For some of you, as we’re only too aware, 3D is about as appealing a prospect as pouring vinegar into your eyes. Even for some people who are interested in it, it’s something that they can’t quite bring themselves to pay lots of extra cash for.
In other words, there’s still a very healthy market out there for TVs that don’t carry 3D. This is especially true at the cheapest end of the TV world, but we’re also pretty confident that there some quite ‘serious’ TV viewers who want a quality TV without having to pay for 3D features they don’t want.
It’s to this latter group that Panasonic’s P50G30 seems designed to appeal. For despite lacking 3D, its build quality and spec sheet reveal it to be anything but basic.
Its design isn’t exactly the most stylish around (though the introduction of a light grey section in the middle of the bottom edge and the application of a decent amount of gloss to the bezel both make it a notch or too more attractive than anything Panasonic launched in 2010). It certainly is incredibly robustly built, though, giving you real confidence in its long-term reliability. This is not a TV that should break easily.
The downside to this is that its substantial weight makes it not particularly conducive to wall hanging. A fact that’s underlined by the surprising fact that the vast majority of its connection sockets face straight out of its rear, rather than providing access from the side as people wanting to wall hang the set would almost always prefer. We should add here, too, that the P50G30’s rear is markedly deeper than that of the 3D-capable P50GT30, suggesting that the non-3D model isn’t packing Panasonic’s most state of the art panel design.
The set’s connections may not be helpfully positioned, but they are, at least, plentiful. There are four HDMIs for a start, three built to the v1.3 spec and one built to the v1.4 spec, with the v1.4 one offering audio return functionality.
There are also an impressive three USB ports, all capable of playing AVCHD, SD-Video, JPEG, MP4, DivXPlusHD, WMV, MPO, MP3, AAC and WMA files. You can add an optional USB dongle to make the TV wi-fi ready moreover, and you can even use the USBs to record from the set’s Freeview HD tuner to suitably formatted HDD drives.
You can’t, though, also record from a Freesat HD tuner like you can with the P50GT30, for the very good reason that the P50G30 doesn’t have a Freesat tuner.
The P50G30 does carry a LAN port, though, and happily this does provide access to Panasonic’s new Viera Connect online platform. More on this later.
Looking at the P50G30’s panel specification, it’s a relief after noting its extra chassis depth to find that it definitely uses Panasonic’s 2011 NeoPlasma technology, with its extra brightness, contrast and energy efficiency improvements. We couldn’t help but notice, though, that it ‘only’ enjoys Panasonic’s Infinite Black technology, whereas the P50GT30 3D model gets Infinite Black Pro.
This might not sound a big deal on paper, but actually it’s potentially quite significant. For while Infinite Black reduces the amount of black level-impacting ‘pre-discharge’ in a plasma cell, Infinite Black Pro completely removes pre-discharge from the picture, resulting in a richer, more consistent black level response.
Having said that, both the P50GT30 and P50G30 quote the same very high native contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1.