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Panasonic Viera TC-P60UT50

*Est. $1,300
Reviewed
October 2012
by ConsumerSearch
Panasonic Viera TC-P60UT50

Pros
  • Excellent picture quality
  • Good features
Cons
  • Not the best choice for well-lit rooms
  • 3D subject to ghosting
  • Limited connectivity

Bottom Line

In a dark room, the Panasonic UT50 offers a picture every bit as good as the step-up Viera ST50. However, things look a lot worse when the lights come up bright. The UT50 is available in several screen sizes, including the 50-inch TC-P50UT50 (*Est. $1,100 to $2,300), 55-inch TC-P55UT50 (*Est. $850 to $1,300) and 60-inch TC-P60UT50 (*Est. $1,300).

Breaking It Down

Performance

Terrific picture quality, but not in well-lit spaces. Critics say the UT50's picture is on par with the step-up Panasonic ST50 series like the Viera TC-P50ST50 (*Est. $1,100 to $2,300), so why is it so much less expensive? For one thing, it's missing the latter's excellent Infinite Black screen. The result is black levels that lose their quality in well-lit spaces where the ST50 still looks good -- better than just about any plasma or LED TV with a non-matte screen -- and glare from lamps and other light sources is much more pronounced. That's the bad news.

The good news is that the UT50's picture stands up well in dim viewing areas. Black levels outperform those of last year's flagship sets from other makers, CNET says, and are very close to this year's top-of-the-line offerings.

CNET does find a few test-bench foibles when it comes to colors, saying they're less saturated than those of the ST50 but still look very good when watching most program material. PlasmaTVBuyingGuide.com says even nicer things about color performance, but advises that owners do a little tweaking to fully unleash the set's color "horsepower" by digging down into a Pro Settings submenu; the site offers suggested settings for best picture quality. Power consumption will be higher than an LED TV, and only the 50-inch model is Energy Star qualified.

On the audio front, the 8-Train speaker setup in the ST50 is replaced by traditional speakers in the UT50. Sound quality is "disappointing," reports PlasmaTVBuyingGuide.com.

Features

Fully equipped, but some corners cut. The UT50's Internet features are the same as on the Viera ST50, meaning a good selection of providers but a sluggish interface. CNET adds that the interface isn't as slick as some competitors, but is easier to use. Built-in Wi-Fi is a big omission. That's not a problem if you have a wired Ethernet network connection nearby, but otherwise you'll need to spend an extra $50 for the optional Wi-Fi adapter.

3D performance comes in for some knocks, mainly from a tendency to show crosstalk-generated ghosts; that is, one eye sees information intended for the other. No 3D glasses come in the box and Panasonic charges about $50 per pair, but since the set complies with a universal standard for 3D, you can opt for less expensive specs from other makers starting at about $20 each.

Design

Staid, with a dash of flash. The Panasonic UT50 offers a bit of panache over the basic piano-black bezel by trimming it with a clear plastic edge. The remote is small, but usable. Connectivity is limited to two HDMI inputs and a shared component/composite video port. However, Panasonic is one of the very few TV makers to offer an SD memory card port.

Value

It's a great buy for certain situations. Fighting glare from lights is something plasma TV owners have come to expect. If your viewing setup is one where lighting levels and lamp placement play well with plasma technology, the Panasonic UT50 is a tempting bargain because its performance is excellent in such a setting. For others, the ST50 is likely a better choice. If features aren't important to you, the more basic Panasonic Viera U50 lacks 3D or streaming, but delivers the same excellent picture quality for a substantially lower price.

Where To Buy
Universal Remote Replacement Control Fit For Panasonic TC-P55UT50 TC-P60UX50 Plasma Viera LCD LED HDTV TV

 
Buy new: $29.99 $16.97   1 New from $16.97

In Stock.

 

Our Sources

1. CNET

Review credibility: Excellent
This review of the Panasonic UT50 is testing-based and very detailed. CNET calls the picture quality "astounding" considering the set's selling price. Its feature lineup is solid, as well.

Review: Panasonic TC-P50UT50 Review, Ty Pendlebury, May 3, 2012

2. PlasmaTV Buying Guide.com

Review credibility: Very Good
Also based on testing, this review lacks the polish and depth of information of the one provided by CNET. Picture performance of the 50-inch Panasonic TC-P50UT50 is called "not far off" compared to high-end models and features are "stout," but value draws the highest ratings. The 55-inch screen size in this series is also evaluated here.

Review: Panasonic TC-P50UT50 Review, Jack Burden, Not dated

3. Amazon.com

Review credibility: Very Good
More than 50 owners of various screen sizes of the Panasonic UT50 post feedback here; reviews for all are grouped together and can be accessed from this page. The TV draws mostly positive comments and an overall rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.

Review: Panasonic Viera TC-P50UT50 50-Inch 1080p 120Hz Full HD 3D Plasma TV, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2012

4. BestBuy.com

Review credibility: Very Good
User satisfaction is roughly equal to that at Amazon.com, with the UT50 getting a score of 4.1 stars out of 5 after more than 75 reviews. Some comments seem to reflect frustrations with other models.

Review: Panasonic - Viera - 50" Class - Plasma - 1080p - 600Hz - Smart - 3D - HDTV, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of October 2012

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