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Panasonic VIERA TX-P50VT65B review

Tom Morgan
20 Nov 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,679
inc VAT

The best picture quality you can get from a plasma without spending thousands of pounds more

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Specifications

50in, Freesat HD, Freeview HD, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: yes, 3x HDMI

For this review we tested the 50in model in Panasonic's VT65 range, but it's also available in 65in (TX-P65VT65B) and 55in (TX-P55VT65B) screen sizes. All models have identical specifications except for their dimensions and power usage. We're confident that image quality will be practically identical across the range.

We were blown away by the flagship Panasonic TX-P60ZT65B plasma TV earlier in the year, but its high price and the fact it only comes in a 60in screen size means few people will ever own one. While the fact that Panasonic has stopped further production of its excellent Plasma TVs, means this is your last chance to own one too.

The TX-P50VT65B comes from the VT range, one step down the ladder from the ZT, but it shares many of the ZT65’s high-end features but at a more reasonable price. Just as importantly, the VT range is also available in more than one screen size - 65in, 55in and 50in TVs are on offer - so you should find something to suit your needs (if your needs are big).

Panasonic VIERA TX-P50VT65B

DESIGN AND PORTS

Although it has a slightly larger screen bezel, the VT65 looks almost identical to the ZT65 except for a slightly more restrained silver trim around the edge of the set. It has a similarly gorgeous brushed metal stand, too.

As befits a high-end plasma TV, the VT65 has a comprehensive set of inputs at the rear. In addition to the three HDMI ports are twin satellite and DVB tuners, SCART and component video, Common Interface and SD card slots, a digital optical audio output and three USB ports. One of the three USB ports conforms to the faster USB3 standard. It also has an Ethernet, but given the VT65’s built-in Wi-Fi there may be no reason to run a cable from your router.

Panasonic VIERA TX-P50VT65B

The VT65’s frame also has room for multiple speakers. As well as twin 5W mid-range drivers,
Panasonic has added a 10W subwoofer to provide a little extra bass. It's fairly weak, but the extra bass is a definite improvement over nothing at all. We weren't left wanting more volume, but for a proper cinema experience a set of dedicated surround sound speakers is still recommended.

INTERFACE, ONLINE AND REMOTE

Panasonic's Smart Viera homescreen is apparent as soon as you switch on the TV, giving you five customisable pages to fill with reminders, weather updates, web bookmarks and shortcuts to on-demand TV services. You can link to a DLNA media server such as a PC or NAS, and access your media directly from the homescreen, or play files from an attached USB flash drive. Most of our video files played smoothly, but the TV refused to detect MOV or native DivX clips.

Panasonic TX-P60ZT65B

Customisable home screens let you set up the content you most want to hand

The chunky remote control makes it easy to browse the menu screens, and it has a red backlight to help you see its many buttons in the dark. There's also a second touchpad remote control that gives you precise cursor control to make web browsing a lot easier. However, if you don't plan on using its cursor control it's not particularly useful for anything else.

Panasonic VIERA TX-P50VT65B

The VT65 also comes with Panasonic's Touchpen, which lets you turn the TV into a massive digital sketch pad. Although the paint app is basic, we’re wary of encouraging young children to take a pen to an expensive TV. The iOS and Android remote control app is a little more useful, as it lets you control playback from a smartphone or tablet. Having a virtual keyboard makes web browsing and chatting far easier than with the remote control.

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