screen. Another nice feature is being able to set channels as your favorites so you can jump to them more quickly, or have the channel only scan favorites when you go up and down channels. Features to reduce burn-in include a pixel orbiter (which very slightly shifts the picture to prevent burn-in) and a scrolling bar pattern that wipes a white bar over a black screen for 15 minutes. While burn-in is much less of an issues with plasma sets then it used to be, if you like to watch non-high definition TV with the bars on the side, or play video games and pause them for a long time, plasma may not be the best bet for you. Finally, there are light sensors on the front of the TV to allow the set to adjust its brightness based on ambient light conditions.

Picture quality on the Panasonic is where this TV shows it mettle. I have the set hooked up in the following manner. My LG Blu-ray player and Nintendo Wii are hooked up to my Onkyo receiver, which is in turn hooked into the Panasonic via HDMI. The Blu-ray is hooked into the receiver using HDMI and the Wii using composite video. For cable, I use the RF/coaxial input. I am not a videophile and tweaked the picture menu myself where I settled on the Vivid setting with some adjustments to make it considerably less vivid (usually I hate vivid mode but I like it on this set). I find the picture looks best when I leave the automatic adjustment for ambient light on. I also have the TV set-up to show 95% of the image where the edges are cropped off so I don't view any image breakdown at the picture's edge. Watching any high definition content, be it Blu-ray, cable TV, or streaming Netflix, the picture looks its best with great detail and clarity (this is especially true when watching Blu-ray discs). Watching standard definition content doesn't look bad either, obviously it doesn't look great stretched out to 50", but the details hold up well and it's more than acceptable. Regardless of the source, the colors are accurate, the dynamic range is great with deep and detailed shadows, and there is no motion blur even when playing video games or watching animated content. My previous television was a 32" 720p LCD and compared to the LCD the plasma Panasonic looks more "fluid" and "film-like". The details don't jump out at you like they do on a high end LCD set (sometimes obnoxiously), but the picture is clear and sharp none the less. The screen has an anti-reflective coating that seems to work well. I have the set in a room with two big windows on the west side and I adjust the blinds when necessary to keep the sun's reflections off the screen. In the end, a plasma is no worse in this regard than a traditional tube television. Overall, I am very pleased with the picture and am a plasma convert.

The TV's built-in speakers are fine for casual viewing, but if you want a true big-screen experience you're going to want to hook this set up to at least a 2.1 system, if not a full blown 7.2 system. Mine is hooked up to a 5.1 system.

Speaking of sounds, I don't notice any humming from the set. Occasionally, if I have muted the sound and a bright white scene comes on I hear a slight hum, but it's barely noticeable and goes away as soon as the scene changes. Also, the set does not give off much heat as far as I can tell.

There are only a few negatives I have about the set and they are as follows: 1) The piano black trim on the set shows reflections much worse than the screen itself. 2) The set only has 3 HDMI inputs, most have 4. 3) The remote sensor is very low on the set and I have my center speaker in front of the TV so I have to angle the remote upward in order for the signal to reach the TV.

All in all... a great plasma set, with tons of inputs, features, and adjustability, but an especially great picture quality.

P.S.: Sorry for the long review. There is a lot to cover. If you'd like to know anything else leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer.

11/24/2010 Update: Hitting the sub-menu button on the remote allows you to quickly change the behavior of the channel up/down button. For instance you can have it scan only your favorites, or just the digital channels. This is a nice touch, and a nice shortcut.

02/26/2011 Update: The television is still going strong and has maintained its excellent picture quality. I left a menu from my DVD player paused on the screen for about a half hour by accident, and after about a minute the retained image was gone. No issues with burn-in, humming, or anything. Great set.
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3737 comments201 of 212 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 12, 2010
I made a mistake and purchased a 50 inch Samsung 3D plasma and returned it within a week due to horrible image retention. After learning a lesson on the importance of doing research on a purchase this large I went to work on trying to find the best tv in my price range (1800 bucks at most.) With most individual reviews and head to head reviews I read I kept seeing Panasonic 3d plasmas at the top of the list. These tv's were not only voted best for 3d but also for 2d. So I went ahead and pulled the trigger on this set and I'm extremely glad I did. There are four main things I want a tv to be able to do; watch sports, play video games, watch regular programs and also to watch movies. And this set performs incredibly well in all areas.

I watch a lot of football and UFC and so far both of these sports look amazing on this tv. Everything runs smoothly and there is no issues with motion blur. So it's great for sports.

I own an XBOX 360 and love first person shooters (Call of Duty, Halo, etc..) and so far I have only played COD: Black Ops on this tv but it's a lot of fun to play on this set. The game always looks smooth and the colors really pop. Once I got use to the size of the tv (I was playing on a 37 inch before) I fell in love with gaming all over again.

As far as watching regular tv, well, I can say that I wish I had HD tv but unfortunately I don't. The standard definition looks great on this tv though. My Direct TV receiver isn't working properly at the moment and I can only view a few programs but so far so good with SD.

Watching movies is where this tv blows other sets out of the water. So far I have watched two regular Blu Rays (The Expendables and Rambo) and one 3d Blu Ray (How to Train Your Dragon) and all I can really say is WOW. I saw both The Expendables and Rambo in the theatre and honestly I think the picture is better on this set than it is at the movies. The colors and amount of detail are incredible. I watched Rambo on the Samsung while I had it and while it did look good it wasn't as good as with this Panasonic. As far as 3d goes I won't say it's as good as IMAX but it is as good as true 3d in a movie theatre. I saw Dragon in 3d at the movies as well and I actually enjoyed it more on this tv. Side note on 3d; I don't know if it will take off and if it doesn't that's okay. I bought this tv because it had the best reviews for 2d so the 3d was a bonus. But it's a fun bonus.

I've also watched some tv on a Samsung LED and I can say with confidence that this Panasonic has a better viewing experience.

Now that I have this tv all I need is a better sound system and some theatre seating and I'll be set. For the money you won't find a better set. Why spend more for an LED when this tv is better and costs less? If you're debating on a great tv to get in this price range then I'd say go for this set. I'm glad I did!
22 comments56 of 57 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 1, 2010
Was looking for a gift for Mom and Dad (a.k.a. me and my wife) and like to buy things we all can enjoy with the whole family. So being in the TV programming business I've been attending seminars on 3D and picking up very usual tips. Recently I learned from a vendor that Plasma is better than LED with 3D and that Panasonic and Samsung have already started exclusive 3D content wars with Panasonic holding "Avatar". After reviewing prices and reviews I decided to go with Panasonic and couldn't be happier. Amazingly this 50 inch TV weighs less than the 42 inch Sharp HD set it is replacing. Was able to mount on the wall and just blown away by the picture. And so far the sound has also been more than enough for the room although i'm looking into a surround sound system. The 3D is way cool (purchased A Christmas Carol with Jim Carey). Set up was a breeze and very pleased with the free shipping. Price dropped slightly after Thanksgiving and Amazon rocked with their matching guarantee. All in all a great experience and very pleased with this purchase.
11 comment50 of 54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 3, 2011
My first thought in writing this review - buy this TV while the promotions from Panasonic are still available! Do not hesitate if you are in the market for a 50-inch TV - this is one of the very best TV's available at the best possible price from the best retailer in the market.
Second thought - this is my third attempt to find the right TV with Amazon in the past two months, and I am very grateful for Amazon's 'Gold Glove' level of customer service. I first purchased a Samsung PN50C550 plasma - great image quality, but the Samsung had significant image retention issues and a horizontal image banding effect that they would not warranty after two service visits. Returned this TV for the Toshiba 55 LED 240hz 3D. One word - flashlighting. Significant bright spots on the screen in any moderately dark picture. Also, after becoming accustomed to plasma, the LED was a huge step down in picture quality in every way describable - I won't even try to elaborate. Never realized the importance of off angle viewing that you get with a plasma!! Amazon picked both TV's up, re-packaged and carted them away without any trouble.
Now about the Panasonic GT25 - picture quality is simply amazing. Rich, accurate colors. Incredible clarity. Black levels and contrast are everything that Panasonic claims. Minimal issues with image retention - virtually none, and this was an issue with the Samsung from day one. 3D is great - picture is clear and the images pop off of the screen. I find that the 3D works well even at greater distances and angles than are considered optimal. Will 3D improve over time? Of course, but the GT25's 3D viewing is a great feature that the whole family really enjoys now (at only $120 more than the G25).

One more thought about this whole TV buying escapade - I spent plenty of time in retail stores assessing picture quality between brands. This is not a good assessment of picture quality!!! Realized that different retail chains must be enticed to promote different brands/TV's, as I found that they run the pictures to some brands with HDMI cables and some with standard cables - that's going to mean a HUGE difference in picture quality when assessing the pictures side by side.

Buy the GT25 - you will be very happy (thrilled is a better word) with this TV!
0Comment21 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 19, 2010
crisp picture, 3d better than movies, will blow you away must set it right
try this:

picture mode: vivid
contrast: 69
brightness: 78

i wish someone would have posted that for me, would have saved a lot of time

11 comment35 of 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 18, 2010
Last year I bought a Panasonic 42 inch Plasma HDTV and the picture on it is so sharp that when Amazon/Panasonic put a promotion on to save an addition 400.00 dollars for Purchasing this 50 Inch 3D plasma, 3D Blu Ray and Avitar 3D Glasses starter set I could not resist, I also saved an additional 20% because I received a code from my Amazon Chase card for an additional 20% off so it made my purchase for all 3 just under 1100.00 dollars, an almost 50% saving!

Now on to the review.... I am only rating the TV as 4 stars because it does not have the exact crispness as my 42" Panasonic Plasma HDTV(TC-P42G10)which is as sharp of a picture as I have ever seen. I believe the reason is that no matter how big you HDTV is it is only going to have 1080 lines of resolution, so the larger the HDTV the larger the pixels. So, the larger the TV the grainer the picture will be. From my experiences a 46" HDTV is the max size I would buy, anything over that size you will start to see a less crisp picture unless you are going sit 12 or more feet away from the TV.

Now having said all of this, the picture quality is still good and vivid. There is no blur on fast motion movies or sports, plasma are best for this. We watched the 3D Avitar movie that came with the Glasses starter kit and I will say that viewing 3D was awesome. There were no issues the 3D works as advertised and the 3D was very very crisp! The glasses get a little uncomfortable behind the ears after an hour though. Only issue I had is that my Pioneer Elite A/V reciever which I bought just last year does not support 1.4 HDMI, your receiver has to support 1.4 HDMI or you will have to hook your 3D Blu Ray Direct to your TV and then run audio back to the reciver.

Shipping is always my biggest fear with large electronics. My HDTV arrived last year in excellent shape but I was still a little apprehensive because this TV was even larger. Amazon did a genius thing this year, they built a Triangle box that the manufactures box fits into. This triangle box that Amazon has designed does not allow the shippers to set the TV on its side or upside down, it forces them to ship the TV as intended this side up!

In Summary:
This TV still has a good vivid picture, but because of it's size(still has 1080 lines)you will have to sit 12 to 15 feet way for full clarity, so if you don't have this space buy smaller. 3D works as advertised and 3D is very Crisp, must be the glasses? If using 3D make sure you A/V receiver supports 1.4 HDMI. Don't be afaid of shipping Amazon packages the tv in a way that shippers are forced to adhere to the manufactures mandate of this side up when shipping! Great TV (if you can view from 12 to 15 feet away) and Great price.
1010 comments19 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 2, 2011
My old Samsung DLP went down and it was time to replace my TV. I was weighing LCD vs LED. I actually brought home and LED and hated it. There was so much light bleed in and on really dark scenes it looked grey not pitch black. So back to the drawing board. I heard some horror stories about Plasmas in the past. So I was hesitant but I started to research them and boy was I wrong.

Plasma is a superior technology to both LCD and LED. So I went with this Panasonic. Plasma have superior refresh rates 600hz. No motion blur what so ever and there is no Soap Opera effect that you would get with LED and LCD. Another problem with LCD and LED is that their viewing angles are horrible. You only get a great picture if you are standing dead center to the picture. If you move 25 deg off center the TV loses a lot of color and the blacks turn to grey. With a Plasma you can stand 120 deg off center and you will not lose any picture quality. It is something to see to be believed. Lets talk about the blacks. WOW!! They are unreal, I watched Avatar on Starz HD and the black space was a dark as the night sky. No bleed in what so over. I was amazed at the deep blacks and the contrast as well. I can put any movie and be blown away by the picture. This TV whips my old Samsung DLP. My wife thought all HDTV were created equal until I showed her this TV. I have yet to invest in the 3D technology but I have time because I am going to re-watch all my Blu-rays to experience them all again for the first time.

The thing with Plasma's is that they need time to break in so whatever you do for the 1st 100 hours do not run on Vivid. This TV has a THX calibration picture setting, use it. Set the Brightness and contrast to less than 60 and you are good to go. I have mine set to 52 brightness and 56 contrast and it looks amazing. After the break in period if you want to calibrate go ahead but not before.

Trust me if you buy this TV you will be in awe and you will love this TV. Just remember it gets better as you break it in. I will update when I get around to getting the 3D Kit.

Oh and for the price this TV will last you 100,000 hours. That is 30 years.
11 comment13 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 8, 2011
I decided that my old 42" rear projection set (that couldn't even do 1080p) needed to go. As a 2D TV, this set is everything you could possibly hope for. There are plenty of other reviews here giving the set accolades for its 2D performance, so I'll leave that alone. As far as 3D is concerned, the technology is really impressive and I seriously doubt you can do any better than this TV as of right now. Is that going to change in the next few years? Maybe. So, if you are like me and want an all around upgrade, get this TV. If you are buying this only for the 3D, that's also great... but there are some things you should know first.

I'm a PS3 owner so there is a fair amount of 3D content available (3D Blu-rays, 3D PS3 games, 3D Downloadable movies from PSN, and soon 3D streaming movies from VUDU). For the vast majority of this content, the 3D effect produced by the Panasonic is really pretty remarkable. There is minimal (though still noticeable) crosstalk between the left and right images. That said, even when its working well, I wouldn't say the image quality is as good as its 2D counterpart. Active shutter glasses by definition cut the amount of light hitting your eyes by half. Coupled with the fact that the glasses themselves are pretty tinted, you get a dramatically darker image through the glasses than without. This doesn't mean much if its movie night and you are turning all the lights off and the sound system up... you will definitely be immersed and not disappointed in the picture quality. I just wouldn't bank on it being all that great in heavy sunlight.

As I said before, that previous description applies to the majority of 3D content. Unfortunately, there is some content that just really doesn't work well and will almost assuredly give you a headache. Now, let me just say that this may not be the fault of the Panasonic TV. I don't have another 3DTV to compare to, so it may very well be the 3D content itself. When things gets really "close" and try to jump out at you, it just doesn't look that great. It's at its best when you are looking through a movie set like a kind of diorama. For example, the "3Dnet Sizzle" advertisement for the new Discovery 3D channel coming out just looks terrible. I mean, really. Terrible. Do yourself a favor and don't watch this (at least as your first 3D content) as it will definitely trigger some buyer's remorse. Again, this may well be the content itself and not the TV. But even if that's the case, just know that the 3D content out there is kind of hit or miss.

When all is said and done, this is a fantastic TV. It looks great in 2D and 3D. If you are like me, then the minor issues I've described so far can easily be overlooked.
0Comment9 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 20, 2011
I just got this TV a few days ago and I am very impressed. I had a 50'' Samsung DLP before this which I really liked but wanted to upgrade. This TV has it all. Amazing picture quality and a lot of customization. I don't have 3D glasses yet but I'll make sure to let you know if it works out well. I can just speak for the 2D aspect of the TV and all I can say is that it's the best TV out there for the price. I paid $980 for this TV brand new in Portland, OR (so no sales tax!) because I got the sales rep to knock off $120 the asking price. I honestly looked around at all the different places (including Amazon) and different brands and couldn't find a better deal. Even if you end up buying this TV between $1000-1199 you're still getting a spectacular deal. The only real difference between the GT series and the VT series is the Infinite Black vs Infinite Black Pro, and extra HDMI port (whoopie) and a few other minor things. This TV also has something the VT series does not, the 2D to 3D conversion. I know this doesn't sound all that great but it's an option if you want it. I understand that it's not as slim as LEDs or that it doesn't have the prettiest design but is that really what you buy a TV for?? Take my advice and snatch up this TV while you can.
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on December 27, 2010
When you compare/contrast TV's today between plasma and LCD, the purest picture and the highest quality tends to always fall within the realm of plasma. The have the deepest dark tones and have a breadth of color unrivaled by LCD. Now, LCD always has and will have a cartoony-type picture quality and in some instances that's an advantage. I tend to think LCD is superior for gaming than plasma, thus if that's your ultimate goal or intended use then LCD is dominate. I use my television for movie viewing through satellite signal and Blu-Ray. The clarity is without rival.

In relation to the 3D capabilities. I was not looking for a specific television with/without this feature. I am still on the fence whether it will become a mainstream option or this years gimmick. For what it is worth, the 3D viewing of Avatar was quit remarkable. I don't know how often we will use it beyond that but it is a nice "twist" if nothing else and this bundled option makes it viable and in the realm of possibility for even the most casual of viewers.

I highly recommend this bundle option. You get a high-end Blu Ray player with the 3D bundled package which ultimately yields Avatar, 3 pairs of glasses, and one of the best TV's sold....

I am very happy with my purchase.
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