Panasonic VT50 Lightning Review: Do Your Eyeballs A Favour

By Andrew Liszewski on at

The phrase "holy shit, this is a fantastic television" is bandied about with far too much impunity these days. However in the case of the Panasonic 55-inch VT50 Plasma, it's spot on.


What Is It?

Panasonic's new flagship HD 3D plasma model. Probably the best looking TV you'll see this year.


Who's it For?

Anybody with a functioning set of eyeballs who appreciates sports and films on a THX-certified set.



Minimal. The front panel is a single glass pane with an inch-wide border. Buttons for channels and volume are clunky, but you'll never use them—it comes with separate remotes for TV watching and Internet browsing.


Using It

Installation requires 12 screws and an assistant to get the 30kg set onto its base. The rest of the setup was automatic.


The Best Part

Unrivalled picture quality. Incredibly deep blacks stand up in bright rooms. The 96mHz refresh rate handles 1080P with minimal fast-motion blur and enough clarity to count the whiskers on Baumgarner's face in the post game interview.


Tragic Flaw

If anybody still gave a shit about 3D, they'd likely be pissed that they have to shell out an extra £50 a pair for the active-shutter glasses as none are included with the set. And the 3D itself isn't all that impressive—good depth and a wide viewable angle—but a noticeable amount of cross-talk.


This Weird...

It displays a three-second banner ad every time you turn it on—though you can disable this, um, feature.


Test Notes
  • The glossy screen reflects a fair amount of light. It's not as bad as the LG.
  • Screen brightness is excellent (especially on the THX Bright Room setting).
  • The THX video presets are very handy for quickly swapping between sports, cinema, and games.
  • Colour reproduction is spot-on with bright, vivid, and extremely accurate hues.


Should You Buy It?

I am very seriously considering buying this set myself, so yes, you probably should do so as well.

Panasonic TC-P55VT50 3D HD TV Specs

• Screen Size: 55 or 65 inches
• Display Type: Plasma 1080P
• Refresh Rate: 600mHz
• 3D: Active
• Connectivity: 4 HDMI, 3 USB, PC input, built-in WiFi
• Services: Facebook, Twitter,, Pandora, Hulu Plus, Netflix
• Weight: 30kg
• Price: around £1,900
• Gizrank: 4.5 Stars