Review Price £1,315.01
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.