Panasonic Viera VT30 review: Panasonic Viera VT30

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Typical Price: £2,500.00
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5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars 2 user reviews

The Good Excellent contrast performance; deep black levels; delicate and nuanced colours; impressive 3D; good Internet features.

The Bad Pricey; annoying Freeview EPG.

The Bottom Line The 55-inch Panasonic Viera TX-P55VT30B plasma TV doesn't come cheap, but it packs great 2D and 3D pictures, beefy audio, and smashing Internet features into an attractive chassis. It's one of the best TVs you can currently buy.

9.3 Overall
CNET Editors' Choice Aug '11

Last year, Panasonic won many awards for the TVs in its VT20 range , including our coveted Editors' Choice award, on account of the tellies' stunning 2D and 3D picture quality.

This year's updated VT30 line promises to be even better. The 55-inch, 1080p resolution, 3D-capable Viera TX-P55VT30B plasma TV is the second largest in the range. But, at around £2,500, is it worth such a large dollop of your hard-earned cash?

Design

Like most of the other TVs in Panasonic's current line-up, this set sports a much more appealing design than the company's previous tellies. It has a classy, single-sheet-of-glass design, with the entire display framed by a thin strip of metal. It's a pretty minimalist look, but the simplicity of the design is its strength.

Panasonic Viera TX-P55VT30B design
We like the single sheet of glass design, framed by a metal strip.

The remote has also been tweaked, with a new, simpler button layout and the addition of a red backlight, which is handy if you're watching a movie with the lights turned down.

The TX-P55VT30B has both Freeview HD and freesat HD tuners, so you can use it to access the largest range of free high-definition channels available.

As with all of Panasonic's TVs, though, when you use the Freeview tuner, you're saddled with the annoying Guide Plus+ electronic programme guide, which shows Web-style adverts on the main screen. This compromises the amount of space available for actually showing upcoming programme information. If you choose to use the freesat HD tuner instead, you just get the standard freesat HD electronic programme guide (EPG), which is easier to use.

Ports

There are plenty of connectivity options, including four HDMI sockets and the usual Scart and component ports. Panasonic has also added three USB ports, as well as an Ethernet jack. When you're using the bundled Wi-Fi USB adaptor, you'll still have two spare ports for connecting up other devices, like hard drives or the optional peripherals that can be used with the set's Viera Connect online software.

Panasonic Viera TX-P55VT30B Viera Connect
The Viera Connect Internet platform gives you access to services such as BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Dailymotion.

If you connect a hard drive or memory stick to one of the TV's USB ports, you can use it to record shows to disc from either of the tuners. As with other TVs, you can't record one show while watching another, but it's still a useful feature if you don't have a PVR, such as Sky+HD or Virgin Media TiVo .

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