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Panasonic Viera TC-P65VT50 3D Smart Plasma HDTV Review$3,699.00
We personally feel that this TV looks splendid from the front, but it's fairly standard from most other angles. The stand choice is interesting, at least, but beyond the slimline front and semi-thin side view, it could be any 2011 Panasonic from the back (which isn't a bad thing). Our one complaint is that it doesn't swivel. The "no swivel" stand design might be necessary; after all, it weighs 127 lbs. Assembling the TV revealed that its modernist stand serves a much more functional purpose, serving as a heavy, industrial grade metal plank that slides up into the back of the TV to keep it in line. But pictures say much more than words, and you've got to make up your own mind.
Panasonic's 2012 design concept for their high-end TVs insists on a sculpted melding of glass and metal to create a natural looking but crisply defined panel display. It still looks like a TV to us.
While there are much thinner LCD TVs on the market (Samsung's ES8000 comes to mind), the P65VT50 is actually quite thin for a plasma. Here, you can see the stand's gradient appearance at work.
The stand (which does not swivel) is overlaid with a black-to-white gradient; a plastic cover conceals the metal and screws that keep the television sturdy.
The hidden on-set controls are a set of six buttons, standard in their size and press response. You can change volume and channel, turn the TV on or off, access input, and work through the TV's menus.
The Panasonic TC-P65VT50 comes with two remote controls.
The first remote is the standard infrared model for Panasonic's 2012 TVs that feature 3D and smart functions. It's got a dedicated button for just about every extraneous TV function: 3D settings, the Viera Connect smart platform, quick picture/sound adjustments, a shortcut to the USB/SD menu, and a Favorite button for jumping speedily to your favorite web sites. It's also got all the usual fixins like volume, channel, and menu control. The buttons are big and respond well; we think it's an above average remote, at best.
The second remote, new for this year, is Panasonic's Touch Pad remote. It's got the weight, depth, and size of a PC mouse, and connects via bluetooth to the TV during initial set-up. The middle area serves as a touch-responsive input pad, allowing for fluid, mouse-like control of the cursor on screen. It can also turn the TV on and off, change volume or channel, and be used to navigate Panasonic's smart menu (as well as the on-screen keyboard). In short, it's just as intuitive and effective as LG's splendid Magic Remote for cursor control. To see the Touch Pad remote in action, check out the final section of our article on Panasonic's 2012 Smart TV Platform.
In the Box
In the box, you'll find the display, stand components, 9 screws, standard remote, Touch Pad remote, 4 AA batteries, power cable, warranty information, quick start guide, and instruction manual. There are no 3D glasses included--they must be purchased separately.