With prices starting at around £2,500, the Panasonic Viera TX-P55VT30B is probably not a 3D TV for the faint of heart – or the light of wallet. However, with Panasonic’s TVs consistently in end-of-year charts and awards, they are always worth a look, whatever the price.
We grabbed hold of the Panasonic Viera TX-P55VT30B to do just that, so first of all, let’s take a brief look at those all-important specs…..
TV Type Plasma
Screen size 55
Set Size 1329x810x55mm
Weight 38.5 kg
HD 720p, 1080i, 1080p
3D Glasses 2 supplied
Tuners Freeview HD, freesat HD
Connectivity Coaxial audio, Component video, Composite video, Ethernet, HDMI, Scart, USB
Out of the Box
Panasonic haven’t always produced the most aesthetically-pleasing TV sets over the years, but their latest ranges have seen a marked improvement, as is the case with the Viera TX-P55VT30B.
The design of the VT30B models is clean, streamlined and highly contemporary, with a focus on simplicity being the order of the day – which in our opinion is essential for any TV over 50 inches – highlighted by its edge-to-edge glass bezel.
Flip around the back of the TX-P55VT30B and you will find a huge array of ports and connections, including the usual provision of component and composite video, outputs for digital and analogue outputs and the generous inclusion of four HDMI slots and three USB ports.
Both Freeview and Freesat tuners are installed in the Viera TX-P55VT30B – both come in their HD incarnations – and you can also expect built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet to hook up to your home network.
Panasonic’s Viera Connect Internet TV service offers a huge array of different services, including access to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, applications for YouTube and the BBC’s iPlayer, as well as the addition of a Skype application – although you’ll need to fork out extra for a Panasonic webcam.
Playing different file formats is a growing requirement for TVs and Panasonic have offered a good range of support, with (hold your breath) AVCHD, SD-VIDEO, Motion JPEG, MP4, DivXPlusHD, WMV, JPEG, MPO, MP3, AAC, WMA playback all accounted for.
You would expect some excellent picture quality for 2.5 grands-worth of 3D TV, so you’ll be pleased to hear that Panasonic deliver the goods with the Viera TX-P55VT30B – for HD and 3D content, at least.
But first, let’s look at the Achilles heel – the standard definition picture. There’s nothing altogether bad about it – and it’s certainly better than you would get from a standard def set, but we were expecting much, much more for the price.
However, as we mentioned, it’s a different story for the HD picture; it’s stunning. Whether you are watching the available Freeview HD channels or piping through a film from your Blu-ray player, there’s a real vibrancy and smoothness to the colour and motion.
3D fares equally well. Slip on one of the two pairs of active shutter glasses that you get with the set and you’ll be transported into an impressive 3D world, brimming with excellent contrasts and detail. It might not be as bright as a normal HD picture, but it’s up there with the best we have seen within this price point.
We were quietly contented with the sound quality, too – often an issue on many modern day TVs. There is a definite fullness across all the ranges on the Viera TX-P55VT30B that offers a fair amount of clarity and boom, without the need for forking out on an expensive home cinema setup.
An excellent 3D-capable TV, the Panasonic Viera TX-P55VT30B is full of lovely features and in terms of performance, delivers in spades. The main gripe is the rather average SD pictures – and it’s not much of a gripe. It’s an expensive set, of that there is no denying, but it’s one of the best we have seen so far this year. Recommended – if you can afford it….