Panasonic VIERA TH-P50VT30S - Prince of Darkness

Launch SRP: S$3999

Introducing The VT30S

Black On Black

The Viera VT30S made its first appearance during last year's CES if you recall. Despite Panasonic's early announcement, the highly anticipated Full-HD 3D set did not find its way to our shores till the latter half of 2011. That said, there's still some confusion surrounding their recent plasma line-up which we hope to clarify. Panasonic has two main 3D series under their 2011 PDP range. The flagship VT30S will feature the new Infinite Black Pro 2 panel, a THX-certified 3D display, and ISF picture presets for full-scale professional calibration. The ST30S will feature the same panel type as the VT30, but will not carry any THX certification or ISF presets. Noticeably, Panasonic has another 3D-capable G-series which isn't available in Singapore unfortunately. Moving on, the U-series and X-series are essentially non-3D models under Panny's wing. The U30S is a Full-HD set, while the X30S is only an HD-Ready model with a native resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels.

We will be reviewing the top of the line VT30S model through its 50-inch panel in particular, though this model is also available in 42-inch and 65-inch fittings as well.  

Panasonic's VT30S appears to have it all. Besides 3D, this 50-inch PDP touts a revitalized NeoPlasma panel with brighter and faster phosphors, while electrical pre-discharge is minimized to enhance black gradation. This ought to translate to enhanced black levels, but we'll leave it to our tests to determine if this is true grit from Panasonic or pure marketing hoopla.

So, what does the VT30S bring to the table? For starters, the new V, S, and U series will feature Panasonic's 14th-generation (G14) plasma panels. The VT20S was using a G13 installment. Formerly known as "NeoPDP", the G14 panels have been given a new lease of life with a fresh "NeoPlasma" moniker for 2011's releases. If you care not for the technical specifics, what NeoPlasma simply denotes is a more responsive plasma screen with faster switching phosphors. There are no changes to last year's sub-field drive rate of 600Hz though. Another prominent upgrade with the VT30S is Panasonic's newly earned THX accreditation for its 2D and 3D modes. The earlier VT20S was similarly certified but only for its 2D selection.

In a nutshell, THX presets are tuned by THX engineers to recreate color-accurate images with smoother motion processing and optimized video scaling. Think of it as snagging a "cinematic experience" with reduced artifacts within the confines of your own living room. THX presets are also a good way to achieve a neutral picture quality if you are unable to calibrate the set. That said, it's time to meet the 50-inch VT30S in the flesh.

3D Performance
HD Performance
SD Performance
The Good
Excellent 3D Quality
Untainted Black Levels
Superb HD and SD Performance
The Bad
Average Noise Filters

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