Panasonic TX-P50GT30B belongs to the class of latest 2011 GT models which has been tinkered in certain areas. It is visible right from the appearance up to the technology incorporated. A few interesting tit-bits of the TV and which has been revamped from the previous model is listed below,
- The panel is based on the Neoplasma display technology whereas the previous models are based on the NeoPDP. The characteristic cosmetic and performance oriented advantages are cleaner bezel, and rapid switching phosphourous. Owing to the incorporation of such phosphour, it can actively control the crosstalk and the afterglow effect.
- Secondly, the display is constructed using the recent version of the Infinite Pro Black Filter which reduces the effect the surrounding light and actively reproduce deeper blacks
- The aesthetic level is increased by immersing the design with elegancy and contemporary look.
- Viera Cast internet feature is replaced to the latest Viera Connect platform
- Last, but not the least the GT30 family has been scrutinized for THX certification including the 3D viewing.
- The power consumption is also admirably good owing to the Neoplasma display technology and are not practically higher than the LCD models of the comparable size.
In other words, Panasonic tries to deliver critically good essence of the VT30 product line but at a relatively cheaper price.
Panasonic TX-P50GT30B TV has all the exciting features of the modern television but at the affordable market price. The 600 Hz sub field fast switching phosphorous renders good image quality in both the 2D and the 3D content. The Infinite black pro display deeper black and controls the glare occurring on the face of the panel under ambient light environment. The Viera Connect contains a few internet applications but are essential ones. Finally, Panasonic’s Neo Plasma technology provides the changes in the plasma display and along with the THX certification the television has great expectations to be met.
The overall design vibrates elegancy and the sleek structure furthermore deepens the contemporary look. The screen is fitted within the chrome trim framework, which at the first glance might not be alluring. However it tapers to deep black bezel which eventually fades in to the gun metallic colour grey area surrounding the Panasonic logo located at the bottom centre. It is the very first effect that one would perceive on looking at it. Chiefly, Panasonic has renovated the structural aspects of the 2011 television designs and this one is not an exception. The bezel’s black is more attractive as it is sort of jet and gloss black combination used. Edges have been opted for a brushed aluminium sort of appearance which is rather rounder towards the corner. The Bezel’s inside is trimmed with silver colour and is located right adjacent to the panel. The silver trim makes it nearly impossible for the perfect merge of the deep blacks with the bezel, even though when it is capable of it. This sort of detraction could be avoided by placing the silver trim outside the outer edge of the panel rather than the inside.
Besides this, the Panasonic TX-P50GT30B 50 inch screen looks majestic. The bezel part measures 3cm wide towards the side and 6cm towards the bottom. Considering the thickness and bulkier plasma models, this one is surprisingly thinner and measures from 3cm to 6cm towards the end, and the largest thickness beholds the area for the electronic components. However, the wall mount would be critical as it weighs around 26Kg, despite the slim structure. Nevertheless, it uses downward pointing inputs to assist in wall mounting. Even so, the HDMI slots are somewhat closely packed which could lead to clumsy cable arrangement. Apart from the tidy and pristine appearance the screen suffers slight brightness fluctuation (Fbr) and the image retention is still not handled uniformly. Though the occurrences are rare, visible banding could have been eluded. The screen is designed to permit less power consumption especially while displaying darker images. However in reality, it is not so and considerable and obvious delay in deciding the dimness or the brightness makes a hindered viewing experience. We expect almost an instantaneous shift.
Slots and Connectivity
Surprisingly Panasonic has opted for hard wired power cable for a higher end model like this one, whereas it has chosen the removable kettle power cable for the entry level television. It could be for some technical and design reasons; still one could not help notice the minute differences. As mentioned earlier, the connections are re-structured with the style of being positioned within the reach, especially towards the bottom of the display and it faces downwards. Despite the good logical location, the HDMI ports could have been placed conveniently. The allocated space for providing the connections to the television is a point of debate. Some would feel comfortable with the positioning whereas for some it is too closer to the edge thereby making the cable visible. However, Usage of right angle adapters prevents the cable being seen awkwardly at the television side. Furthermore, if it is planned to be wall mounted it is advisable to plug-in certain connections which are slightly tricky. Such connections are to be considered prior to mounting the television on the bracket. The inherent nature of the plasma technology is to yield more heat when compared to its LCD/LED counterparts. An in-built cooling fan vents off the heat and certain sensitive ears can pick the shallow sound of the fan. Though it is not annoying, it is one of the observations noted.
Like in any latest models, Panasonic TX-P50GT30B 50-inch 3D TV poses four HDMI port, three USB port, Scart connector, RCA input and RF connection. Alongside, LAN connector to get connected to the net and firmware updates is also present. The aerial socket along with the satellite connector faces downward. The special connectors such as the SCART and the composite video uses break-out adaptor cable. One of the USB cables can be used for recharging the 3D glasses.
Panasonic has given the choice of purchasing the 3D glasses to the consumer itself for this model. The VT30 television lines are supplied with two pair of 3D glasses whereas this one does not come with any. Hence, it is up to the user to purchase the 3D glass and view the content or leave it alone. Buying universal 3D glass can also be a good choice, but Panasonic has re-engineered the 3D glasses to a better style and usability. The latest glass has considerably wider eye coverage area, so it blocks out the light entering from the sides. It is available in three sizes, viz Large, Medium and Small and hence anyone in the family can try. They fit comfortably even over optical glasses and can be recharged.
Speculations loom around that in the near future, new 3D glass would be released.
The remote control is user friendly and produces a click sound rather than the squishy feeling. Panasonic remote control is relatively the same as the one used for VT30 line-ups. Basic remote control style is sufficient to meet the navigating demands. The remote control’s colour glares up in silver and deep grey combination. The first impression which one would get on holding the remote is that the front row buttons are rammed towards the edge. Such an arrangement provides very little space for the fingers to be placed for maneuvering the lay-out. Unique combination such as the power button, direct 3D button and the TV/AV input button is placed in the front row. The menu button occupies the second row and shares the row with the aspect ratio change, TV recording and the Viera Connect buttons. Menu button is something very essential for the user and had it been centrally located it would be very appropriate. Surprisingly, the Viera cast is inscribed inspite of Viera Connect, could be because of space constraint. Four coloured buttons are located beneath the cursor buttons. Major function of these buttons is to support the navigation and control various functions. The volume and the channel change bars are pushed down beneath the controls located for accessing the connected equipment. Overall it is intuitive and still user-friendly but somewhat peculiar in arrangement.
The set-up process is very easy and once the connection is given; aerial or satellite dish, the respective channels tune in seamlessly. Another notable point is the calibration time or otherwise indicated as the run in time. It varies between 200 to 500 hours, to get the most optimum result and settings. The menu system is re-shuffled and is easy for navigating when compared to the previous year menu style. It has a very sophisticated access and we appreciate the effort for removing the block and gaudy graphics sequenced with primary colours. Colours are substituted with mild colours and partially transparent grey backdrop. Unlike the previous year arrangement, this set-up facilitates easy reading and navigating. The menu system consists of four controls, viz picture, timer, sound and set-up. The sound has furthermore three selections viz, speech, music and the hall. Various features of the in-built sound system such as the equalizer, balance are controlled. The timer sub-menu consists of timer programming, timer off/on and the auto standby options. The set-up offers eco navigation, recording, link setting, network and display setting and child lock. The picture related stuff such as the 3D setting and the over scan are now tactfully placed in the picture and not inside the set-up menu as done with the previous models. The picture menu offers a wide and contrast combination such as the dynamic to the THX preset, which can be defined as an innovative setting. Besides this, the professional 1 &2 present in the advance settings are two modes of ISF. The application of the ISFcc is to offer good setting condition for the calibrator to be viewed for day and the night environment. Once again, the settings optimised for various viewing condition can be locked, thereby avoiding accidental change of the settings.
Viewing experience can be tailor-made by maneuvering through various options such as the contrast control, brightness control, sharpness control and the CATS. The Contrast automatic tracking system (CATS) must be used wisely because it adjust the contrast from one scene to another which can in turn create image fluctuation. There are certain minute details to be considered before tuning for the various picture settings. Take for an example, while tuning either the professional 1 or 2, it is vital to turn off the 16:9 overscan. It can deliver HD material which would influence the resolution adversely. Similarly the picture quality is appreciable even without accessing the resolution enhancer and it is advisable not to do so. Aspects such as the side panel control, pixel orbiter and the scrolling bar functions effectively reduce the issue of image retention.
Grouping the programs as per the EPG is available. Panasonic’s EPG has not been refurbished in any aspect and still maintains the same style. EPG lacks the facility to provide preview in thumbnail view and many would not be a fan of an outdated EPG.
The colour adjustments can be enhanced using the colour management system, white balance and the gamma setting. White balance maintains two calibration of the grey scale, whereas the CMS adjusts the primary details of the colour such as the hue and the luminance. The 3D settings can also be adjusted to yield very fine details.
Neo plasma display technology
Plasma display technology always had an upper hand in delivering good picture quality but with effect on image noise and power consumption and chunkier models. Panasonic has researched a great deal in this area and has come up with the Neo plasma technology. Basically, the structure and the materials used in the plasma technology have been replaced. It uses new rapid switching phosphorous which can reduce the after glow time, an inherent issue of the plasma technology. Moreover, the rib structure surrounding each pixel has very reduced dimension which enhances the way it emit light. This in turn can produce good luminous panel, which yields bright and smart pictures.
600Hz SFD Frame Creation Pro
The 600Hz sub field fast switching phosphorous is based on the switching phosphorous technology. Fast switching phosphorous, the newly evolved technology works in each frame, as it ought to be displayed for fraction of seconds. It works in delivering good high definition picture quality. Especially the fast moving objects are displayed clearly even in the 3D setting.
Infinite Black Pro
Infinite black pro delivers the best and excellent blacks with negligible graying. It can be equaled to that of VT20 television lines of Panasonic, by calibrating the television. It controls the screen reflections and produces excellent deep blacks even under broad daylight. It is achieved by altering the panel louver shape and material used for constructing the same. The filter is redesigned to prevent light reflecting the panel. Moreover, the absorption effect is reduced thereby creating controlled glare and largely eliminating the internal reflections which can happen on the panel’s face. The minor downside observed in this technology is that, it also reduces the level of vertical viewing angle, yet it gives the freedom for the user to watch the TV from any horizontal angle. Despite, the black squares surrounded by white squares it is still able to deliver impressive blacks. The TV sometimes handles the floating blacks nominally, which is observed to occur while showing dark content. Owing to the technical advancements, the effect is least felt in this model. The automatic Brightness Limiting circuitry readily balances or increases the luminance, when something very bright appears on the screen. The mid range of ABL suffers when bright content appears on the screen. The screen automatically lowers the luminance and then reverts to the normal condition. The fluctuations are noticed in the brand new sets and fades away after 100 hours of usage time.
The Viera Connect, an improved internet service of Panasonic television is simple and straight forward to use. It had widened the applicability to several steps. By simply connecting the LAN cable or using the Wireless dongle, the connection is established. Numerous internet functions can be browsed using the Viera connect. Facebook, Skype, Acetrack, Cinetrailer, Euronews, Twitter are a few. It gets added regularly. The application is smart and easy to use. The Skype video call is possible by adding the additional HD communication camera from Panasonic. The camera includes exclusive unidirectional microphone which can pick the sound around the hall effectively, thereby can engage in family video conferencing. Panasonic has extended the Viera Remote apps to be downloaded to the Apple mobile devices. By doing so, the mobile phone can be used as remote control to watch the television. The app readily equips the mobile to be navigated through the touch screen. Not to mention, the Viera Remote app allows the user to input the characters while browsing the internet, so any messages on the Facebook or Twitter can be keyed in directly from the mobile phone. Furthermore, by downloading the Viera Simulator App, one can transfer the Apple iTunes directly via the TV. Overall, Panasonic is serious to capture the market of internet television and inter device application.
Panasonic TX-P50GT30B 3D Plasma TV has good picture quality; however the best is delivered once it is calibrated. The accuracy is impressively increased especially the grey scale and the colour gamut. Specifically the interlacing and the scaling are handled well and imitate blacks with magnificent contrast ratio. The scenario is further enhanced in the high definition mode.
Calibration process is made easier by allocating the inner area clean in the screen for viewing the ongoing calibration. The grey scale calibration is important because, it determines the extent of discoloration which proportionately influences the entire image quality. Results are summarized below;
- RGB tracking shows an extent of 5% slightly higher for green and 5% lower for the red when compared against the reference standard.
- Delta E, is approximately between 3 to 5, though it is low, it still produce minor discoloration in the grey scale defining which would adversely impact the colour accuracy
- Gamma value comes around 2.0 which is more apt for day time viewing and yield brighter picture, but can slightly influence the black level.
- On running the calibration for prolonged time, one can certainly meet the expected improvement in the colour gamut, but overall it is very good.
- The latest colour management system permits the calibration of luminance, hue and the colour. The primary colours were nearing accuracy whereas the remaining colours exhibited slight errors. In continuation with the same, one cannot calibrate the secondary colours and hence should live with it.
P50GT30B Panasonic 3D TV produces brilliant video processing results with good scaling of the 576i and the 480i images by not losing minute details. There were no issues of undesirable ringing complaints. Very slight jaggies were observed only at the bottom but not so visible. The television quietly detected the 3:2 film cadence, whereas there was a few seconds of struggling time noted in detecting the 2:2 cadence. Besides this, it was unable to lock at 30fps. Nevertheless, we like the way it displayed the content containing video text and the displayed letters were not blurred or appeared shredded. An interesting phenomenon while watching the 24p content is to turn off the intelligent frame creation and the smooth film function. In the presence of these effects, the film would appear with motion artefacts. There is no judder effects observed under this condition.
Picture Quality – 2D
The picture quality of the 2D high definition material is outstanding. The colour accuracy is at its best and the grey scale in combination with the scaling and the de-interlacing looks phenomenal. The standard definition 2D content also surpass in image quality, occasions of inferior image quality would be the result of compressing poor incoming content and cannot be regarded as the TV’s defect. The accuracy of the colour palette is breath-taking, but sometimes the accuracy level reveals the 50Hz bug seen on rapidly moving objects. Again, the issue is not seen in Blu-ray discs as it is encoded in the 24p thereby resulting in the nearly judder free content. The image quality can be expressed as the team work effectively carried out by the neo plasma technology, infinite black pro and the 600Hz SFD.
The issues observed in the image quality with respect to the Panasonic plasmas when compared to the previous launches are not widely seen in here. The flickering effect is user sensitive and would be prominent for a few, but there is no doubt that this one has no major issues as such. The PWM noise is seen at certain instances, but the image quality is never curtailed at any cost. The posterisation effect, an inherent disadvantage of the plasma technology is observed here, but the extent is what one would see for. It definitely did not detract the viewing attention and hence can be considered very minimal. The buzzing sound of the plasma display could be heard only if we try very hard to listen by keeping the head close to the television. Image retention is not highly pronounced, but a few complaints of the burn in issue can be seen in the discussion forums. Though it is reported by Panasonic as temporary, it could have been avoided.
Picture Quality – 3D
The THX certification of 3D has placed the Panasonic on great expectation platform. The expectations are not completely met, but some signs of potential improvement in the 3D can be awaited. The 3D usability is simple and notable 3D settings are available. The 2D to 3D depth control permits the user to select the image depth of 3D on the 2D content. The 3D adjustment controls only the depth of the 3D content. The picture sequence reverse the 3D image, whereas the edge smoother function adopts to lower resolution side by side content. Not to mention, the 3D detection mode can automatically detect the incoming 3D signal with respect to the side by side, top and bottom and the frame sequential.
The full definition 3D, Panasonic has drained good amount of energy in delivering the best in class of the 3D. It oozes out 3D content with excellent control on the motion and reduced crosstalk. The reasons can be attributed to the high speed drive, fast decay phosphor, high speed illumination. The glass also acts as a good medium to enrich the 3D performance. The screen size is also another factor which pays good dividend in watching the 3D. Any smaller screen size would derail the effect of watching the television through a window. The cross talk, though present at some occasions is negligible as the content itself is rich in producing an immersing effect rather than the distracting effect. Not to mention, the 3D games were handled at it its best with no complicated ghosting effects. The only concern is the input lag observed while watching the game mode. When compared to other Panasonic plasma models, which has an impressive 16ms input lag, this one delivers 30ms. Agreed the economic price range of the Panasonic TX-P50GT30B, but we would expect the input lag better so as to keep the gamers excited.
The 50Hz Issue
The issues pertaining to the 50Hz material made tremendous round-ups in the discussion forums, in the previous year. It was reported as seeing green, red, blue ghosting that encircles fast moving objects and rapid camera pans. The issue is not seen when viewed with the intelligent frame creation or with the blue ray disc content. Technically, the issue can be reported as image split-up on the leading corner of the on the move white circles, exclusive with the 50Hz content. The issue becomes obvious depending on the extent of the movement. The higher resolution and the lowered compression in PAL DVD’s make the issue prominent. Though Panasonic has played a good game in the 3D arena, it had over sighted the 50Hz issue, as the P50GT30B also suffers from the same, but rather to a lesser extent.
It would be unfair to consider this as an emergency situation and an issue of concern, because most of the users would not even notice the slight differences, and definitely does not dilute the viewing experience. If at all, noted it can be controlled by keeping the IFC in the mid range, whilst the Max level can eliminate the issue altogether, it can take a heavy toll on the content itself making it appear in video quality. Finally to summarise, the 50Hz issue is largely user dependent and for some the ghosting tendency would be undesirable, but many would not even pay any heed to it. Overall, this is the area wherein Panasonic ought to pay attention and get it ironed rightly in the next release, and besides this the overall performance is fantastic.
The fluctuating brightness issue as seen in the ST, GT and the VT sets is seen in this too. The reason can be attributed to the content taken with hand held camera and hence once again the source is the culprit. The firmware 1213 pre-installed in the Panasonic 50GT30B takes care of the brightness fluctuation of the incoming content.
Amidst the claims made by Panasonic as the energy efficient and THX certified television, 50GT30B stays closer to delivering good performance. Neo Plasma technology has shredded the myth of high consumption plasma technology by creating energy efficient system. In continuation with the same, the neo plasma has taken care of the image quality of the 2D and the 3D content respectively. Despite the claims made by Panasonic with respect to the 50Hz material, it still can be improved. The easy to use navigation and the addition of Remote Apps so as to upgrade the Apple mobile phone as remote control is a good thought and can see the potential of extending in other phones also. To summarise, it is a good television with the right features and also renders good viewing experience.
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Panasonic TX-P50GT30B 50″ 3D TV – Technical Specification Table
|Model Name||Panasonic TX-P50GT30B|
|Display size||50 inch|
|Display Type||G14 Progressive Full-HD NeoPlasma|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||1,177 x 718 x 58 mm|
|Contrast Technology||Infinite Black pro|
|Picture Mode||THX, Dynamic, Game, Normal, Cinema, Photo, Pro 1 &2|
|3D eye wear||Not included|
|3D Colour management||Available|
|USB HDD/SD card recording||Available|
|21 pin Input/ Output||Available|
|Speakers||2 speakers ( each 2*10W)|
Saturday, December 17th, 2011