Best Home-Theater TV: Panasonic Viera 60-inch Plasma
Panasonic's TC-P60GT50 60-inch plasma is as close as you can get to the cinema without leaving the couch.
When it comes to video richness, accuracy and fluid motion, nothing is as good as a plasma display. And when it comes to plasma HDTVs, Panasonic leads the pack with its GT50 series, of which the 60-inch model is the sweet spot.
Why We Like It
This terrific, loaded 60-inch HDTV is less than 2-inches thick. (It's also available in 50-, 55- and 65-inch screen sizes.) With the ungainly model name TC-P60GT50, it has all of the key tricks one expects in a 2012 model — 3D, built-in Wi-Fi for online content —but most importantly a wonderful picture.
Deep black levels are the foundation of a superior viewing experience because of the depth and richness they deliver, and Panasonic’s Infinite Black Pro screen is inky black. Accurate colors pop off of this background. They’re much more realistic than even the best LED LCD screen can produce. Watching a Blu-ray disc like "The Dark Knight" in 2D and "Avatar" in 3D is to experience movies at home the way they really should be seen.
The TC-P60GT50 uses the active shutter 3D system, which produces effects much better than the competing passive system, but the glasses are heavy and expensive. This set is THX 3D Certified, which is like a Good Housekeeping Seal for video quality. Built-in 2D-to 3D conversion helps make up for the paucity of good native 3D content.
Built-in Wi-Fi gives access to Viera Connect cloud services, including movies, music, news, Netflix and Hulu Plus. But really this HDTV should be married to a Blu-ray player or PlayStation 3 to really show off its quality.
Keep In Mind
Quality plasmas are more expensive than similarly-sized LCD HDTVs. The TC-P60GT50 lists for $2,599 without any active-shutter eyewear. In reality you'll find it cheaper, and we suggest you ask the retailer to toss in a pair of 3D glasses to sweeten the deal.
The TV has an enhanced audio system — 3D Real Sound — that pumps out reasonable quality. But a TV like this really needs a soundbar or a true 5.1 surround sound system to complement the high picture quality.
While this television and stand feature a new design, they're not going to win any awards. But who really cares when the video is blazing away?
Get ready to settle in for some of the best viewing ever — for 2D and 3D. Plasma still reigns supreme for current display technology, and the GT series is top of the line without totally breaking the bank.
Panasonic Viera TC-P60GT50 Plasma HDTV Key Specs
- 60-inch Full-HD (1920 x 1080) 3D HDTV
- 55 in. (w) by 32.7 in. (h) by 1.9 in. (d)
- 75 pounds (85 with stand)