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HolidayBuyer's Guide






Smart Viera

Picture settings

Picture quality

Panasonic offers LCD TVs to appeal to plasma-phobes, but if the TV is as expensive and poorly performing as the DT50, I've got to wonder if the effort is worth it. The DT50 is plagued by poor black levels and an uneven color response, which makes it difficult to watch in a dark room. Conversely its glossy screen means that in a well-lit room it's too reflective to enjoy completely.

On the upside the TV does come with a full complement of video apps, and the 3D performance is better than our current star, the Panasonic ST50. But this is where it stops. The ST50 is just so damned good I can't see why you'd pass it over to get this TV. The 55-inch DT50 is a full $1,000 more expensive (!) than the ST50 and yet performs worse than even a $500 TV like the TCL L40FHDF12TA. As a result, the Panasonic DT50 is a TV you can safely avoid.

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Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
As an edge-lit LED the Panasonic is afforded a slim profile, making it (slightly) more suitable for wall mounting.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The Panasonic comes with a standard remote with an Internet button for accessing Smart TV functions.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
A little dated, but still attractive, the DT50 offers a thinner bezel than ever before.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The Panasonic offers four HDMI ports and onboard wireless as standard.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Neflix, Amazon, and Skype are some of the highlights of the company's Smart TV offering.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The picture menu is minimal but easy to find.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The good: 3D is good for an LCD at this level, which isn't to say it has the razor-sharp edges of LG's passive system, but it is better than most LCDs for crosstalk. Processing is also good with rock-solid 24p support and an excellent ability to banish jaggies from 1080i content.

The bad: The TV suffers from exceptionally poor black levels, and poor uniformity means that whatever blacks are there are mottled as well. Of our lineup of five TVs, the DT50 had the worst overall picture -- worse even than the ultrabudget TCL L40FHDF12TA. Colors are drab, and any attempt to inject life into the pictures with the Color control makes everyone look like they're permanently blushing.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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