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Panasonic TC-PGT25 series (photos)

Although it does deliver excellent 2D picture quality, the 3D-compatible Panasonic TC-PGT25 series can't match the overall performance of the competition's best plasmas.

CNET Reviews staff
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Overview

Panasonic's first 3D TV, the TC-PVT25 series, earned our Editors' Choice award for its 2D picture quality, and in our opinion is currently the best overall TV you can buy. It's expensive, however, so the company decided to release a slightly cheaper 3D-compatible TV later in 2010, the two-size TC-PGT25 series reviewed here. It can't quite match the picture delivered by its big brother in 2D mode, and in 3D it also has issues, but it's still an excellent performer. That said, it's still significantly more expensive than Panasonic's G20/25 models--which are basically the same, sans 3D. The GT25 occupies a place somewhere in the middle of the 3D plasma TV landscape, and while it may appeal to plasma fans looking for a cheaper alternative to the VT25 and/or 2D-to-3D conversion, Samsung's top plasmas are better overall.
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3D Glasses

The TC-PGT25 does not include the necessary 3D glasses (model TY-EW3D10; $150 per pair). Like all first-generation glasses, they will not work with other brands' 3D TVs.
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Side view

At 3.5 inches thick, the TC-PGT25 is a bit chunkier than Samsung or LG models.
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Corner detail

There's nothing exciting about the GT25's exterior appearance.
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Stand detail

The understated TC-PGT25 looks almost exactly like its non-3D brother, but instead of a grayish-blue horizontal accent strip in the midst of the lower frame, the GT25's strip is sort of bronze-colored. The swivel stand also has a ring of silver around the bottom of its base.
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Inputs

Three HDMI inputs total falls one short of most 2010 HDTVs we've tested, but it should still be plenty for most setups.
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Remote

We appreciate the remote's extensive backlighting and well-differentiated layout. Its only downside in our view is an inability to control other gear directly via infrared.
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VireaCast main page

Panasonic has finally joined the rest of the world and brought Netflix streaming to its VieraCast service.
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VieraCast settings menu

Our favorite menu extra is that the home page can be customized somewhat, allowing you to place the apps and streaming services you want on the first, second or third page in any of seven slots arranged around the central picture window.
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Skype option

Enabling Skype on the Panasonic requires the special speakerphone accessory (TY-CC10, $169). We didn't test it for this review.
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Shortcut menus

The GT25 provides a shortcut bar for quick access to major functions.
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2D to 3D conversion

The GT25 is the only Panasonic 3D TV to offer 2D-to-3D conversion (although we're not fans of the effect). As shown here, even the text from the menus is affected.
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3D menu

Unlike Samsung and Sony, which offer an array of tweaks to 3D, the GT25's sole nonessential adjustments are a provision for swapping the right and left eyes, and a simple On/Off diagonal line filter, described as something you "Select when diagonal lines appear jagged" and "Turn off when the picture looks noisy." Unfortunately it didn't work to curb some of the artifacts we saw in 3D.
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Picture modes

Panasonic includes a THX mode that, unlike the one on LG TVs, can be adjusted.
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Custom mode

The Pro Settings menu, available only in the Custom picture mode, offers further niceties like a fine color temperature menu (although it lacks an adjustment for green) and gamma choices.
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Picture quality

All told the TC-PGT25 series delivers mostly the same high level of 2D picture quality as the company's G20/25 series, but can't match the 3D image of the VT25 or Samsung's plasmas. We noted excellent initial black-level performance and solid color, as well as the usual uniformity benefits of plasma. The GT25's antireflective screen isn't as effective as some, however, and videophiles will not appreciate that black levels fluctuated somewhat.

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