Panasonic Viera TX-P50VT20B 50in Plasma 3D TV - 3D Features and Performance

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic Viera TX-P50VT20B 50in Plasma 3D TV


Our Score:


The 3D sub-menu also contains some quirky feature complications not noticed on the Samsung model. You can reverse the 3D left/right sequence, for instance, if - according to the rather vague manual – 'you feel that the sense of depth is unusual'. We can’t really imagine when such a feature would become necessary, but maybe we’ll stumble across a relevant situation in the 3D future.

There’s also an 'Edge Smoother' designed to remove (as in, 'soften away') the slightly jagged look to contoured edges that can occur with side by side or top and bottom 3D formats.

There’s even a mode for turning a 3D image into a 2D one should not everyone in the room have 3D glasses when watching something on a 3D channel. But there’s no 2D-3D conversion like you get with the Samsung set.

Settling down to watch (on Panasonic’s BDT300 3D Blu-ray player) our currently only 3D alternate frame Blu-ray source, Monsters Vs Aliens, the P50VT20B makes an instant and profoundly good first impression by suffering far less with crosstalk noise than Samsung’s 3D LED TV.

All of the subject matter which showed the crosstalk ghosting all too clearly on the Samsung TV - the tension ropes of the golden gate bridge, the mid-range shot of the robot monster walking towards the bridge, etc - is here reproduced with only the tiniest trace of echo images. In fact, for the majority of the time, the crosstalk noise is negligible, even over background image content.

Switching to the Sky 'side by side' 3D channel and a repeat showing of the Championship play-off final, and the crosstalk story is the same. As in, there’s hardly any of it, making the players look cleaner and the image thus more consistent throughout its depth than on the Samsung LED set.

Samsung has tried to combat crosstalk with its LED TVs via a new, faster driving system and sophisticated processing system that introduces blank frames to the image in a bid to get round LCD’s inherent response time issues. And they’ve talked at length about plasma’s decay time issues potentially causing the same problems as LCD’s response time issue. But the simple fact, obvious to anyone who cares to watch them side by side, is that Panasonic’s plasma 3D system simply doesn’t suffer from crosstalk nearly as much as Samsung’s LEDs.

It’s worth adding, too, that unlike the Samsung LED TV, the P50VT20B doesn’t have to warm up for a couple of hours before it’s able to deliver its best 3D efforts.

The P50VT20B additionally delivers motion in 3D mode with great clarity, and with little if any noteworthy judder. And the sense of depth and '3D-ness' it portrays appears comparable to that of the Samsung C8000 series. But the lack of crosstalk somehow makes its 3D images look more solid.

The lack of crosstalk noise has its most significant positive impact with games. For the Xbox 360’s Avatar 3D game looks significantly cleaner on the P50VT20B, to a degree that actually makes it more fun to play. Which is saying something considering what a poor game it is.

Plasma’s inherent advantage when it comes to contrast, meanwhile, helps it deliver a richer and more convincing black colour than the sometimes rather grey effort of the Samsung UE55C8000 TV we’ve seen.

Michael McG

June 1, 2010, 12:17 pm

seen it on demo over the weekend.. thought it was amazing.. especially the 3d content on demo.. i wear glasses so the fact the lens on the panasnic pair are a little further out actually made them more comfortable for me to wear.. cant imagine kids wearing them though as they seem a little cumbersome..


June 1, 2010, 1:29 pm

I saw this set on display yesterday in a Berlin branch of electronics retailer Saturn, where it was playing a HD music channel, or maybe it was a demo disc. Either way, the 2D picture was absolutely superb and blew away the surrounding competition, both LED and plasma, by miles. I didn't get a chance to check its 3D capabilities but I've no interest in that anyway. Although the design is a definite step up on Panasonic's previous efforts, it still lags quite a way behind others, especially Samsung and LG. The Supreme Arbiter of what crosses the threshold, my girlfriend, was not impressed. My words, such as "But plasmas need a thick bezel" fell on deaf ears!


June 1, 2010, 4:51 pm

I'm currently torn between this and the Philips 9704:

Problem is with such glowing reviews of both sets, particularly their black levels, it's hard to glean a comparison. Anyone seen both these TVs in action?

Geoff Richards

June 1, 2010, 5:27 pm

@Chris - I envy your choice of a new TV for £2,300! :)

I haven't seen either set in action with my own eyes, but your predicament does raise an interesting issue. The Panasonic is bigger than the Philips (50" vs 46") and supports 3D where the latter does not. The VT20 is Plasma while the 9704 is LCD, albeit with direct-LED backlighting with local dimming. The Philips also has Ambilight.

As John says "The P50VT20B is comfortably the finest mainstream TV Panasonic has ever produced, and one of the finest TVs ever seen period. And that’s even before taking its 3D talents into account." High praise indeed, given Panasonic's past stars, like the G20.

If it was my money, I would take the larger size and "future proofing" of 3D and get the Panasonic. I'm no fan of 3D myself, but by the sound of it, the VT20 is no slouch in 2D either. By all means get a 3D demo in-store somewhere, but consider the cost of 3D Blu-ray, and the roadmap for 3D TV broadcasts.

If you prefer the less in-your-face impact of 46" and / or like the subtlies of Ambilight, go Philips. And move to 3D in a few years.

I think you will be a happy chappy with either choice, depending on what you have right now.


June 1, 2010, 6:59 pm

@ cris.. just wait a few months and get the philips 46pfl9705... this TV will be the toprange 2010 e.a. 400hz contrast 10.000.000-1 etc with optional 3d (active) just youtube it.


June 1, 2010, 7:29 pm

@Geoff, @Emile: Thanks for the pointers, much appreciated. 3D is not really my concern, but the capabilities of the VT20 seem excellent, 3D notwithstanding. Perhaps the V20 would be a better fit.

"I envy your choice of a new TV for £2,300!"

*cough* yes, well. Above my usual budget for sure, but it's only the second TV I've bought for myself in 15 years, so I figured I'd make it a good one. I rate the image quality of most LCD sets as disappointing, particularly the murky blacks. Plus, I'd find one for less :)

ronesh amin

June 1, 2010, 8:55 pm

Has TR considered reviewing the Samsung PS50C7000 TV as it is also a plasma, and a 3DTV for almost £1000 less. It could be a good opportunity to compare two similar TV's which are most likely to become the first 3DTV buyers will purchase.


June 1, 2010, 9:33 pm

Just be aware that the Panasonic VT20 will still suffer from the "falling black levels" bug or feature lol that will reduce the black level after 1,000 hours. Panasonic have said it is not going to be so badly implimented as the 2009 models but it will still happen.

Really this should be mentioned on all Neo PDP Panasonic Reviews imho and nobody knows how it will affect this new 3d technology developed for the VT20.


June 2, 2010, 3:08 pm

Looking at buying this TV today, possibly on my lunch break. Mentioned in the review was that it's the one you'd chose for gaming and that you played Avatar in 3D on it. Is this TV also going to be compatible with the PS3 games and blu-ray 3D update arriving shortly and also possibly with nVidia's nVision?

Many thanks

Charm El Snake

June 2, 2010, 3:41 pm

I had a look at this telly in the Panasonic shop, and was both impressed and disappointed. The picture quality was excellent, but the 3D effect was a bit dodgy - it was showing live tennis, and the crowd looked like lots of flat layers rather than a smooth transition from foreground to background. I assume this was down to Eurosport's broadcast, but I can't for the life of me understand why it rendered like that (unless it was trying to keep everything in focus when real-life isn't always like that).

This doesn't put me off 3D though, as I'm not going to discount a technology just because of one poor implementation of it. I need to see more...

ronesh amin

June 2, 2010, 7:37 pm

Any news on whether TR is considering reviewing the only other 50" 3DTV for comparisons' sake - the Samsung PS50C7000. I thought it would have made a good article. Especially on how ugly Panny TV's are compared to Sammy's and if an £800-£1000 drop in price on the Sammy makes this TV worth it.

I am really stuck between which one to get between the two!


June 9, 2010, 11:31 am

I don't care how good it is, I'm NOT wearing stupid 3D glasses to watch TV in my own home. End of.

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