Panasonic TX-P50GT60 (GT60) Plasma TV Review

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Panasonic's GT60 brings a touch of class to a superb all-round performance

by Steve Withers Apr 5, 2013 at 12:00 AM

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    Panasonic TX-P50GT60 (GT60) Plasma TV Review
    SRP: £1,399.00

    What is the Panasonic TX-P50GT60?

    There's been a lot of talk recently about the future of plasma, with some commentators even prophesying the demise of this venerable display technology by next year. It’s certainly true that we're nearing the end of plasma’s product cycle, with a combination of economics, fashion and new technology helping to usher it from the stage. It's also true that Panasonic has stopped further research and development into plasma but rumours of the manufacturer’s departure from the market entirely might be premature. Whilst OLED is certainly waiting in the wings, it appears to have developed stage fright and as a result plasma might well have a while longer in the spotlight. That’s good news for those of us who want the best picture quality at an affordable price and whatever Panasonic’s future plans may be, they certainly have an impressive line-up of plasma televisions on offer in 2013.

    At the recent Panasonic European Convention, the new ZT65 series captured the limelight with its claims of “beyond reference” performance and pundits referring to this enthusiast model as a “KURO Killer”. However the entire Panasonic plasma line-up looked impressive, from the entry level ST60 to the VT65, whose flagship status has been usurped by the ZT65. Sandwiched between the ST60 and the VT65 is the GT60, a series that has been dropped entirely in the States but given a stay of execution here in Europe. Since the cheaper but almost identically specified GT series had a tendency to draw sales away from the VT series, we were surprised that Panasonic kept it but they clearly feel there is sufficient demand on this side of the pond. The GT60 certainly has an eye-catching list of features and at £1,099 for the 42” model and £1,399 for the 50” version, it has an equally tempting price. In their marketing literature Panasonic promise that the GT60 will be a high-class all-rounder, let’s find out.

    Styling and Design

    Panasonic has continued to use the 'metal and glass' design philosophy introduced last year, so the P50GT60 looks almost identical to the previous model. Design often comes down to personal taste but we really like the look of the P50GT60, with its simple black bezel, silver trim and brushed metal stand. It’s effortless in its elegance, like the televisual equivalent of Audrey Hepburn and, like Audrey, it’s a look that will never go out of style. The bezel itself has a gloss black finish and measures 2cm at the top and sides and 3cm at the bottom. Along the entire outside of the bezel is a silver trim that is 1cm wide and at the centre bottom of the bezel is the Panasonic logo, which thankfully doesn't illuminate. To the right of that there is the infra-red receiver for the remote and on the right hand edge there are some buttons for basic control.
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Styling and Design
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Styling and Design

    The 50" screen is made of glass but, thanks to the filter designed to reject ambient light, it wasn't especially reflective, even during the daytime. The front of the panel doesn’t just act as a filter, it also protects the screen when it’s being used in conjunction with the Touchpen. The chassis is 3.5cm deep, the back plate is made of black metal and the whole display has the well-engineered and solid finish that we have come to expect from Panasonic. Whilst there are numerous vents on the back of the panel for cooling, the P50GT60 doesn't use any fans so there is no fan noise during operation. There is a very slight buzz from the power supply but this can only be heard when you hold your head a few centimetres from the back of the panel, which is hardly the ideal position for watching TV. The P50GT60 weighs 26kg with its stand and there are the standard fixing points for wall mounting. The stand itself can be swivelled and is square in shape, with what Panasonic call a ‘hairline’ finish - that’s brushed metal to the rest of us.
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Styling and Design

    To accommodate the sleek proportions, the rear connections are downwards and sideways facing, which also makes wall mounting easier. At the risk of sounding like a cracked record (remember those), the side facing HDMI inputs are only 8cm from the edge which is too close. What’s the point in having a beautiful looking TV like the P50GT60, if the elegant lines are ruined by cables poking out the side? Along with the sideways facing HDMI inputs, of which there are only three this year, there are three USB ports, a headphone socket, a SD card slot, a Common Interface (CI) slot and an optical digital audio output. Facing downwards there are aerial and satellite inputs, an Ethernet port and the AV1 and AV2 inputs for legacy connections. The AV2 connection doubles up for component and composite video and the AV selection menu lets you manually select which type of signal is being sent, whilst the AV1 input is exclusively for SCART sources. Overall this is a reasonably comprehensive set of connections and our only other comment would be that the absence of a RS232 serial connector might cause problems for custom installers. It’s also probably worth noting that Panasonic has dropped D-SUB VGA connections for PC’s, so it’s DVI/HDMI only from here on in. The P50GT60 comes with a 1.5m long three-pin power cable that attaches to a rearward facing socket using a right angled connector to aid in wall mounting.
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B

    The P50GT60 uses the same remote control as last year, it’s made of plastic, has a rather attractive gloss black finish and feels very comfortable in the hand. It is well made, sensibly laid out and easy to use, it even includes a backlight for use in the dark. All the main buttons are present and correct, including On/Off, Menu, 3D, Inputs, Home, Apps and Guide, along with basic controls for media playback. Overall we like the Panasonic remote control and our only complaint is that the glossy finish does rather show up greasy fingerprints. New for this year is the inclusion of an electronic Touchpen, which Panasonic have ported over from some of their professional panels. The Touchpen pairs with your TV via Bluetooth and then uses the light from each pixel to provide positioning data which, thanks to the fast response time of the panel, allows for free drawing on the screen. There is a protective layer on the screen that you touch the pen against, although Panasonic do stress that you don’t push too hard. You can use the Touchpen for drawing pictures, adding messages or playing games and whilst we had fun playing with it initially, the novelty wore off fairly quickly.

    We really can’t see any reason to include this feature, aside from the fact that Panasonic simply can, and whilst it might be useful in a school or office we can’t see it being used much in the home. The feature is clearly aimed at children but would you want your kids writing all over the screen of your lovely new P50GT60?
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B
    The P50GT60 ships with two pairs of Panasonic’s latest active shutter 3D glasses (TY-ER3D5MA), which appear to have had a slight makeover since last year. The new glasses share the same general design as the earlier ones and as such they are incredibly light and comfortable to wear. The lenses on the glasses are still neutral in tint but are now more rectangular in shape, whilst still being large enough to fit over regular glasses and provide a suitably wide field of view. There is a button at the top of the frames, above the bridge of the nose, where you turn on the glasses; they sync automatically and will switch off if they don't receive a sync signal for 5 minutes. They use the new RF standard so we never had any problems syncing to the P50GT60 and we never lost the connection once. They are not rechargeable but instead use a standard CR2025 battery, which will give approx 70 hours of use.

    Menus

    When you first turn on the P50GT60 you are greeted by Panasonic's new My Home Screen interface, although you can select to just open on the normal full TV screen if you prefer. My Home Screen comes with four default views, the previously mentioned Full Screen TV and three others - TV Home Screen, Lifestyle Screen and Info Screen – with a further option to create customised screens if you so desire. The Full Screen TV option obviously just displays a full video image where the other options provide a windowed video interface with a variety of apps and widgets surrounding it.

    The menu system itself is familiar from last year’s ranges with a two-tone blue and gold colour scheme and sharp, easy to read text in white. The Menus are split in to six submenus, Picture, Sound, Network, Timer, Setup and a new Help section which, amongst other things, includes an ‘eHELP’ interactive menu. This is similar to the iManuals we’ve seen offered by other manufacturers and provides excellent assistance to neophytes amongst you, although the user-friendly nature of most of the menus shouldn’t require much in the way of further explanation.
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Menus
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Menus

    The Picture Menu has been expanded extensively compared to last year's version and the P50GT60 now has a bewildering array of picture controls, most of which you need to turn off. We’re glad to see that Panasonic has finally managed to add numbers to the control sliders in all the modes, which makes life much easier. They have also included of a new Viewing Mode - Custom - to accompany the existing Dynamic, Normal, Cinema, THX and Professional (ISF) options. The Custom and Professional modes both offer the same calibration features but you can only adjust the Custom mode using the Smart Calibration feature in the remote app. Otherwise the first page includes the standard picture controls, plus the Colour Temperature setting which has a choice of Cool, Warm and Normal. In addition there are the Vivid Colour, Colour Remaster and Reversal Film Effect controls, which you can turn off.
    Moving on to the second page there are controls for the Ambient Sensor, Noise Reduction, MPEG Remaster, Resolution Remaster, Caption Smoother, Brilliance Enhancer and Intelligent Frame Creation - all of which should be turned off if image fidelity is important to you. Don’t forget that Intelligent Frame Creation becomes 24p Smooth Film when you’re watching 24p content and in some of the modes it defaults to maximum, so make sure that is off as well. Also on this page you can access the Advanced Settings, Option Settings, Screen Settings and 3D Settings submenus.
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Menus
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Menus

    The Advanced Settings sub-menu includes some new features, at least for Europe, and the most important is the Panel Luminance Settings which offers a choice of Low, Medium or High. One of our few complaints about last year’s model was its lack of brightness, so this new feature should help. There is also an Adaptive Gamma Control and a Black Expander feature, both of which we zeroed and the Colour Gamut, with the option to select Rec.709. Then we have all the conventional calibration controls in the form of a two- and ten-point White Balance, preset Gamma values with a 10 point adjustment feature and a Colour Management System for adjustment of the primary and secondary colours.
    The Option Settings sub-menu allows for selecting the Game Mode and the 1080p Pure Direct mode, as well as engaging the Film Cadence Mode. Here is also where you’ll find the setting for HDMI RGB Range, which, unless you’re hooking up a PC, will be best set at Normal range but it’s good to see that it’s assignable per input. Finally, should you so wish, the HDMI inputs can be set to be expecting Graphics or Photos with some automatic picture adjustments then applied, but unless this a professional requirement, we’d advise leaving at the default Auto setting.
    The next submenu is Screen Settings, where you can turn 16:9 Overscan off - although make sure you have also selected the 16:9 Aspect Ratio. If you have the aspect ratio set to Auto, Panasonic TVs will still scale the picture up even with 16:9 Overscan set to off. Other controls include H-Size, Zoom Adjustments, Screen Display, Side Panel, Pixel Orbiter and the Scrolling Bar.

    The last submenu is 3D Settings and here you can make adjustments to the 3D performance, although generally you shouldn’t need to make any changes when watching 3D content. However should you need to the options include 3D Detection, 3D Signal Message, 3D Refresh Rate, 2D to 3D Depth, 3D Adjustment, L/R Picture Swap, Edge Smoother and Safety Precautions.

    Features

    Along with many of Panasonic’s TVs this year, the P50GT60 proved to be something of a surprise in the audio department, delivering a reasonable performance with clear dialogue and a nicely expansive soundstage. Obviously the built-in audio of a TV will never be able to compare to an AV receiver or even a soundbar but the P50GT60 certainly did a good job of delivering a stereo soundstage. The VR-Audio Surround 2.1 processing combined with the 2 x 5W of speaker amplification and 1 x 10W of subwoofer amplification definitely paid dividends. The P50GT60 could be played reasonably loud without distorting and the overall audio had a well-balanced feel to it, meaning that even film soundtracks were handled quite well. The built-in audio also managed to reproduce music streamed over our home network effectively and whilst it wouldn't be our first choice, it certainly wasn't unpleasant. In these days of slim TVs it's always nice to discover a model that is capable of delivering a competent audio performance.

    The P50GT60 includes Panasonic’s Hexa-Processing Engine, which promises a better image performance and a faster Smart TV platform. This certainly proved to be the case and from the EPG, to the Apps to the My Home Screen, the P50GT60 delivered a smooth and responsive performance. This year Panasonic have given their Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) a slight make-over and introduced a window showing the channel you are currently on, along with a choice of the guide itself, a list of the channel and a search feature.
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Features
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Features

    To access Panasonic's Smart TV system, you can either go straight to the Apps screen where the full suite can be uncovered or opt to go via the more personalised My Home Screen interface. The Apps screen includes access to the Web Browser, Media Player, Media Server, Main Menu and EPG, as well as the installed apps. The P50GT60 came pre-loaded with plenty of apps including iPlayer, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Skype plus access to the likes of Netflix, SHOUTcast Radio and the BBC Sport app. If that’s not enough, you can visit the Viera Connect Market where a range of further games, VoD services and Social Networking apps can be downloaded.
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Features
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Features

    As well as the new content and interface, Panasonic has also launched their new VIERA Remote 2 app. This latest version of their remote app is available for both iOS and Android and includes a redesigned interface and some new features such as access to the apps page. There is also Swipe & Share 2.0 which allows for easier sharing of content between devices and we really liked the new remote app, finding it well designed and easy to use.

    The app also includes the Smart Calibration function which allows full access to the calibration controls without calling up the user interface. This is great news because on Panasonic TVs not only do the menus time out too quickly but their presence at the bottom of the screen can affect the measurements very slightly. We found the Smart Calibration feature only works in conjunction with the Custom Mode but it does work really well. However it’s best used with larger tablets because on smaller devices and especially smartphones, the interface can get a bit fiddly.

    The Media Player and Media Server also worked flawlessly, connecting easily with our home network and a number of devices and providing extensive file support. Overall we found the 2013 version of Panasonic's Smart TV System to be very effective, offering plenty of content in an easy to use and intuitive platform.

    Test Results

    Basic Setup

    The P50GT60 includes a THX Cinema mode which is designed to offer a level of accuracy that as closely matches the Industry Standards as possible from a factory preset. If you decide to use the THX Cinema mode, all you really need to do is make sure the aspect ratio is set to 16:9, set the brightness and contrast controls to best suit your viewing environment, turn the sharpness down to zero, make sure the Colour Temp. is set to warm and turn everything else off. As a general rule if a TV has a THX mode, we would always recommend using it unless you plan on getting a professional calibration. However the THX mode on the Panasonic plasmas turns off the Pixel Orbiter feature and some users have reported occasional image retention as a result. The measurements below were taken in the THX Cinema mode but we will discuss more detailed settings for the Custom or Professional modes in the Calibrated Results section.
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Test Results
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Test Results

    The greyscale performance is shown on the left above and whilst it was reasonable for an out-of-the-box setting, there were some minor errors visible. In particular there was too much green in the RGB Balance graph and also not enough red, resulting in some discolouration on a greyscale pattern. The gamma curve was tracking close to our target of 2.2 but there were some minor bumps at 50 and 70 IRE and a dip at 90 IRE. Overall though this was a reasonable performance and we should be able to easily improve it with the two- and ten-point White Balance controls. The colour gamut is shown on the CIE Chart on the right above and overall it was also very good, with all the colours close to their targets for Rec.709. There were some minor errors that needed adjusting, particularly for red, blue and magenta, but this should be simple enough using the Colour Management System (CMS).

    Calibrated Results

    For the calibrated measurements we used the Custom mode so that we could try out the Smart Calibration feature on the remote app but we could just as easily have used the Professional modes. It should be stressed that the Smart Calibration feature just provides an alternative method of accessing the picture controls, it isn’t a form of auto-calibration. The Professional modes can be used by an ISF trained professional to create calibrated Day and Night modes that can be locked so they can’t be altered accidentally. For these measurements we used the same basic setup recommended for the THX Cinema mode but we also set the gamma to 2.2 and selected the Rec.709 colour gamut. We then used the white balance and CMS to accurately set the greyscale and colour gamut.
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Test Results
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Test Results

    The first thing that you’ll notice on the CIE chart above is that white is now hitting its target of D65 exactly thanks to the reference greyscale. As a result of this, the accuracy of the secondary colours improved and it was just a case of fine tuning the overall colour performance. Since the CMS provides control of the luminance, saturation and hue of all three primary colours and all three secondary colours, this was relatively easy. We quickly had all the luminance measurements spot on and also adjusted the hue measurements until they were hitting their targets exactly. We were also able to get all the saturation levels precise, with the exception of red which was slightly under-saturated. This is fairly standard for a Panasonic plasma but the overall errors were less than one for all the colours, so once again this was a reference performance.
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Test Results
    Moving on the CIE tracking chart, we measured the primary and secondary colours at different saturation levels, rather than just the 100% level used in the previous CIE charts. The reason for these measurements are to check that the display is consistent at all saturation points because when watching normal content it won’t all be at 100% saturation but at a lower level. As you can see from the chart above, despite being slightly under-saturated in red at 100%, the P50GT50 was actually slightly over-saturated at lower levels, especially 50%, resulting in a slight warmth to some images. Blue was also slightly over-saturated, although this didn’t really manifest itself during actual content and all the other colours were tracking their targets quite closely.

    Contrast and Black Levels

    Since a certain manufacturer packed up shop and left the plasma market, Panasonic has been the undisputed kings when it comes to black levels. Each year their performance in this area has gradually improved and with their latest generation of panels it might well have reached its zenith. Panasonic has made further enhancements to their NeoPlasma Black 3000 panel and specifically to the cells in order to deliver deeper blacks than ever before. In fact the blacks on the P50GT60 were so low that we were reaching the limit of accuracy for even our Klein K-10s and measured them at 0.002cd/m2. That’s a seriously impressive number and you really have to wonder just how much further Panasonic, or anyone else, can really go. The P50GT60 was also able to maintain highly effective shadow detail just above black, so these impressive numbers weren't being achieved simply by crushing the blacks in the image. These incredible black levels were maintained even when measured on an ANSI checker board, as shown below, and as an aside the measurements also showed how consistent the P50GT60 was across its entire screen.
    Panasonic TX-P50GT60B Test Results
    However blacks aren’t everything of course and if we had one real complaint with last year’s GT50 it’s that it wasn’t particularly bright, especially in the Professional modes. Well that definitely isn’t a problem this year and the P50GT60 has brightness to spare thanks to the inclusion of the panel luminance feature that has been included on Panasonic’s US plasmas for some time. We found that the Mid setting worked best for us, easily delivering 120 cd/m2 of brightness whilst maintaining those wonderful deep blacks. However, even on the Low panel luminance setting the P50GT60 was capable of a decent level of brightness but we would avoid using the high setting as this completely skewed the gamma curve, crushing the blacks and blowing out the whites, thus robbing the image of any detail. The result is an absolutely spectacular dynamic range, with an on/off contrast ratio of 60,000:1. That’s not all the ANSI contrast ratio was also a whopping 27,741:1, which gave images such a sense of impact that it was impossible not to be impressed by them. There's no question that the combination of Infinite Black Pro and the High Contrast Filter were certainly delivering the goods, even during the day.
    Update: We originally ran the P50GT60 in for 30 hours before taking the measurements and as you can see on the ANSI chart above, there were variations in the levels of the black squares. Now that we have put over 100 hours on the P50GT60, in the interests of completeness, we ran the black level measurement again. After a longer period of run-in we found that the panel had settled into a consistent black level of 0.004 cd/m2, which remains one of the lowest measurements we have recorded.

    Video Processing

    The performance of the P50GT60 in the video processing tests was excellent and it certainly benefited from the new Hexa-Processing Engine. The detail and resolution tests were all reproduced correctly, with the P50GT60 scaling the images without any loss of detail or unwanted ringing. The Panasonic also scored very highly in the jaggies tests on both discs as well as performing very well on the diagonal interpolation test, with two of the three moving bars appearing smooth and only the bottom most extreme bar showing very slight jaggies. The P50GT60 had no problems correctly detecting both 3:2 (NTSC - USA/Japan) and 2:2 (PAL - European) film cadence, as long as the Film Cadence Mode is turned on. The P50GT60 also performed well when displaying film material mixed with scrolling video text and correctly displayed the words without blurring or shredding.When it came to 1080i material the P50GT60 correctly deinterlaced and displayed both the video and film resolution tests provided 16:9 Overscan was set to off in the Screen settings.

    The P50GT60 also showed very good scaling and filtering performance as well as extremely impressive resolution enhancement capabilities. When it came to 1080p24 content, the P50GT60 delivered incredibly smooth movement and even on the torturous moving wedge tests on the Spears and Munsil disc were reproduced with little sign of moire or flicker. This year Panasonic have upgraded the 1080p Pixel Direct mode to the new 1080p Pure Direct which is compatible with a YUV 4:4:4 1080p 30bit signal. There have been reports of the 1080p Pure Direct mode causing chroma aberrations but when sending a 4:4:4 signal to the P50GT60 using our pattern generator there was a slight improvement in colour reproduction, so we would still recommend turning it on when appropriate. The P50GT60 was comfortably capable of hitting reference white and, even more impressively, was able to show 1% black simultaneously. This resulted in a truly impressive dynamic range that delivered an excellent contrast ratio that was free of any clipping, which was evidenced by the six concentric squares in the white, red and green patterns on the Spears and Munsil test disc all being visible simultaneously, there was a touch of clipping with the blue but nothing likely perceivable with real world content.

    The P50GT60 includes the latest 3000Hz Focused Field Drive and overall the motion handling was quite superb. This was evidenced using the FPD Benchmark disc, where the full 1080 lines of resolution were clearly visible on the moving tests. The P50GT60 comes with Intelligent Frame Creation, which is a frame interpolation feature that offers a choice of Off/Min/Mid/Max. The Min setting had little to no affect in testing, with the motion just appearing slightly clearer on the FPD Benchmark disc with no obvious artefacts being introduced. With the Mid and Max settings the impact was much more pronounced and whilst you could use IFC in conjunction with fast paced and video based sporting material, it should never be used with film based content. For exactly the same reasons you need to ensure that the 24p Smooth Film function is also turned off when watching 24p material. The reality is that with Blu-ray content encoded at 24p, the P50GT60 didn't need any additional processing and the results looked spectacular.

    Gaming Performance


    We measured the input lag of the P50GT60 at 42ms when in Game mode, which is comparable with measurements we have made on other TVs this year and, encouragingly, lower than last year’s numbers. It seems the extra processing grunt is being put to some good use but there’s still a little room for improvement. Whilst a lag of 42ms might be a little high for the serious gamer, it is certainly good enough for most people and when gaming we were never really aware of any lag. If you’re a hard core gamer there are better options but for most people who are looking for a compromise between input lag and picture quality, the P50GT60 is a perfect choice.

    Energy Consumption

    • Standby: 0W
    The following measurements were taken with a full screen 50% white pattern:
    • Out-of-the-Box – Normal Mode: 153W
    • Calibrated – Custom Mode: 183W
    • Calibrated - 3D Mode: 208W


    Panasonic TX-P50GT60 Picture Quality 2D

    The P50GT60 delivers one of the best and most enjoyable 2D pictures that we have seen to date. All of this plasma’s considerable attributes combine to create some truly impressive images that remind you just how good a mass market TV actually can be. First of all regardless of what content you're watching, there is the reference greyscale and colour gamut creating an accurate base from which to build the images. Then there’s the excellent Hexa-Processing Engine, that means whatever you’re watching, be it standard or high definition, always looks perfectly reproduced. On top of that the P50GT60 was capable of delivering some wonderfully detailed and noise-free images, especially when fed a 1080p/24 Blu-ray and at times the results were jaw dropping. The 24,756 steps of gradation certainly paid dividends, resulting in images that were free of banding or related artefacts. Thanks to the 3000Hz Focused Field Drive, the motion handling was also superb, with smooth judder free movement and no smearing or blurring.

    However the biggest factor in terms of the P50GT60’s picture quality was the dynamic range and there’s a reason why we place so much emphasis on it. Whilst deep blacks are important, it’s actually the range between the blacks and the peak whites that give an image its impact. The wider the dynamic range, the better the perceived picture quality. However it isn’t just how black the screen can get or how bright, it’s how well these two factors are combined within the same image. This is why the ANSI contrast ratio is so important because it shows the dynamic range within a scene rather than between them. The P50GT60 native backs, combined with its inherent brightness and the Infinite Black Pro and High Contrast Filter resulted in images that had incredible punch to them. Scene after scene just had the kind of visceral impact that only images with this level of dynamic range can deliver. Once you combined this with the accuracy, the detail and the fantastic motion handling, the results could be breath-taking.

    As for all the issues that have been reported about Panasonic plasmas in previous years, almost none were in evidence. Problems like floating blacks, brightness pops and green blobs can all be consigned to history, as can the 50Hz bug of which we saw no evidence. Screen uniformity was also excellent, as evidenced by the ANSI measurements and confirmed using full screen rasters.

    There were also no problems with image retention, line bleed or dirty screen effect. There was some very minor noise in parts of the picture just above black but these were impossible to see from any sensible viewing distance. In fact the only issue that we had the P50GT60's image was that very occasionally we saw some dynamic false contouring. This tended to be on handheld footage where peoples' faces were filling the screen and you would see some contouring on their cheeks or foreheads. We noticed it occasionally in Argo for example which has a very handheld documentary look. However with most of the content that we watched, from broadcast TV to Netflix and especially to Blu-rays such as Lincoln and Les Miserables, the results were just stunning. If this is to be plasma's last days, they've never looked better.

    Video Review


    Panasonic TX-P50GT60 Picture Quality 3D

    The P50GT60 was an equally stellar performer when it came to 3D, with the added brightness and plasma's inherent advantages in this format really coming to the fore. There are usually three main areas where 3D can struggle - brightness, motion and crosstalk - if a display can conquer all of them it can be capable of delivering a truly immersive 3D experience. First of all thanks to the improved luminance, the P50GT60 had no problems when it came to brightness, delivering 3D that had real impact, depth and plenty of punch. The neutral tint of the new glasses certainly helped here too but ultimately if a display wants to deliver an impressive 3D performance it needs to be bright and the P50GT60 had the horsepower. Thanks to plasma's excellent motion handling and the 3000Hz Focused Field Drive, the P50GT60 also handled any motion issues with 3D superbly, there was no judder or any other artefacts to distract you. Finally, thanks to the faster response time of plasma there was no Crosstalk either, just beautifully rendered 3D images.

    There were other factors too that helped create an enjoyable 3D experience, starting with glasses that were comfortably light and free of flicker and, thanks to the use of RF, synced easily and never lost the connection. The THX Cinema 3D setting was a reasonably accurate preset, although if you prefer a professional calibrator will be able to get a genuinely accurate 3D image. All of these factors combined to create a hugely enjoyable, comfortable and enveloping 3D experience. We started off with Planet Dinosaur which was broadcast in side-by-side 3D by the BBC at Christmas and the P50GT60 delivered a bright and accurate image, with plenty of depth and not a hint of crosstalk. Moving on, we broke out an old favourite and watched Avatar and were startled to discover elements we hadn't noticed before. There was no doubt that the superior dynamic range of the P50GT60 brought out amazing levels of detail, such as the fireflies in the air during the night scenes. Finally we finished off with some Dredd and Wreck-It Ralph and thoroughly enjoyed the depth and solidity of the 3D images.

    Conclusion

    9
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10

    The Good

    • Reference black levels
    • Incredible contrast ratio and dynamic range
    • Lack of PWM noise and clean looking images
    • Very good out-of-the-box greyscale
    • Reference greyscale after calibration
    • Excellent out-of-the-box colour gamut
    • Reference color gamut after calibration
    • Reference level 3D performance
    • Comprehensive calibration controls
    • Wonderful motion handling
    • Excellent video processing
    • Built-in WiFi, Freesat HD and Freeview HD
    • Excellent Smart TV platform
    • Highly effective remote app
    • Well designed menus and remote control
    • Attractive design and excellent build quality

    The Bad

    • Occasional dynamic false contouring
    • Some dither noise in darker elements of the picture
    • HDMI inputs are too close to the edge
    You own this Total 13
    You want this Total 2
    You had this Total 0

    Panasonic TX-P50GT60 (GT60) Plasma TV Review

    The Panasonic P50GT60 eschews unnecessary glamour for a timeless minimalist elegance, which suits us as we’ve always been fans of the ‘less is more’ mantra. The screen is surrounded by a simple black bezel with a silver trim on the outside and the whole panel sits on an attractive brushed metal stand. Around the back is a decent set of connections, even if there are only three HDMI inputs and they are far too close to the edge. The P50GT60 comes with the familiar glossy remote, two pairs of 3D glasses and a Touchpen - although if you let your kids near the screen with it, you need your head examined!

    The P50GT60 uses the latest iteration of Panasonic’s menu system and, as always, it’s well laid out, intuitive and easy to navigate. There are a bewildering array of new picture controls, most of which are best left off, but we Europeans finally get a panel brightness feature which is good news. There is also a new Custom mode as well as all the usual calibration controls, including a ten-point white balance and a full colour management system. The new My Home Screen smart platform is excellent, with loads of apps, a web browser, extensive media support and a superb remote app for iOS and Androis. The new Swipe & Share 2.0 is very effective and the Smart Calibration feature is an absolute boon for calibrators.

    The out-of-the-box performance is reasonable but thanks to the excellent calibration controls the P50GT60 is capable of a reference greyscale and colour gamut performance. The video processing is also excellent meaning that even standard definition content will look good and, as always, motion handling is sublime. The black levels were superb on the P50GT60 and the brightness far better than last year, resulting in a stunning dynamic range. All of this combines to deliver some of the best 2D and 3D images we have seen to date and aside from some occasional dynamic false contouring, we really could find nothing else on which to fault the P50GT60.

    Well all we can say is that if these really are plasma’s last days then it’s going out with a bang! The Panasonic P50GT60 delivers the kind of stunning image quality that reminds us just why we love this particular television technology so much. Plasma remains the preeminent display technology and, until OLED is ready for primetime, nothing else comes close. Panasonic promised us a classy all-rounder and that’s what they’ve delivered, from its design to its features to its performance to its price, the P50GT60 doesn’t put a foot wrong - Best Buy!


    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £1,399.00

    The Rundown

    Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

    10

    Screen Uniformity

    10

    Colour Accuracy

    9

    Greyscale Accuracy

    9

    Video Processing

    9

    Picture Quality

    9

    3D Picture Quality

    9

    Sound Quality

    7

    Smart Features

    8

    Build Quality

    8

    Ease Of Use

    8

    Value for Money

    8

    Verdict

    9

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