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This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-P55VT50 55-Inch 1080p Full HD 3D Plasma TV (2012 Model) (Electronics)
*** FYI, I have included a 1-year ownership update at the end of the review.
Before I begin, it may be helpful if I quickly summarize what I believe to be true in comparing a plasma and LCD. This way, you have an idea of where I'm coming from. In short: plasma has more natural color reproduction, better black levels, no motion blur, greater viewing angle, and better light uniformity. LCD, on the other hand, uses less energy, produces less heat, does not suffer from burn-in/image retention (IR), much brighter picture, and sharper text. Some specific information that I knew about the VT50 before making my purchase: no bundled 3D glasses, expensive, no built-in camera, reflective screen.
Here's why I went with the VT50:
1) color reproduction, like other plasmas, is fantastic. Blacks are extremely dark, and I read many reviews mentioning the great black levels of the VT50.
2) the front glass panel is beautiful. GT50 and ST50 do not look as clean.
3) my room is not very bright, so I do not need a light torch of a display.
4) support for 24fps -- I watch a lot of movies.
5) the reviews have been very very good, and having owned a Panasonic projector in the past, I've had good experiences with Panasonic equipment.
I purchased the TV from Amazon, so with included Enhanced Delivery, getting this up and running was a breeze. It's beautiful, and it delivers on its promise of displaying an excellent picture. I was a little worried about burn-in, but I have yet to see any kind of image retention. While I do watch channels with those stupid static logos and play games with static images, I take breaks and am conscious about leaving a static image up for more than 10-15 minutes. I'm quite happy with the set, but there is some room for improvement.
Five things I would have liked:
1) navigating the 'smart' feature is a little slow. This is a common complaint I have across the board (Samsung, LG, etc). I wish it were as responsive as, say, an iPad.
2) it'd be nice to easily get to the Scrolling bar anti image retention feature (it's deeply buried in the menu system).
3) yes, it's clear this set does not come with 3D glasses, but really? At this price-point, it should come with 3D glasses or at least vouchers for 3D glasses.
4) would have been nice to have some kind of cable management built into the back of the set.
5) no headphone jack (with DAC) on the set, only support for Bluetooth headset.
With that said, so far so good! Even the sound is remarkably clear -- caveated with 'for built-in TV speakers'. Only time will tell if image retention is an issue or black levels rise over time. Both are supposedly fixed, but we'll see!
Other helpful notes:
- I noticed that my TV was leaning to the left when using the included stand, i.e. the left side of the panel was lower than the right side of the panel. It turns out this can be adjusted by loosening the four screws that hold the stand to the panel (the last four screws that are tightened in the instructions on page 9). I slightly loosened the screws, then moved the panel slightly until I measured each side to be even. Then tightened.
- It may not be completely obvious that under the Menu -> Picture adjustments, there are more options after Sharpness. One option that I find annoying is C.A.T.S., which adjusts brightness and gradation based on ambient lighting.
- The rear fan is inaudible from a foot away from the panel. I could only hear it if I put my head in the back of the panel. Also, I hear no humming coming from the TV, so if you experience this, you may have a defective unit or a ground loop.
*** UPDATE (1 YEAR LATER)
It's been one year since I received this TV, so I can give a little more detail on the ownership experience. I have never once experienced any buzzing with this TV. Permanent burn-in? No problems. HOWEVER, this set does retain images for days if you abuse it. I know this because I played a video game (Dishonored) that had static images on the screen. It certainly retained the image for several days. I ran several cycles of color cycling videos across 24 hours, and although it helped a lot, I could still barely make out some images. I thought I was doomed by my mistake, but luckily, over time, the image went away on its own.
I also would like to say that the sound is not as "remarkably clear" as I once thought. It's certainly good enough for a small, quiet room, but it is lacking. I am continuously finding myself increasing the volume during certain parts of movies and TV shows. I am looking into adding a soundbar in the future, but something of interest if you're in my situation: audio out passed from an external HDMI source and back out via HDMI (ARC) is not passed through unaltered. It is mixed down to stereo. For example if you were considering using the VT50 as a HDMI switcher, had a PS3 connected to HDMI-1, and wanted to use HDMI-2 (ARC) to connect a soundbar, anything coming from the PS3, such as 5.1, would be converted to PCM 2.0 and sent to the soundbar. It would not be 5.1. Something to consider.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 13, 2012 7:49:09 PM PDT
so, no buzzing like the Panasonic VIERA TC-P55ST50 ?
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:11:56 AM PDT
T. Song says:
No buzzing. I've stood right in front of the panel and can't hear any buzzing. There is a fan, but it's also inaudible unless you're on the backside of the panel.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 9:58:33 AM PDT
J. DeLucca says:
I agree; no buzzing. I have the 55" model.
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