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Panasonic Viera TC-P50GT50

*Est. $1,450 to $2,550
Reviewed
October 2012
by ConsumerSearch
Panasonic Viera TC-P50GT50

Pros
  • Excellent picture quality
  • Stands up well to room lighting
  • Strong features
Cons
  • Some more costly sets produce deeper blacks
  • 3D prone to ghosting
  • No real advantages over less pricey Panasonic ST50

Bottom Line

In most ways, the Panasonic GT50 is an excellent plasma TV. Its only shortfall may be its value: It adds a THX mode to the step-down Viera ST50, but experts can see no real difference in performance, leaving little reason to choose the GT50 over its less expensive brand mate.

The GT50 is available in four screen sizes: the 50-inch TC-P50GT50 (*Est. $1,450), 55-inch TC-P55GT50 (*Est. $1,300), 60-inch TC-P60GT50 (*Est. $1,900) and 65-inch TC-P65GT50 (*Est. $2,550). All should perform similarly.

Performance

In a vacuum, it's a great TV. Expert after expert has nothing but complimentary things to say about the Panasonic GT50. Image quality is great -- just a small, nearly unnoticeable step behind the Viera VT50 -- with wonderful blacks and accurate colors. However, the same things are said about the less expensive Viera ST50 series. The GT50's only notable step-up features are a more powerful dual-core processor and a THX mode, plus a few hundred dollars more on the price tag.

The THX mode is a selling point for some, but CNET sees "no meaningful difference between the GT50 and the ST50's picture after both are properly calibrated." Since the THX mode is supposed to deliver a superior picture out of the box, David Katzmaier also examines both sets in their uncalibrated states and in THX and Cinema, respectively. After finding some positives and negatives, he concludes, "THX on the GT50 isn't that much better than Cinema on the ST50 -- certainly not worth the price difference alone." Katzmaier uncovers no real improvements in image processing with the GT50's more powerful processor, either.

Other aspects of image performance are the same as with the ST50. See our reviews of sets in that series, including the 55-inch Panasonic Viera TC-P55ST50 (*Est. $1,300).

Features

Strong features work fast. One area where the GT50's upgrades -- namely its dual-core processor -- are obvious is how quickly the Internet features work. Many reviewers complain about slow loading of the interface and apps with the Panasonic Viera ST50, but not with the GT50 model. Although CNET sees no real performance enhancement within the streaming apps themselves, navigation is zippier and apps launch more quickly than on the ST50.

Otherwise, things are about the same: The TV has a good Internet suite with an interface that's fairly easy to use. 3D is less prone to ghosting on some sets, but is decent on the GT50 with the right settings, and some reviewers rate it as excellent. FlatpanelsHD.com says that except in scenes where it selects to specifically stress ghosting performance, the artifact is seldom seen.

Design

A good looker. Where the GT50 rises above the Viera ST50 is in the design department. It's not quite as snazzy as the even pricier Viera VT50, but it has enough high-end elements that PlasmaTVBuyingGuide.com calls it "Panasonic's most attractive TV ever." CNET gives the edge to the VT50 instead, but says the race is close. The GT50's bezel is very thin for a plasma TV, and is set off by a thin edge of silver for a touch of class. The well-liked remote is the same as on the ST50. Connectivity is fine, and includes four HDMI inputs compared to the ST50's three. Again, the GT50 has a slot for an SD memory card for playing back your own movies, music and photos; few manufacturers currently offer this feature.

Value

Lots of bucks for not much more bang. Without a doubt, the Panasonic GT50 is one impressive plasma TV. The problem is, so is the Viera ST50. Were the difference in cost more nominal, the GT50 would be an even better choice. Depending on screen size, however, the GT50 can be a few hundred dollars more. Is that worth its slightly faster Internet app loading and navigation and slightly nicer design, but no real difference in picture quality despite its THX certified status? If it is for you, give the GT50 a serious look -- you won't be disappointed.

Where To Buy
Z&T Remote Control Fit For Panasonic TC-P54GT25 TC-P50G20 Plasma Viera LCD LED HDTV TV

 
Buy new: $25.00 $17.89   1 New from $17.89

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Our Sources

1. CNET

Review credibility: Excellent
In terms of the Panasonic GT50's performance, CNET finds little to complain about. However, Katzmaier's enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that you can find other sets that perform just as well but cost less.

Review: Panasonic TC-P55GT50 Review, David Katzmaier, June 21, 2012

2. FlatpanelsHD.com

Review credibility: Excellent
Although this review probably most appeals to those who demand lots of technical details, the conclusion is clear: For those who like plasma TVs, the GT50 is a good choice. Larsen calls it one of the best Panasonic plasma sets yet produced, and it earns a Highly Recommended award.

Review: Panasonic GT50 Review, Rasmus Larsen, May 22, 2012

3. G4tv.com

Review credibility: Excellent
ConsumerReports.org tests the 60-inch Panasonic TC-P60GT50, but discussion is shorter than what we see from many other reviewers. Ratings are assigned and sets are ranked, and the site evaluates lots of TVs. Reports are available only to subscribers.

Review: Panasonic Viera TC-P60GT50, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated

4. PlasmaTV Buying Guide.com

Review credibility: Very Good
Reviews here are testing-based, but seem a little disjointed compared to the efforts we see from other sources. Nevertheless, editors conclude that the 50-inch Panasonic TC-P50GT50 is a top choice among this year's plasma TVs.

Review: Panasonic TC-P50GT50 Review, Jack Burden, Robert Wiley, Not dated

5. Amazon.com

Review credibility: Very Good
Various screen sizes of the Panasonic GT50 fare well at Amazon.com; all reviews are lumped together and can be accessed from this page. More than 90 owners weigh in, and the set gets a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.

Review: Panasonic Viera TC-P50GT50 50-Inch 1080p 600Hz Full HD 3D Plasma TV, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2012

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