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Customer Review

469 of 478 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best tv you can buy right now, May 30, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-P65VT50 65-Inch 1080p Full HD 3D Plasma TV (2012 Model) (Electronics)
In my opinion, this tv is the best to be had at this time. To provide some background for that opinion, I have tried the following sets while I still had my Kuro 5020: The VT30, D7000 and the 80" Sharp 632U LED. The Sharp was something I had to try based on some reviews but it really was quite disappointing and never even made it onto the wall. For further information regarding my opinion of the Sharp, please read the comments section where I have answered a question regarding my expereince with this set. The VT30 was quite good but had color issues, uniformity issues and large bezel syndrome. The D7000 was far better than I had expected after reading the nasty comments about it. But none of these sets allowed me to feel good about sending my 9g Kuro packing.

With much anticipation, I ordered the 65VT50 from Amazon. The entire process was painless and quick as per usual. Delivery was sooner than expected and professional. They did send only one driver, so be prepared for that. But we managed just fine. I quickly inspected the set and immediately mounted it and got things setup. Everything went smoothly.

I did download and install an available update. The only new "feature" I noticed after the update was a fairly long duration banner at TV startup. This is defeatable within the settings, so fear not.

**** A second update had been released and is mentioned at the end of this review.

****** 09/28/2012 update #3 version 1.17 is out. This may effect a calibration

Now for my impression of this television.

This VT50 is simply beautiful. The smaller bezel and overall aesthetics are quite excellent. Gone are the days of "but LCD's are so much slimmer and/or less bulky". This set looks great turned off. I am happy to pay a premium for the single sheet of glass design even if that was the only difference over the GT, but its not.

Some complain about the silver trim, but you will be hard pressed to find an owner that does not like it. Personaly, I really like the look. I think the TV would look rather run of the mill and boring without it.

The touchpad was easy to pair with the television. I do not imagine myself using the touch pad much, but it does work as advertised. If you use your television to browse at all, you may find the touchpad quite useful. I had no issues navigating with it at all.

It is also worth mentioning that this set is also quite a bit lighter than the VT30.

To my eye, the blacks are right there with the Kuro I just sold. A meter may say otherwise but it takes a trained eye to see the difference if not side by side. The blacks are inky and satisfying and do not leave me wanting in any way. My eyes are pretty damn good and all I can say is that I do not miss my Kuro one single bit. And the extra real estate is quite nice as well.

Equally as impressive is the increased brightness of this panel. If you find that you are really drawn to the brightness of an LCD, but prefer the motion of a plasma, this set should fit your bill perfectly. I have two large windows in my living room and never feel like I need more out of my set in terms of brightness. The anti-glare works excellent as well.

If I was forced to come up with a gripe, it would be the red LED that comes on when the set is on. This was poor planning on Panasonics part but I am not losing any sleep over it. A little well trimmed piece of electrical tape takes care of that if it really bothers you.

Everything works as it should. HDMI control works perfectly on mine. I can hit the power button once on my Directv remote and everything turns on as it should (STB, TV, and AVR). ARC (Audio Return Channel) is also nice. This allows the audio from the TV to play through your home stereo while utilizing the same HDMI cable that feeds it content. To utilize this feature, you will need to plug your HDMI cable into HDMI #2 on the television. This is great for when you are watching Netflix or something emanating from the TV itself. All this functionality is assuming that you have an AVR that is up to date and HDMI 1.4a compliant as well as your HDMI cables. I use these cables Mediabridge Ultra Series - High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet - (6 Feet) - Category 2 Certified - Supports 3D & Audio Return Channel [Latest HDMI Version Available]. They have worked perfectly for me every single time and the price is nice. I still feel compelled to interupt when I see an employee at a Big Box store trying to convince an unknowing person to spend over $100 on a Monster cable.

You will notice that the HDMI ports are extremely close to the edge of the set. If you have rigid cables, it can present a problem and possibly cause them to protrude past the edge. There are several fixes for this. The one I chose was to use two of these connectors Cable Matters Gold Plated HDMI Male to HDMI Female 270 Degree Adapter. Together they create a 180 degree bend to allow your cables to be neatly installed.

Bluetooth is a great feature that this TV has. I can place my receiver in standby (bypass mode) and listen to TV at night with my wireless blutooth headset. I will take a quick moment to endorse this headset LG Tone - HBS-700 Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Headset - Retail Packaging - Black/Orange. They work flawlessly on everyting I throw at them from working out, talking on the phone while driving to listening to a TV show while eating a midnight snack. They are ultra comfortable and sound excellent. At any rate, I am unsure why this feature gets such little attention. But keep in mind that you do need to verify that your AVR will pass through sound via HDMI or there will be no sound at all when the AVR is off or in standby mode. This is assuming that you pass your content through a receiver. You can't fault the tv if no sound is getting to it.

I have had many high end TVs over the years but this one takes the cake for me as an overall package. No offence to anyone intended, but you could not pay me to place an LED TV in my living room. Sure the Sharp Elite looks great head on, but try going off to an angle, and not even an extreme angle and watch the PQ fall off a cliff. Looking at a plasma from any angle is like looking through a window. Not to mention that motion is far more natural looking on plasma in general.

As far as sound is concerned, I personally place very little time in this area. Many people may use the built in speakers for night viewing. I would say that these speakers are quite capable for that purpose. If you are looking for this TV to have a capable 24/7 sound system, then you will probably be let down with this and pretty much any other flat screen offering. If you are going to lay down the funds for this beauty, you should also be ready to invest in a descent sound system if you do not already have one.

*** Amended 3D glasses info.
Considering how passionate some folks seem to be about the exclusion of 3D glasses, I will only say this: This set does not come with 3D glasses. I am fine with that. You may not be.

Now lets talk about breaking in your plasma and some of the myths that go along with that. Many people will religiously use what are called break-in slides for the first 100 hours that they own the television. There are good reasons for this and there are misguided reasons as well. These slides are full screen color slides that you would run at 100 contrast for 100 hours as a slide show. This allows the phosphors to age evenly in there more fragile and impressionable state that is the first 100-200 hours. Now it is just as reasonable to simply watch mixed content for the first 100 hours instead of using slides. You just want to be sure to avoid letter box material or leaving stations on with static logos for long periods of times. The only downside of using content instead of slides is if you plan on using offered calibrated settings from someone like D-Nice on AVS. He has been kind enough in the past to offer calibrated settings to folks in an attempt to help out the community. He will break-in a set with the slides and then calibrate it. He will then post these settings for others to get at least close to a calibrated look. The best way to mimic his results is to break-in your set with the slides as he did. He will also be the first to tell you that panels vary and you may or may not benefit from his offered settings. If you do not use the slides as he did, then you will have less of a chance of benefiting from his settings because the panel will have been aged on a far less consistent scale. At this point in time, D-Nice has not posted settings for this particualr set. So keep this in mind, as there are questions as to whether or not he will at all.

Personally, I am not using slides anymore other than for use to inspect my panel for problems. Nobody wants to have a brand new set off limits for 4 days. I know I don't. This time round, I have not used slides and all is well in the world. If I want to get the set calibrated, I will.

Running slides in the hopes of matching the exact characteristics of someone elses panel is a gamble that may or may not pay off, and how would you really know if you were getting the most out of these "Free" settings without meters and training to tell you?

But, it is fair to say that you will have the least chance for any type of IR in the first 100+ hours by running the slides. There are no logos or bars or HUDs to worry about. I stress the point that they will not CAUSE IR but they will not help remove it. So it is a personal choice and there is most definately no reason not to run the slides other than it makes the set unavailable for 4 days.

As a side note, these slides are excellent tools to inspect your new screen for issues such as dead or stuck pixels, micro cracks in the glass and hot spots or uniformity issues. The trick here is to use this tool when you get your set and then leave it alone. If you constantly use these slides to look for issues, you will eventually find one and it will drive you crazy. And in most cases it will end up being something that you will never see while viewing normal content.

Slides can be downloaded by searching for "Plasma Break-In DVD Images" . Just select the "Plasma Break-In DVD Images" link. Once downloaded, unzip and place on thumb drive.

So there you have it regarding break-in. Use slides or mixed content for the first 100 hours or so and relax.

One more thing worth mentioning to those that are unaware. The picture on your set will continue to improve over the first 300+ hours. So please do not base your impression of the set on the picture that comes out of the box. Blacks settle in a touch lower and the picture quality in general will become a bit richer and vibrant.

Another common misconception is that slides should be used to help remove IR or image retention. This is simply not the case.
Here is an excerpt of something I wrote on AVS:
You will never be told to use slides to remove IR. Breakin slides are for breaking in the panel, period. Think about it this way. If you look at your IR while running the slides, you will see that the IR is flashing exactly the same each time. You are simply baking the IR in as far as I am concerned. You are maintaining that exact image over and over again. Now start a pixel flipper or mixed content for that matter. In this case, every pixel involved within the area of the IR is being given it own unique workout independent from the surrounding pixels. This random aging of the pixels will allow the offending pixels involved within the area of IR to hopefully slowly blend in better with the surrounding pixels.

Sure, there is an anti-retention tool that is built into the sets software, but do not let that fool you into a false sense of security. If you leave on a station with a static logo for two days straight, the tool will do no more than make the edges of the logo image blurry rather than defined.

I should also mention that I have had no hint of IR on my set to date (besides on slides). This is after days of watching Discovery channel who is one of the worst offenders of the infamous logo. They should be sued with other channels that wreak havoc on plasmas with these logos. I almost have to think they have stock in LED technology! lol

Settings: The following are the settings that I am currently using post Luminance patch. They are a combination of my own and others. I feel I have struck a very nice balance without having had an actual calibration performed. This is in no way intended or claimed to be professional calibrated settings. I would be happy if they work for you though. So it definitely does not hurt to give them a try. If you find colors to be off on your particular panel, simply disregard the Pro settings and only use the Basic settings.

Picture Mode: Custom
Contrast: 82 "Bright Room" Setting 98
Brightness: 52-54 "Bright Room" Setting 70
Color: 50
Tint: 0
Sharpness: 14-24 *If you have an external VP you may want this at zero
Color Temp: Warm 2 (or Warm 1) * Warm 1 will not be as accurate, but you may prefer it anyway as it will spruce up the whites a touch.
Cats: Off
Video NR: Off
Aspect adjustments submenu
Screen format: Full
HD size: Size 2 (Size 1 will perform a 95% overscan. Can be good to get rid of scan lines at top of screen for sat/cable content as well as video noise that can be seen on edges of some content)
H size: [grayed out]
Zoom adjustments: [grayed out]
Advanced Picture:
3D Y/C filter: Off [grayed out]
Color matrix: HD [grayed out]
These next two settings may or may not help poor content and should have little to no effect on quality content.
Block NR: Off
Mosquito NR: Off
Motion smoother:
Weak or Off: For most content. Pans will still be messy but no SOE
Medium: Clean Pans but with SOE. Great for animated content
High: Introduces far too many artifacts and motion issues
1080p pure direct: On
Black level: Light
3:2 pulldown: On
24p Direct in: 60Hz * 60Hz seems to function as 96Hz does without introducing artifacts that may or may not be detected. But 96hz mode does provide slightly better blacks. So use 96hz if you do not perceive artifacts.

Pro Settings:
Color space: Normal
W/B high R: -1
W/B high G: 0
W/B high B: 0
W/B low R: 0
W/B low G: -4
W/B low B: -1

W/B detail adjustment menu: (listed as Red, Green and Blue gain, respectively)
100 IRE: -1, 0, -1
90 IRE: -2, 0, +1
80 IRE: 0, +1, -1
70 IRE: 0, 0, 0
60 IRE: 0, 0, +1
50 IRE: +1, +2, +1
40 IRE: 0, 0, -1
30 IRE: +1, -1, 0
20 IRE: +2, -0, +1
10 IRE: -1, -0, +1

Red hue: 0
Green hue: +4
Blue hue: 0
Red Saturation: -5
Green Saturation: -4
Blue Saturation: 0

Color detail adjustment menu:
Yellow hue: 0
Cyan hue: 0
Magenta hue: +2
Yellow saturation: -2
Cyan saturation: 0
Magenta saturation: 0
Red luminance: 0
Green luminance: -12
Blue luminance: -2
Yellow luminance: 0
Cyan luminance: +4
Magenta luminance: +4

Black Extension: 0
Gamma adjustment: 2.4
Panel Brightness: Mid
Contour Emphasis: Off
AGC: Off or 0

Gamma Detail Adjustment Menu
100 IRE Gain: 0
90 IRE Gain: 0
80 IRE Gain: 0
70 IRE Gain: 0
60 IRE Gain: 0
50 IRE Gain: +3
40 IRE Gain: 0
30 IRE Gain: 0
20 IRE Gain: -1
10 IRE Gain: 0

Now a closing moment for the topic of BUZZING. All plasmas buzz....period. It is an inherent aspect of the technology. A perfect way to hear how this buzzing is effected by what is on the screen is by using the slides we talked about. Typically, the buzzing will be loudest on an all white or very bright screen. As you flip through the different colored slides, you will notice the buzzing changing in its intensity. Now some sets will obviously buzz more than others. You may have two identical sets that are side by side and one may be louder than the other. So if you have a set that you feel buzzes too much for you, an exchange may be in order. But be ready for no change, less noise and possibly more noise. But please do not base your impression while you are standing in a silent room with your head behind the TV. Listen to the TV sitting in your normal viewing location with volume at what you would consider "normal" or slightly below that. Then see if you can even hear it at all. Personally, I have to have my volume very low to hear it at all. Under my normal listening conditions, I NEVER hear my set buzz. There are many other factors involved that can contribute to the buzzing. Some of which include proximity of TV to the surrounding walls, room acoustics, sensitive hearing, furniture in the room, carpet, etc.....

I hope this information helps you in your decision. I know the feeling of being overwhelmed when you are are trying to make an educated choice amid a sea of conflicting information.

When all is said and done, I feel great about my purchase and highly recommend the television.


Update 07/31/2012:
Panasonic has released another update. This update resolves the issue with CMS color Luminance not functioning. ;-)Picture settings are reflected and noted above.

Update 08/19/2012:
In order to put minds at ease, I begrudgingly put the colored slides up after about 750 hours of use to see if I have any IR. I expected to at least see some minor IR but the fact is that I have ZERO IR! If you are worried about IR, stop. Follow my instructions and advice and it will be a non-issue.

And btw, my picture quality has steadily improved over the entire 700+ hours it has been running. What a gem.
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Tracked by 20 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 165 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 12, 2012 2:30:29 PM PDT
Cheryl says:
The bluetooth is an unexpected surprise and you are right that it gets very little attention. We will be purchasing some bluetooth headphones to use with the vt50 and we are wondering which ones that you have, and do you like them?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2012 5:27:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 12, 2012 5:32:51 PM PDT
Thank you. And here is a link to the headset that I use. I also give these 5 stars. They are excellent. I use them for phone calls and the sound both ways is very good. I also use them working out. I can use the treadmill or any equipment for that matter without worrying about them falling off or anything. The battery life is also great. I do have to say that they do not always connect to the TV on the first try. Sometimes I have to cycle the power on them to get them to work but it is no biggie at all. And the fault is not with the headset as it connects to everything I throw at it. Enjoy

FYI- I have not tried to connect with more than one headset. I could not say for sure that multiple headsets will work, but it may. Good Luck

LG Tone - HBS-700 Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Headset - Retail Packaging - Black/Orange

Posted on Jun 16, 2012 10:00:30 PM PDT
Coach KG says:
In your review you suggested that the 80" Sharp was pathetic. I'm on the fence trying to decide between the Panasonic 65VT50 Plasma and the Sharp LC80LE844U 80-inch 3D LED for a room with windows on 2 walls. Some have suggested to me that the choice is "quality" vs "quantity". I'd be interested to hear why you feel so strongly that the Panasonic is better than the Sharp? Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012 9:51:10 AM PDT
It was the Sharp 732U that I tried. At the time, I had the 65VT30 as well. When the Sharp arrived I simply placed it next to the VT30 and fed them both the exact same content for a side by side comparison. My first impression was that there was something wrong with the Sharp or maybe the cable I was using because there was such a huge difference in PQ. The next thing I did to troubleshoot was to swap input cables.
I now had the HDMI feeding the Sharp and component feeding the VT30. I powered them both up and the difference was still night and day. I found the pixilation and graininess of the Sharp to be so far out of acceptable that I could not believe my eyes.
I then went on the web and found suggested settings for the Sharp 80". I used a couple sets to include CNETs and the improvement was slight.
Now if I was not unhappy enough at this point, there was also the issue of off angle performance. At eleven feet away, I could step 2 feet to the left or the right and watched the PQ get so bad that it was unwatchable. Off angle performance was the worst I had ever observed in a television. This factor gets compounded with the size of the screen. It is so big that you are almost off angle to some part of it at all times.
Needless to say, I gave this TV every opportunity and I knew that there was no chance of it making me happy. I feel like I know enough about modern day televisions to say that the Panasonic plasmas and the Sharp line of LED's are in two very different ball parks.
The Sharp Elites IMO are vastly superior to the normal Sharp line. But I still find viewing angles and synthetic looking motion to be unacceptable.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 5:46:46 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jun 24, 2012 8:28:12 PM PDT
gds says:
I just ordered the 55", can't wait to get it broken-in and adjusted.
Thank you for mentioning the comparison with the Kuro. This will be my first "new tech" TV because I have avoided all plasmas and LCD's until there was an affordable Kuro quality TV (specifically the black levels and shadow detail). As I am writing this now, I am watching my old 2002 Pioneer SD-533HD5 rear projection TV. All my friends laugh when they hear that I still watch this old relic, but then I laugh when I go over to their house and see the horrific PQ of their newer hi-tech TV's.
I think I've waited for the right one.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 10:27:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 2, 2012 10:28:12 PM PDT
K. Franke says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jul 17, 2012 11:30:25 AM PDT
Roxme says:
Anthony, Extremely nice review! I bought the 55" VT50 and have a question concerning the HDMI/ARC link to your AVR. I have a Pioneer Elite AVR that is ARC compatable. You say one can output TV audio and input signals through the same HDMI connection (HDMI2 on the VT50). So then, what input do you set the AVR to when you're sending it audio signal from the TV? The TV audio would be coming into the AVR through an output the way you describe it. It's not like you can set the input of the AVR to one of its own outputs, or can you? Sorry if this is a dumb question, but the functionality of ARC is all new to me. Thanks, Ron

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2012 11:40:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 17, 2012 12:05:42 PM PDT
Not dumb at all. You actually do simply use the same HDMI connection on the AVR. The AVR HDMI output connection (if ARC compatible) can both send and receive audio via the same connection. I have one HDMI connected between my VT50 and my Yamaha AVR. When set up properly, it works perfectly. For example, My Directv passes through my AVR and out to the television. The audio from the Directv obviously plays through the AVR. If I put the AVR into standby mode, it passes video AND audio to the TV and you can use the TV speakers or a headset. Or you can start say Netflix via the VIERA App on the TV and the audio will automatically be detected by the output of the AVR (which now is acting as an input) and plays that audio without me having ot press a single button. There are steps to perform in the VIERA settings of the VT50 and possibly the AVR itself. I am on the road atm so I don't have them right in front of me. I think you have to set the speakers to "Home Theater" in the VIERA settings. Good Luck

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2012 12:00:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 17, 2012 12:00:49 PM PDT
Roxme says:
Thanks Anthony. That helps a lot. I have the AVR setup like yours (with the STB signal passing thru or The AVR processing audio); but I haven't tried the inverse where the TV becomes the source. Thanks again, Ron
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