Customer Review

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great TV - be careful with image retention, May 13, 2011
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This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-P55GT30 55-Inch 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV (Electronics)
After extensive research on AVSForum, HiDefJunkies, and Flat Panel Reviews, I decided that I wanted the fantastic 2d picture quality, amazing black levels, and 3d without crosstalk for the future and this 55inch set was my choice since it was just a few hundred dollars more than the 50 inch. It arrived today and I could tell the shipping company Amazon used treated the box/set very well (no marks, dents, holes) and by myself I assembled the base and put the TV on it (I suggest you use 2 people for safety). I have a Pioneer Elite 36TX receiver and it doesn't have HDMI switching, so I thought that I was going to have to replace it. My sources are DirecTv (HR-20), Boxee, and LG BluRay. What I wasn't counting on, but LOVE (and it's saving me a lot of money) is that the Panasonic GT30 has an ARC (Audio Return Channel)via optical Toslink. That lets me connect HDMI from all my sources to the TV and have the audio output to the reciever for surround processing - AWESOME!

With only one day of watching, I think the picture quality is "all that". I previously had a Sony Grand Wega III Rear projection LCD HDTV, and it's hardly comparable because the display technology has progressed so far. Even major broadcasters like CBS/ABC/NBC in HD look suprisingly better.

It also comes with Wifi in the box which you connect via one of the two or three USB ports on the TV. That setup was painless. I don't really intend on using those features (like Netflix), so I can't speak to that. I *WILL* be using DLNA, and since both my Synology NAS and my Samsung phone support DLNA, I will see how well that works in the near future.

Setup was very easy. I'm a tech-guy and my wife could have done this. Date/Time/What source is on each HDMI port and walla.

What don't I like? The HDMI ports are horizontal on the side of the set and your HDMI cables will protrude from the back of the set.

[UPDATE 9-24-11]
My wife mainly uses this TV and she watches maybe 50 percent 4:3 content. I noticed a vertical line where the 4:3 content usually ends. Our source is a DirecTv box and I had it set to use black bars and the standard picture (not stretched). Well, I can tell you that screen burn-in/image retention is a reality with this TV. I did call Panasonic and they were all defensive about image retention saying -- "it's in the manual" and it's not covered under warranty. They did give me some tips to help, and maybe it will. I changed the DirecTv box to stretch 4:3 content and use grey bars when needed. I also used the pixel tool in the TV menu several times. I'm hopeful that it will all equalize. I only notice on a HD screen which is light/white. I still like the TV and it's color, size, functionality, but maybe I don't love it as much as I initially did.

[UPDATE 1/5/12]
After about 6 months of stretched content, I believe the vertical bars are now gone. I'm not sure if it was image retention, or just the fact that the 4:3 content part of the screen got more use and the extended part didn't. I still have not tried 3D because the glasses are too expensive and I'd also have to pay either DirecTv for 3D content or buy a 3D BluRay and 3D BluRay movies... doesn't seem worth it at this point.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 16, 2011 4:10:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 16, 2011 4:12:05 PM PDT
anthony says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2011 5:07:49 PM PDT
R. Harmer says:
Technically, it's an ARC via optical toslink cable. I'm using HDMI from my devices to the TV, the ARC to my Reciever. I'm not sure how many USB ports you need, but with 3, using one isn't a big deal.

Posted on May 23, 2011 9:45:18 AM PDT
K. C Wilson says:
>>why toslink ???? hdmi does not need a seperate audio cable
Correct, ARC is only via the HDMI, but his receiver may not support ARC.

So at least we know the TV has optical out for Audio.

Typically you run all HDMI into the receiver and then run a single hdmi to the TV.
The only other reason for optical audio out and ARC is for the built in HDTV tuner
on the TV. I don't have a flat screen with a built in tuner, but that may change soon.

I am looking at this model and the VT30, version. My current flat panel is a Panasonic plasma, also.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2011 6:17:59 AM PDT
Lindsay Weir says:
Was there anything special you had to do to get Surround Sound coming back on the ARC HDMI channel or Optical? My home theater receives surround audio from the inbuilt tuner on the TV. However, anything plugged into HDMI 2-4 I am only getting 2 channel audio through the ARC and Optical Audio connections to my receiver. Panasonic support are not providing much assistance on this. Sources to HDMI 2-4 include DirectTV, AppleTV, and Popcorn Hour. All are outputing surround audio if I plug it directly into the home theater receiver (I have limited inputs thus the reason for trying to use the TV's HDMI inputs here).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2011 3:32:20 PM PDT
Lindsay Weir says:
After dealing with Panasonic support for the last couple of months, it turns out that the ARC channel will only return 5.1 audio from the inbuilt TV Tuner. Same applies for the optical audio output. Anything plugged into HDMI 2-4 will only pass 2.0 audio back through the ARC to your home theater system. This is apparently the case for all the 2011 model TVs.

The purpose of buying this TV was to make it easy for the family to finally use one remote (well almost) to control our viewing. Since it has taken Panasonic this long to work all of this I can no longer return the TV and home theater unit to the store where I purchased this from. Panasonic has left a bitter taste in my mouth with this. This is advertised as the great thing (which it is) to use the ARC to send all the audio back to the home theater system. It is a shame that they cannot execute it correctly in their implementation on the 2011 TV models.

Posted on Nov 1, 2011 1:23:59 PM PDT
Obiburner says:
Thanks for your last post. I was about to order this when I saw your complaints about Panasonic's customer service.

Years back I'd had a problem with Panasonic's customer service and swore I'd never buy from them again.

However over the years, I've seen good reviews on Amazon for many of their products.

You saved me a lot of trouble.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2011 11:23:44 PM PST
Jon Powell says:
A few weeks ago, Panasonic Viera customer service offered to help pay the repair bill on my 17 month old plasma out of warranty. I took their offer. The point is, every consumer electronics company might have problems with customer service time to time, but it should not be a deciding factor to buy or not buy their product.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2012 1:58:04 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jan 5, 2012 6:38:44 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2012 6:38:05 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jan 5, 2012 6:38:25 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2012 6:49:15 PM PST
aptisme says:
2.0 channel audio is typically what ARC passes through to an AV Receiver, regardless of TV brand. This seems to be the current standard for the ARC channel pass through. A good AVR will still decode the signal to surround sound. But ultimately, for best results run an optical from the source to the AVR or Home Theater System if available.
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R. Harmer
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