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Andy Clough's picture
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2012 Panasonic TV reviews
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I know some of you have been keen to get our verdict on Panasonic's 2012 TV range, so today we've posted a couple of extended reviews online:

Panasonic TX-P42GT50 - the replacement for our 2011 TV Product of the Year

Panasonic TX-P50VT50 –  the new flagship plasma in the Viera range

And don't forget we've already tested the Panasonic TX-P50GT50.

Enjoy!

Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi? and whathifi.com

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

Thanks for the pointer toward the reviews Andy.

Now, what about the ST50, which just might represent the best value in Panasonic's 2012 range (or indeed among televisions from all manufacturers this year)? I'll be fascinated to read that review...

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

All in good time Wink

Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi? and whathifi.com

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

I'd also be keen to read your reviews of the ST50 series, particularly about how their black levels compare with the blacks of the GT50 and VT50 series, and maybe also if we're lucky how the ST50 black levels compare with the previous generations (ST30, GT30 and VT30). Perhaps What Hi-Fi could list all six series in black level order! The 50ST50 has been very favourably reviewed in the June 2012 issue of another magazine.

I have an interest in Panasonic black levels because from either the kitchen or the parlour, I can send (via HDMI splitters) the same Blu-Ray signal to all three of my televisions, and though the 64" Samsung in the parlour is very clear and sharp, its black level is not quite as good as even the (now) almost 4-year old 8th generation Pioneer Kuro in the bedroom, let alone as good as the 9th generation Kuro in the kitchen. So maybe when my lottery numbers come up I might invest in a television that had black levels as good as my LX5090. It would just be a question of which particular Panasonic series achieved that. If that turned out to be the ST50 series, then I'd be happy with that and, for me, there'd be no need to go to the GT50 and VT50 series.

If What Hi-Fi does review an ST50 model, could you make it the 65" one please? In my local shop (seven minutes' walk from my flat) the Panasonic 65ST50 is £2699, whereas the 65VT50 is £3799. Apart from Freesat, what else on the VT50 justifies the extra £1100? Critically, how much better is the picture on the VT50 better than that on the ST50?

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

strapped for cash wrote:

Now, what about the ST50, which just might represent the best value in Panasonic's 2012 range (or indeed among televisions from all manufacturers this year)? I'll be fascinated to read that review...

 

Andy Clough wrote:

All in good time Wink

 

With my August 2012 What Hi-Fi issue thudding on my doormat on Wednesday, I was quite disappointed to once again find no review of one of Panasonic's ST50 plasma series of televisions. In recent months What Hi-Fi has reviewed the 42" and 50" sizes of the GT50 series, and the 50" size of the VT50 series, all, as I expected, very favourably. It is a shame, referring to Mr Clough's pithy comment above, that the time is clearly not yet good. On 28th April my June 2012 issue of Home Cinema Choice magazine arrived, and it reviewed the 50" size of the ST50 series, again very favourably. Also an assessment of the 65" size of the ST50 is available online, at a (British, not American) location where reviews can be trusted. That location has also recently reviewed the 65" size of the VT50 series. So other British reviewers have been able to get hold of the Panasonic ST50 series, hence I long to see a review in What Hi-Fi of the ST50 series, (preferably in as large a size as possible). When will that be, please? Specifically, I would like to know if What Hi-Fi considers that a VT50 plasma is worth its price premium over the same-sized ST50 plasma. I know that the VT50 has a top black filter, two pairs of active 3D glasses, Freesat HD and more extensive picture calibration tools, but if one can do without Freesat is the ST50 series good enough? The 50" size of the new ST50 series was said to be comparable to last year's VT30 series, and I remember that last year EVERY formal reviewer said how good the VT30 series was, certainly it would be good enough for me!

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

Well, I seem to be running a one-man campaign here, but I really would like to hear from someone at What Hi-Fi about when they will review one of Panasonic's ST50 series plasmas, as I said above.

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

Son_of_SJ wrote:

Specifically, I would like to know if What Hi-Fi considers that a VT50 plasma is worth its price premium over the same-sized ST50 plasma. 

 

That can only ever be your choice. It's not for someone else to tell you.

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

If you're desparate to see what the picture looks like, can't you find a dealer which stocks it?

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

Manufacturers like Panasonic often split review samples between different magazines and websites, which is why in this instance we've received a number of GT, VT, WT and ET models, while other publications have received the ST models. That's Panasonic's decision, not ours.

Also, with each TV manufacturer having a huge number of models in its range (often 40-50) we simply can't test every single one. I know this may be disappointing for anyone interested in a particular model, but we have to strike a sensible balance between the number of TVs we review and other products.

Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi? and whathifi.com

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

Ah, so. Thank you, Mr Clough.

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

MajorFubar wrote:
If you're desparate to see what the picture looks like, can't you find a dealer which stocks it?

The main man Nick at Home Cinema Centre gave me a quick guided tour of the Panasonic 65VT50 today. My first impression was that it was big, but not as big as I remember its predecessor (the 65VT30) seemed to be about eight months ago in the very same demonstration room! Since then of course I've bought my 64" Samsung, which I do look at every few days (though I spend most of my time in the kitchen) so I'm now used to seeing a quite a large set. The second impression was that the picture quality on Blu-Ray was very, very good, though I personally would have it a touch brighter than the professionally calibrated movie darkroom setting. But the black level was at least as good (without seeing them side by side it's hard to be categorical) as that of my Pioneer LX50590, and may well indeed be better than mine, with which I am entirely comfortable!

Now I just need to find someone who stocks one - the bigger the better, but right now any one will do! - of the ST50 series, to try to mentally compare it with the 65VT50 - always a dodgy exercise in different shops and conditions, and the more time that elapses before I can do so the dodgier the comparison will be. For the time being I can't seem to find a Panasonic ST50 series plasma actually in a shop!

As a rough and ready check of the black level of the 65VT50, I looked at a paused frame of Inception at elapsed time 1 hour, 28 minutes and 18 seconds, to see if the right shoulder of the very dark garment of the silver-haired woman was differentiated from the black jacket of the man sitting immediately behind her. I also looked at the Director's Cut of Blade Runner, at the numerically palindromic elapsed time of 21 minutes and 12 seconds; how clearly does the back of Harrison Ford's head stand out against the background as he grills Sean Young (lucky man!).

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

Son_of_SJ wrote:

MajorFubar wrote:
If you're desparate to see what the picture looks like, can't you find a dealer which stocks it?

The main man Nick at Home Cinema Centre gave me a quick guided tour of the Panasonic 65VT50 today. My first impression was that it was big, but not as big as I remember its predecessor (the 65VT30) seemed to be about eight months ago in the very same demonstration room! Since then of course I've bought my 64" Samsung, which I do look at every few days (though I spend most of my time in the kitchen) so I'm now used to seeing a quite a large set. The second impression was that the picture quality on Blu-Ray was very, very good, though I personally would have it a touch brighter than the professionally calibrated movie darkroom setting. But the black level was at least as good (without seeing them side by side it's hard to be categorical) as that of my Pioneer LX50590, and may well indeed be better than mine, with which I am entirely comfortable!

Now I just need to find someone who stocks one - the bigger the better, but right now any one will do! - of the ST50 series, to try to mentally compare it with the 65VT50 - always a dodgy exercise in different shops and conditions, and the more time that elapses before I can do so the dodgier the comparison will be. For the time being I can't seem to find a Panasonic ST50 series plasma actually in a shop!

As a rough and ready check of the black level of the 65VT50, I looked at a paused frame of Inception at elapsed time 1 hour, 28 minutes and 18 seconds, to see if the right shoulder of the very dark garment of the silver-haired woman was differentiated from the black jacket of the man sitting immediately behind her. I also looked at the Director's Cut of Blade Runner, at the numerically palindromic elapsed time of 21 minutes and 12 seconds; how clearly does the back of Harrison Ford's head stand out against the background as he grills Sean Young (lucky man!).

 

Nice post!

 

I would be interested to hear your thoughts when you do see the st50, if you don't mind.  Or what you decide to do.

 

Thanks

Home cinema system: LG 55EA980W OLED TV,  Pioneer Bdp-lx71, Pioneer Vsx-lx70, B&W FPM Series, B&W PV1.

Gadgets: iPad 2 and iPhone 4s. Dab radio: Roberts Dreamtime.

 

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

gel wrote:

Nice post!

Thank you, sir!

gel wrote:

I would be interested to hear your thoughts when you do see the st50, if you don't mind.  Or what you decide to do.

I certainly will tell you what I think of the ST50 series of Panasonic plasmas, if I ever feast my eyes on one of the blessed things .....!

 

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

MajorFubar wrote:
If you're desparate to see what the picture looks like, can't you find a dealer which stocks it?

Regarding the ST50 series, no. Last week I asked at Richer Sounds, and not only did they not have any 2012 Panasonic plasma televisions (they did have LCD and LED models) they did not even know when they they would get Panasonic plasmas. So today I phoned Panasonic - by the way, the number given by Mr Clough in another thread has changed to 0844 8443899 - only to find out that all they could tell me were the Panasonic dealers reasonably close to me. Panasonic do not record which dealers stock any particular models, so they couldn't identify the locations of any of the ST50 series of plasma televisions. So all I can do is to phone round the various dealers to see if anyone has one of the ST50 series plasmas. I might have to travel up to 50 miles away. Great.

In about three weeks' time I'll be visiting in Manchester, so I do hope that in that big city somebody will have one of the ST50 plasmas on demonstration.

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

I bought a 42ST50 from Richer Sounds in Prestwich this weekend. If you're looking to see one in Manchester they also have one on display in House of Fraser.

I think that is an amazing TV ans am very happy with my purchase!! It's closer to the LED sets in terms of 'brightness' than the VT30 I guess but still with lovely deep blacks and a very natural looking picture. I think it is a nice looking set and well built too. Perhaps doesn't look as expensive as the VT30 but stylish nonethless and with a much slimmer bezel.

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RE: 2012 Panasonic TV reviews

JC1982 wrote:

It's closer to the LED sets in terms of 'brightness' than the VT30 I guess but still with lovely deep blacks and a very natural looking picture. I think it is a nice looking set and well built too. Perhaps doesn't look as expensive as the VT30 but stylish nonethless and with a much slimmer bezel.

Thanks for that, but just to check, did you mean to compare the new ST50 with the VT30 (2011 models) or with the VT50 (2012 models)?

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