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First Look: Panasonic TC-P55VT30

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First Look: Panasonic TC-P55VT30

2:56 /

Superb all-around picture quality, anchored by the deepest plasma black levels of the year, make the Panasonic TC-PVT30 series the best-performing TV we've tested in 2011.

Hi I'm David Katzmaier with CNET and I'm sitting next to the Panasonic TC-P55VT30. This TV is also available in a 65-inch series. This is Panasonic's highest-end television for 2011. So, [unk] the anticipation leading up a release of this television. It's the successor to the Editor's choice, our favorite TV from last year, the VT25, and in most ways this TV is a worthy successor. It's the best performing television we've tested so far this year. In terms of design, Panasonic went back to its one sheet of glass on this model. The single sheet covers both the frame and the screen itself for a sleek integrated look that we really do like. On the down side, it does have a thicker bezel than a lot of the other plasmas out there, namely the ones from Samsung. So, the TV itself is less compact for the screen size, but although, we do appreciate the thin depths as well. It's a lot thinner than last year's models. Feature wise, the VT30 comes with all the bells and whistle that includes one pair of 3D glasses-- these are infrared glasses, unlike the Bluetooth used by Samsung. It does have a new power switch. You can easily tell when the glasses are turn on and off. And in general, we thought they kept the sync very well despite being infrared. The internet connectivity on this TV is also fully loaded. Panasonic includes the Wi-Fi dongle. There's no built in Wi-Fi, but you can plug-in the dongle and get Wi-Fi connectivity without having to pay extra. The [unk] connects, we use the same as featured on [unk] in televisions. Panasonic includes the Netflix and Amazon video on demand, although it doesn't have YouTube or Hulu Plus yet. We do really like the layout of Panasonic service. All of the things are easy to reach and you can arrange the thumbnails as you like. There's also a Viera Connect [unk] in place that includes a few apps and a couple of 5 dollar games from Gameloft, as well as some merchandise like 3D glasses and USB, keyboards and [unk]. Of course, the price is on that marketplace were pretty high at the moment. Picture adjustments on the VT30 are extensive. There's a couple of THX modes, one for 3D and one for 2D. Those aren't very adjustable but custom mode is. It offers more settings than any TV we've tested so far. Unfortunately, despite all the settings and customs, we weren't able to achieve as accurate as the calibration as we hope, but THX itself is pretty [unk] to begin with. So, we didn't miss it too much. As mentioned on the top, the VT30 is the best picture quality than any TV we've tested this year. Its strength is excellent deep black levels which are better than any of the other Panasonic we've seen this year. And also, although a little bit brighter than previous year's Panasonic, we don't expect to see these black levels will to deteriorate although we'll keep testing them and let you know if they do. Color accuracy on the VT30 in THX mode is extremely good; although not quite as good as some of the best we've seen. This TV also has the ability to handle 1080p/24 sources correctly and it also has an improved anti-glare screen. 3D performance of the VT30 was also very good especially in THX mode which had accurate colors and very good shadow detail. [unk] on this TV was relatively in [unk] although we did see a little bit more than we've seen on some of the best models. That's a quick look at the Panasonic VT30 Series and I'm David Katzmaier.

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