Panasonic's flagship VT50 better and blacker than ever?

Panasonic's VT50 promises upgraded design and performance from last year and now includes a browser and touch-sensitive remote.

Panasonic

Last year, it was neck-and-neck between Panasonic's VT30 and Samsung's D8000/7000 as to the best television of the year...at least until those upstarts from Sharp spoiled plasma's party.

Currently the VT30 still stands as the best TV Panasonic has ever produced, and even if there's only a tiny improvement, the new TC-PVT50 series looks ready to take on that title.

The flagship VT50 will come in two screen sizes, the 55-inch TC-P55VT50, and the 65-inch TC-P65VT50 and features all of Panasonic's current know-how with an Infinite Black Ultra Panel and new louver filter. The VT30 offered the second-best plasma pictures in a lit room, after the Samsung, so the VT50 has some room for improvement.

As a flagship the VT50 also includes features such as 3D with 2D conversion, cloud-based apps, a new browser and a Touch Pad Remote Controller, and a sidebar IPTV function that allows users to access social network sites while simultaneously watching TV. Twitter tickers are a fun feature, but we think any serious social media devotee would rather use a computer or mobile device instead of their TV.

The VT30 was undoubtedly the company's best looking TV in a long time--possibly ever--and the VT50 looks similar with a silver bezel and a "one-sheet-of-glass" look. Forget piano-black, "giant iPod touch" is the new fashion king.

Connectivity includes onboard wi-fi so no more Ethernet cables draped across the living room floor, four HDMI connections, and a still-quite-rare three USB ports.

For an in-depth look at the rest of the features contained in the VT50, check out our preview of the ST30 . If you want to get a TV that promises to be almost as good without the cost, try the GT50 .

Will the VT50 take out the best TV of 2012? It's not that simple, as OLED could pose a serious threat this year with LG poised to take the mantle from its competitors.

Panasonic TC-PVT50 series features:

  • Plasma TV
  • 3D compatible
  • 2D-to-3D conversion
  • Infinite Black Pro Panel
  • Faster-switching phosphor panel
  • Cloud-based Viera Connect Internet suite
  • Web browser
  • Built-in Wi-Fi

Panasonic TC-PVT50 series models:

  • TC-P55VT50, 55-inch, pricing and availability TBD
  • TC-P65VT50, 65-inch, pricing and availability TBD
 

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