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Panasonic Viera TX-P50GT30 - Features and 3D Image Quality

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic Viera TX-P50GT30


Our Score:


The number of apps that are genuinely useful - or even English-language, come to that - is still a little limited. But Viera Connect's cloud-based and open platform approach means the app count will only grow over time. And in any case, at least there are already a few 'star attractions' on there, including for the first time on a Panasonic plasma TV, the BBC iPlayer.

As you can tell from the fact that the P50GT30 has earned endorsements from both the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and quality assurance group THX, it's decently equipped with picture fine-tuning options - most notably gamma and colour management toolsets. These still aren't as comprehensive as those on some rival sets, but we'd consider them decent enough for a mid-range set.

Especially as many users won't feel the need to even go near them thanks to the ridiculously good quality of the P50GT30's pictures right out of the box. For thanks, presumably, to the new NeoPlasma technologies, the P50GT30's images are a revelation even compared with the already impressive efforts of the GT20 range.

NeoPlasma's main tricks are: a faster-reacting phosphor to boost response time; slimmer 'ribbing' between the plasma cells to boost luminance and power efficiency; reduced plasma discharge level to improve the brightness/power consumption ratio; and perhaps most significantly of all, a new louver filter in the screen that soaks up more ambient light reflections. And every one of these innovations plays its part in the P50GT30's truly grandstanding picture efforts.

Many of NeoPlasma's innovations in the P50GT30 are focused on boosting 3D performance. So it's gratifying to find the set delivering arguably the nearest thing yet to a flawless 3D performance.

For a start, in these days where reduced-resolution passive 3D technology is making such a stir, it's reassuring to see 3D Blu-rays looking as sharp and detailed as a normal HD Blu-ray would, reminding you of why active 3D playback was created in the first place. Colours look much richer than they did on the GT20 series too, and perhaps most crucially of all, brightness levels are more engaging. To be fair, the amount of brightness knocked out of the picture by donning Panasonic's 3D glasses is still pretty severe. But at least now pictures still look engaging and, most importantly of all, there's markedly more shadow detail visible in dark areas, addressing one of the biggest criticisms of Panasonic's 2010 plasmas.

Of that dreaded active 3D phenomenon crosstalk, meanwhile, there's nary a trace. Even slightly less than there was with last year's Panny 3D plasmas, and that's saying something.


April 14, 2011, 9:19 pm

Can we assume this review will also apply to the 42 & 46" versions?
50" is a bit more than I can accommodate!


April 15, 2011, 12:59 am


Thats what she said!


April 15, 2011, 1:33 am

I am right in thinking these tvs HALVE in value after 1 year?

The G20 was £650 pounds three weeks ago.



April 15, 2011, 3:43 pm

Gotta say I'm consistently impressed with Panasonic's plasma sets. They seem to remember that all the gimmicks in the world are useless without a good picture and, better still, have recently started coming with really good built-in picture modes as well. The THX mode on my G20, f'instance, really doesn't need any tweaking at all to provide a perfectly acceptable picture and is superb with just minor tweaking. Wish more companies would follow their lead in all honesty.

Oh, and scoobiesnacks, most TV's drop like a stone, especially when they reach the end of their life. The sensible way to buy one is to look for a really good set with a replacement due soon, there's almost always a good deal available. Also the G20 was a 2D screen, not a 3D. so is considerably less money.


April 18, 2011, 7:34 pm

Well I don't think the G20 ever actually sold for £1300 - so no the TV won't half in value in a year but you will undoubtedly pay a couple of hundred pound extra for being an early adopter in any new release ... that is something you have to factor in.


November 18, 2011, 4:42 pm

We bought the 42" version of this TV a few months back. Side by side with other plasmas in the shop, it knocked spots off them and was even better when we put it in our living room environment. Can't recommend highly enough. Absolutely stunning.


February 11, 2016, 10:08 pm

I've had the TX-P50GT30B since October 2011 and it has always offered a great picture, though the sound is rather mediocre. However, like many Panasonic sets built between 2009 and 2015 they suffer from penny-pinching build quality and some design flaws in the circuitry. Many of you,especially if you have one of the 42, 50 or 55 inch units will have experienced their premature burnout, especially if wall-mounted as opposed to left on its stand. There are shorting and heat issues which damage the PSU and Y-SUS printed circuit boards. This has caused many sets to fail within two years. The prime causes of these issues are:

1. Panasonic opted not to use heatsinks on critical components and boards, with the notable exception of the PSU
2. Panasonic saved money by securing the boards with short screws without lock-washers. These screws, which also act as grounding pegs, work lose and arc thereby causing shorts and component burnout and failure
3. Many of the boards were designed to be used with two banks of three IGBTs (insulated-gate bipolar transmitters) but Panasonic later reduced this to two banks of two - this put heavier load on the devices which were board-mounted without heatsinks so they too burn out with great regularity.

The above components not only have to contend with their individual and neighbouring component's heat dissipation but also the tremendous wall of heat from the neo-plasma screens mounted in ever-more slim cases surrounds which limit air-flow, despite the internal cluster of fans. This is exacerbated when the TVs are wall-mounted as there is less opportunity of air circulation and dispersal of heat.

A cursory look at your local eBay will show the very many Panasonic TV's being sold as 'spares or repairs' due to these very regular burnout issues.

Such is the notoriety of the inherent problems that a number of specialist component companies, including Sundance Multiprocessor Technology Ltd in the UK and ShopJimmy and Moduslink PTS in the USA offer their own solutions to these issues. ShopJimmy offer longer screw sets with lock-washers to reduce the incidence of arcing. Sundance replace key components with better quality ones and then also integrate heatsinks to prevent future burnout.

Annoyingly, Panasonic have been very much aware of these issues since at least 2010. In the rather more litigious USA they have replaced the faulty components free of charge. They are rather less benevolent with their European customers.

My flagship model TX-P50GT30B has had issues for a while and kept turning itself off when the processors started to cook themselves under the added strain on switching to on-demand services via the inbuilt Viera Cast utility. My set, gave up the ghost on Monday despite being just over four years old. Thankfully it's still covered by an extended warranty as Panasonic UK where uninterested. I bought three Panasonic plasma TVs in 2011 - the 50" unit for our living room and two 42" versions for the bedrooms; they replaced three Bang & Olufsen televisions which I'd bought in 1989 and were still going strong but did not have inbuilt HD or DVB so I thought it timely to upgrade. I rue that decision as the Bang & Olufsens which I gave to friends are still working flawlessly.

I have since 1976 used and owned both domestic and professional Matsushita, Panasonic, National and Technics equipment. I will be reluctant to either buy or recommend their products in future and will instead opt for Samsung or LG. Panasonic's Customer Service is a disgrace to the principles of its founding father, Konosuke Matsushita, and an utter affront to their customers.

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