In our opinion, Panasonic released the best TV in 2010, the G10, but unfortunately its victory was soured by controversy over user complaints of a sudden . To us as owners of the G series, we believe the Australian models were affected as there was a measurable change, but the issue was pretty much a storm in a teacup. Despite the slight lack of contrast, the TV remains impressive to this day.
Just as the G series managed to out-trump the more expensivelast year, it seems history is repeating itself with Panasonic’s latest TV.
Panasonic televisions tend to tread on the polite side of design, and so to see something emerge from the newest carton that’s not piano black is a welcome change. The V20 features a silver-coloured plastic bezel whose colouring extends to the swivel stand. It’s a little thinner than last year’s G series, which may be important to you if you’re looking to mount it on a wall.
The remote control is a familiar one: chunky, friendly and, though vaguely quirky, it is easy to use.
Connectivity has been a focus of Panasonic’s set-top boxes for a number of years and with the 2010 range the feature has spread to a significant number of TVs s well. The V20 sports all of the features a modern, "smart" TV should have. These include wired and wireless internet connectivity with DLNA and , Twitter access, Skype calls (with the addition of a AU$150 camera) and a USB recorder.
The TV boasts a screen with a "glassless" front with a louvre structure, which not only eliminates reflections off-axis but gives the set a dynamic contrast of 5,000,000:1. While this impressive number is a relative indication of black levels one should take it with a grain of salt. Further picture enhancements include a 600Hz sub-field drive and a 1080-line moving picture resolution, which mean movement should be crisp and without ghosting artefacts.
Connectivity is helped along with four HDMI ports, two USB slots, two components, four AV inputs and a VGA connector.
The V series available in Australia is based on the G series, which is sold in the US and elsewhere. Why no V series here? We haven’t been able to get a definitive answer from Panasonic, but we would hazard that the 2010 range has been designed to appeal to the bargain hunter with models such as the X20 and S20 making for the bulk of offerings.
As we’ve already alluded to, the V series is a serious performer, and was able to outdo itsin all but the "most important" test: black levels. The VT20 was a little better here, but only just.