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Panasonic Viera TX-P50GT30 review

John Archer




  • Recommended by TR

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Panasonic Viera TX-P50GT30
  • Panasonic Viera TX-P50GT30
  • Panasonic Viera TX-P50GT30
  • Panasonic Viera TX-P50GT30
  • Panasonic Viera TX-P50GT30
  • Panasonic Viera TX-P50GT30
  • Panasonic Viera TX-P50GT30
  • Panasonic Viera TX-P50GT30
  • TX-P50GT30B 50" 3D Plasma TV (1920x1080, 600Hz, Freeview HD, HDTV, 3D)


Our Score:


User Score:


  • Outstanding picture quality
  • Good multimedia features
  • Superb build quality


  • Reduction in brightness with 3D
  • Image retention
  • Irritating 3D glasses design

Key Features

  • 50in plasma screen
  • Active 3D built in
  • Viera Connect built in
  • Extensive multimedia support
  • ISF and THX endorsement
  • Manufacturer: Panasonic
  • Review Price: £1,315.01

2010 was the year plasma fought back. The arrival of 3D and plasma's demonstrable superiority at showing it suddenly saw the elder statesman of the flat TV game elbowing its upstart LCD rival out of the commercial spotlight for the first time in ages.

Given that it was Panasonic's 3D TVs in particular that drove this plasma resurrection, it's fair to say we're pretty pumped at the arrival on our test benches of Panasonic's first 2011 3D plasma TV, the 50in TX-P50GT30.

As dedicated followers of TV model numbers (!) will doubtless realise, the P50GT30 sits squarely in the middle of Panasonic's 2011 3D plasma range, replacing last year's well-received and top-selling GT20 series. This means it won't offer the nth degree of picture performance you might expect with the upcoming flagship VT30 series, with its extra, high-contrast filter. But the GT30 series certainly does benefit from numerous other improvements to Panasonic's core plasma technology (now dubbed NeoPlasma).

We'll get into these improvements later, but first we have a minor miracle to report: namely that Panasonic has actually wrapped the P50GT30 in a stylish body! We've been harping on for years now about the seemingly willful drabness of Panasonic's TVs, so it's massively pleasing to find the P50GT30 looking slim, sporting a fetching metallic finish for front and back, and even adding a bit of pizzazz in the form of a silver metallic trim round the inner and outer edges of the bezel, and a gentle blend from near-black into grey for the central third of the TV's bottom edge. Good grief. Where will it all end? Polkadots and leather?

Turning our attentions to the P50GT30's connections, our spirits are further boosted by the wide array of options Panasonic has placed at your disposal. Four HDMIs, three USBs, a LAN port, a Freesat HD LNB input alongside the more expected Freeview HD input, a D-Sub PC port, an SD card slot... Really, the set covers all the bases and more that you could reasonably expect. Especially as it's a mid-range TV, not a flagship model.

The USBs have triple functionality moreover, delivering Wi-Fi via a (sadly not included) dongle; recording the HD tuners to powered USB HDDs; and, of course, playing back most of the video, photo and music formats that matter. The SD slot offers an alternative means of playing photos, from the growing number of SD-based digital cameras out there.

The LAN port, meanwhile, delivers access to files stored on a networked DLNA PC, as well as providing a pipeline to Panasonic's new Viera Connect service. This applies a more overtly smartphone sensibility to last year's Viera Cast system, complete with an app store and the facility to organise to suit yourself the apps you choose to download.


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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