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Today’s Show:

Panasonic TC-P58VT25 Review

Ara has been watching his Panasonic TC-P58VT25 58-inch 3D 1080p VIERA Plasma HDTV (Street Price $2500) for about a month and thought it would be a good time for a review. When Ara purchased the TV it was going for about $2700, now you can buy it for about $2500.  Key features include:

  • Full HD 3D
  • Infinite Black Panel Pro
  • THX Certified
  • VIERA Cast™ WiFi w/ VideoPhone
  • Support for Skype (additional camera not included)
  • ENERGY STAR Qualified

Setup:

Setup was very quick. Assembling the stand took about five minutes and was very straight forward. Once powered up, you are greeted by several settings screens. The only picture adjustment that was made was to put it into THX mode. The TV has not been calibrated beyond that. It really looks quite good in that mode.

If you want network features you must connect an Ethernet cable since the wireless adapter is NOT included. To get the Vieracast to work you have to upgrade the firmware. That process took about five minutes as well. The Vieracast provides access to Weather, Youtube, Netflix, Amazon Video, Picassa, Skype (optional camera not included either), Twitter, Bloomberg, Pandora, and Fox Sports. Panasonic promises more services in the future.

Performance:

This is the best TV we have ever seen! The screen looks beautiful and the glare from lights in the room are barely noticeable at night. However, if you put it in a room with windows directly opposite be sure you can block out the incoming daylight. There is a significant amount of reflection that comes off the screen. In Ara’s room the blinds can be closed but you can still see the light between the slats. If this bothers you, either use black out shades/curtains or do not buy this TV.

As stated earlier the picture looks fantastic in THX mode.  Watching football is an absolute pleasure. There are no motion artifacts and the picture is smooth. Moving over to Blu Ray is where the TV really shines! The color was accurate regardless of content. We especially noticed natural skin tones and the detail in darker scenes was the best we’ve seen on any TV. Speaking of Black! One month after the TV has been in the house, Ara still marvels at the black levels! Starting to be on par with the Pioneer Elites from a few years ago. In a darker room you can’t see where the TV ends and the bevel begins!

Since the panel supports 96Hz refresh rate 24 fps Blu Ray performance is is quite good. If you are bothered by film judder that results from taking 24 fps content and converting to 60 fps this panel is for you.

For 3D we watched DirecTV’s ESPN 3D. The VT25 produces a high quality 3D picture. We have compared 3D on various TVs using different panel technologies and we have found Plasma produces the best 3D experience so we were not surprised by the results. The TV comes with one pair of 3D glasses so if a family of four wants to enjoy 3D together you’ll need to shell out an additional $300 (Panasonic TY-EW3D10U 3D Glasses)

Viewing angle is another area where this TV excels. Ara invited a few people over to watch football on New Years Day and he gave up his normal seat so that his guests could have a prime viewing experience. Sitting off angle did not diminish the picture quality what so ever! We found similar performance while viewing 3D off angle as well.

As far as calibration goes, you can have the TV professionally calibrated and you will see an improvement. Budget at least $300 for that. Or, for most of our listeners, you can leave it in THX mode and watch the best picture you have ever seen. There really is no need for a calibration disc. Either go pro or just leave it in THX mode. But do at least one of these!

We saw at this year’s CES its all about Smart TVs and Panasonic’s Vieracast is a capable service. As stated earlier, there is a wide variety of content available and Panasonic promises to add more over time. Picture quality of streaming services are no better or worse than any other services we’ve seen. Its nice to have it built into a TV so you don’t have to add an additional box. With that said, aside from Netflix, Ara has not really used any of the services in Vieracast. It was fun at first but once the novelty wore off Netflix was the only service with staying power.

Issues:

There are a few things that we didn’t like however. The biggest issue we have with the panel is the price. Panasonic has other panels in the same size that cost less. Some models are not 3D but they have similar performance in 2D. The other area of concern is that Panasonic had issues with 2009 Plasmas and black level performance as the panel aged. Panasonic assures us that this won’t happen with 2010 models but we’ll have to check back with you after 150 hours. Last issue is power consumption. Although the TV is Energy Star compliant it can suck down the juice. But that is dependent on what you are watching.

Conclusion:

Simply put the Panasonic TC-P58VT25 is the best TV we have seen to date!

 

Download Episode #461

 


Posted by The HT Guys, January 14, 2011 2:15 AM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.