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Panasonic TX-P50VT65 review

Spectacular movie-friendly picture quality joins with a brilliant smart TV interface

Our Verdict

Despite the arrival of some intense competition this year, Panasonic has risen to the challenge with this new high-end plasma TV

For

  • Sensational black levels
  • Brilliantly simple smart interface
  • Extreme setup flexibility
  • Excellent sound quality

Against

  • Pictures lack brightness
  • Limited online video services
  • Only three HDMIs
  • Pointless touch pen feature

Usability

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For the most part this section of the review is a real strength of the Panasonic TX-P50VT65. The main reason for this is Panasonic's My Home Screen interface, which delivers the most straightforward way for you - and, crucially, all your family members - to access all the myriad content sources the TV supports.

The system kicks off with three home screens already set up - one called TV, one called Lifestyle and one called Info. These prioritise different features and links for easier access, and switching between all three of them is a doddle.

But what's really cool about My Home Screen is that everyone in your household can build their own personalised home screen sporting links to only the content they specifically want to have direct links to.

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Every part of the home screen system, including the process of building your own home screen, is well explained and easy to follow, and really does revolutionise TV interfaces.

Also brilliantly simple and helpful to use is Panasonic's latest control app for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. This brings a strong feature set together in one easy to follow app, and its simple 'swipe and share' approach to sharing multimedia and video between the TV and your smart device is inspired.

The only bum notes in the Panasonic TX-P50VT65's mostly excellent operating system are its rather drab calibration menus, and the touchpad remote control. The touchpad is too small and too circular (compared to the screen's rectangular shape) to be really effective, and its level of responsiveness doesn't feel very natural either.

Sound quality

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First, the bad news: the Panasonic TX-P50VT65 has to use cooling fans to stop itself from overheating, and these fans produce just enough noise to be audible during very quiet sequences - especially if you're sat close to the screen. However, the tone of the noise is very stable and it really isn't that loud.

Furthermore, for the vast majority of the time you won't even notice the gentle whir of the fans, on account of the Panasonic TX-P50VT65's startlingly powerful speaker system. The key trick of this system is that it uses front-firing speakers built into its screen frame in conjunction with a separate subwoofer, rather than the usual down-firing, rear-mounted speakers.

The Panasonic TX-P50VT65 is thus able to produce levels of volume, clarity, dynamic range and relatively harshness-free treble detailing that you seldom hear in the flatscreen TV world.

Value

Panasonic TX-P50VT65 review

The Panasonic TX-P50VT65's full £1,800 (around US$2,711/AU$2,810) price tag certainly doesn't make it cheap by today's standards. But then it's not really fair to compare the Panasonic TX-P50VT65 with the vast majority of rival 46-50-inch TVs for the simple reason that, well, it's better than them.

If you value picture quality enough to put your money where your mouth is, then the Panasonic TX-P50VT65 is so good it's arguably something of a bargain. And Panasonic chucks in two pairs of active shutter 3D glasses for free.

Tech Specs

Product TypePlasma TV
Scan Format1080p
Digital TunerDVB-S2, DVB-T (MPEG4)
Analog TunerPAL
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports3
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyViera
3D Type3D
EU Energy LabelC
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size139.7 cm (55")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Memory Card ReaderYes
BluetoothYes
EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)38.50 kg
Operating Power Consumption460 W
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand855 mm
Width with Stand1318 mm
Depth with Stand296 mm
Number of Common Interface1
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Teletext Memory1500
Network (RJ-45)Yes
3D TechnologyShutter
3D ConversionYes
USB RecordingYes
Energy Consumption per Year330 kWh
3D Glasses RequiredYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height767 mm
Width1318 mm
Depth51 mm
ColourSilver
Sound SystemSurround Sound, Dolby Digital Plus
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesWeb Browser, Media Player, Hotel Mode, Picture in Picture, Picture and Picture (PAP), Picture and Text (PAT), PC Streaming, Web Content Access, Teletext, Ambient Lighting
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelTX-P55VT65B
Product NameTX-P55VT65B 55" Smart Viera Plasma TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTX-P55VT65B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information55" Smart VIERA Plasma TV - Supreme picture quality with full network connectivity

A combination of original phosphors and drive technologies enable high motion-image performance. Sub-field drive control with a short light emission of 1/3,000th of a second produces crisp, clear moving pictures with minimal afterimages. Great for dynamic sports scenes and breathtaking fast-action shots.

SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)31.50 kg