Panasonic Viera TC-PVT25With both 2D and 3D sources, Panasonic's flagship TC-PVT20/25 series plasma TV delivers outstanding overall picture quality.
-Hi, I'm David Katzmaier from CNET.com, and this is the Panasonic TC-PVT20/25 series. This is our holiday pick as the top overall TV for 2010. This is Panasonic's flagship TV for the year and it's also a 3D television. We'll get to all of that in a little bit. But first, it's worth taking a look at the styling of this set. Panasonic went very conservative around the edge of the TV. You'll find a standard glossy black, although it's actually a little bit bronze colored, and it has swivel stand here, and some chrome accents. But otherwise, it's not really more remarkable than a lot of the other TVs out there. Turn it to this side you can see it's definitely not an LED TV. This is a plasma. It's about 3-1/2 inches thick, but of course, still plenty thin for most people. It's definitely a flat panel. As we mentioned, one of the principal capabilities of this set is 3D. It comes with one pair of 3D glasses. The additional pair is around $100 to $150 a piece, and of course, you need for each family member. But, once your family is equipped with those glasses and you put in some 3D content, this TV does a pretty darn good job at displaying and the 3D is very impressive-looking. It also has fewer artifacts than a lot of the other 3D TVs on the market, and of course, its excellent performance with 2D also translates pretty well over into 3D. On the downside, the Panasonic lacks the 2D to 3D conversion found on a lot of the other 3D TVs on the market, but I really don't that that's big of a deal. If you wanna turn your 2D into 3D, we found some issues doing that with some processing out there. So, we don't really miss it. Aside for 3D, other features on this TV include the internet capability offered by VIERA Cast. You can use that service to access Netflix videos as well as Amazon Video on Demand, Twitter, even Skype if you buy an optional speaker phone attachment. It doesn't have quite as many content options or quite as much customization as a lot of the other competitors, but it's still pretty good for our basic streaming services. Panasonic also threw in a good selection of picture controls although, again, there's not as many options as is found an LG or a Samsung, all those competitors, but it does offer the capability to play around with things like gamma can color temperature. We also appreciated the THX mode on this TV. It was excellent. Again, you can kinda just put it in THX mode and forget it for a lot of your critical viewing for movies and such. Speaking of critical viewing, we really did think this was the best overall performing TV this year. Its real strength is black level performance. Now, Panasonic, in the past, has had some issues with the black level actually getting a little bit lighter over the lifespan of the TV. We tested this one over the course of 2010 and it does actually get lighter, but not to nearly the same extent as the others. And again, when it levels off, it's still really the best on the market in terms of achieving those nice, deep black. So, we really don't think the black level fade is anything to worry about on this TV. THX mode does offer excellent color accuracy. You get great skin tones and excellent primary and secondary colors. The TV also has very good video processing. It handles 1080p/24 correctly, although we did see some slight artifacts in that mode. So, purists might wanna keep it at the 1080p/60 mode. You do have that choice. As we mentioned, 3D performance is another strength on this TV. Its crosstalk was among the best we've seen, which means that it doesn't have very many ghostly outlines that are seen on some of the other competitors around 3D objects. Also, that black level and color accuracy translates very nicely into 3D, although it's not quite as accurate as some of the Samsung models we saw. Connectivity on the Panasonic is very good. You got 4 total HDMI inputs, 3 on the back and 1 on the side; 2 component video inputs; a PC input; 2 USB ports; and even an SD card slot in addition to this LAN port for the wired Ethernet connection. Overall, the Panasonic TC-PVT20/25 series, while pretty darn expensive, is the best overall performer we tested in 2010, and that's why it's our pick as the best TV for holiday shopping this year.