There are a few other key facts and figures the P50G30 shares with its 3D GT30 counterpart. It’s a full HD screen, for a start. And both screens sport 600Hz sub-field drive technology for enhanced motion reproduction and image stability; Panasonic’s Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) processing for further reducing judder; and official endorsements from both the THX quality assurance group and the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) expert calibration group.
There’s a THX mode on the picture preset list, and a solid if hardly awe-inspiring suite of calibration tools to satisfy ISF professionals, such as adjustments for the gain and cutoff of the red, green and blue colour elements, and a series of gamma preset values.
Also tucked away in an Advanced Settings section of the onscreen menus are a Resolution Enhancer processor for making pictures look sharper, plus pixel orbiter and scrolling bar measures for countering plasma’s potential (though much reduced these days) problems with long-term image retention.
The last feature to touch on before exploring how the P50G30 performs is its Viera Connect online service. As noted in numerous previous reviews of 2011 Panasonic TVs, this service isn’t quite in the same league yet as the best efforts of Samsung and Sony. Plus the service is slightly hampered by a ‘front end’ that looks lovely but struggles to cope concisely with large quantities of apps.
But it’s still worthwhile thanks to headline services which currently include the BBC iPlayer, the AceTrax movie rental/purchase service, YouTube, Skype, Facebook, Eurosport, Twitter, and the Picasa online photo site.
At first, we have to say the P50G30’s pictures didn’t quite blow us away quite as successfully as those of the P50GT30. We tend to start our tests in what might be called ‘subdued normal’ lighting conditions, and in this configuration the P50G30’s pictures didn’t look quite as punchy and dynamic as those of its 3D sibling. Black levels seemed ever so slightly less deep, and peak whites and colours looked marginally less vibrant.
In a darkened room the differences don’t amount to much at all. And even in a bright room the improvements yielded by the latest NeoPlasma system ensure that pictures on the P50G30 look considerably better than those of Panasonic’s 2010 G20 models. But all the same we would say that the P50G30’s pictures do lack just a little ‘pizazz’ versus those of the P50GT30.
Continuing the negative theme we seem to have embarked on, there’s some noticeable contour/line break up during fast camera pans when watching 50Hz sources (though this can be reduced by calling in the set’s Intelligent Frame Creation processing), and occasionally the image’s brightness seems to flicker up and down a touch unless you’re using the mostly-good-but-slightly-muted THX preset.
So much for the bad news. The good news is that while the P50G30 might not quite hit the giddy heights of the GT30 series, it’s still a very fine Panasonic plasma TV. And a very fine Panasonic plasma TV means a TV that stands head and shoulders above most similarly affordable peers.