Fans of plasma display panels (PDP) will undoubtedly be waiting for the Viera VT50S, which finally arrived on retail shelves a few months ago. Available in 55-inch and 65-inch variations, the new flagship PDP from Panasonic offers a few improvements, on paper at least, over the former VT30S model. To begin with, the VT50S is loaded with Panasonic's Infinite Black Ultra panel, or more precisely, a Generation-15 NeoPlasma panel treated with the Infinite Black Ultra filter. In layman terms, users can expect fewer reflections, improved black levels, reduced light loss, as well as sharper contrasts under brighter ambient conditions. The ST and GT series are still fitted with Panasonic's slightly older Infinite Black Pro filter. Another selling point of the VT50S is its faster Focused Field Drive system, now rated at 2,500Hz compared to more conventional sub-field drive ratings of 600Hz for entry and mid-range PDP sets. If we deciphered Panasonic's marketing jargon correctly, this means the faster pulse emissions should improve the brightness quality and motion rendering on the VT50S allegedly. We'll see if these claims hold true when we report on its detailed test outcome over the next few pages.
You might recall that the VT30S does not carry a web browser. That's about to change with the VT50S, for we understand Panasonic has added a HTML5-compatible web browser to its PDP champ. Unfortunately, we were unable to evaluate the web browser or Viera Connect (Panasonic's Smart TV portal) due to office network limitations we're currently experiencing with Pansonic's line of Smart TVs.
Moving on, the full HD TV is equipped with two pairs of active-shutter glasses, although they aren't quite the same as the one bundled with the VT30S. We'll tell you more about them when we get to the 3D portion later. Another new addition from Panasonic this year is the complementary Touch Pad remote, which follows flagship models like the WT-series under the LED edge-lit camp. And before we forget, Panasonic's sought-after THX presets remain as constant fixtures with THX picture modes for both 2D and 3D settings. Advanced picture calibration is also possible via the two ISFccc Professional modes. Now that you're better acquainted with the VT50S, it's time to turn the page and 'meet' this 65-inch Viera we've brought in to our lab up-close.