Panasonic VIERA TH-P50UT30A 3D plasma TV
Panasonic’s cheapest 3D plasma is good value for money
- Good picture quality
- Good motion control
- Value for money
- App interface and variety could be better
- Default settings don’t look great
As the cheapest possible 3D plasma TV available from Panasonic, the VIERA TH-P50UT30A has a lot to deliver: it’s a 50in screen that can be found for under $1000, with built-in Web apps and video on demand. Premium features are at a minimum, but anyone wanting them can easily purchase an appropriate Blu-ray player with these extras built in.
Price$ 1,299.00 (AUD)
Panasonic VIERA TH-P50UT30A: Picture quality
We found that the default Home settings for the Panasonic VIERA TH-P50UT30A were too bright and high-contrast, robbing detail from both highlights and shadow areas of the The Dark Knight Blu-ray we used to test the screen’s Full HD performance. We can’t stress strongly enough the importance of calibrating your television to suit both bright and dark variants of your viewing environment — getting a professional ISF-certified technician to do this is always advisable, especially if you have a high-end TV that has the appropriate settings for fine adjustment.
We opted for switching the TV into the True Cinema mode in our dimly-lit test room, lowering sharpness and screen brightness until we found a pleasing setting.
What initially surprised us with the Panasonic VIERA TH-P50UT30A was how well (for a $1299 RRP TV, under $1000 with some bargain) it displayed Full HD video content. We tried The Dark Knight, Terminator: Salvation and Planet Earth Blu-rays on the VIERA UT30A and found that its levels of detail weren’t far off Panasonic plasma TVs costing $1000 more. The main difference that exists is with overall image contrast, with more expensive panels revealing more highlight and shadow detail in video — the Panasonic UT30 can’t quite extract the detail in the darkest shadowed areas of the The Dark Knight opening scenes.
The default settings of the Panasonic VIERA TH-P50UT30A rob it of valuable image detail -- but can be fixed.
The Panasonic UT30A’s internal TV tuner and free-to-air digital TV playback is OK, but not great — some images, especially on standard definition channels, look slightly smudged. The same is true of DVD video, which doesn’t look as detailed or as crisp as we’ve seen on more expensive televisions this year. The difference is mostly academic, though — unless you’ve got the televisions side-by-side you’d be hard-pressed to find a discernable difference.
As well as true 3D playback, the VIERA UT30 can simulate 3D with a 2D-3D mode.
We tested the VIERA TH-P50UT30A with Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs in 3D, and found a few instances of stereo cross-talk, where the 3D glasses can’t perfectly create a tri-dimensional effect and object edges look blurred. This is most prevalent on scenes of fast motion and doesn’t generally detract from the majority of the 3D viewing ‘experience’.
The VIERA UT30 also impressed us with its handling of on-screen motion. This is an area where plasma screens are immeasurably superior to LED and LCD TVs: take the rolling of the credits at the end of a movie as an example. The VIERA UT30 doesn’t display any visible stuttering or break-up in the image, where some LED and LCD sets look like a flickery stop-motion movie. Similarly, wide panning shots in our Planet Earth test footage looked clean and didn’t flicker.
Panasonic VIERA TH-P50UT30A: Conclusion
Buying accessories for the VIERA UT30A drives the price up, but even with a few pairs of 3D glasses and the optional Wi-Fi adapter (or a Wi-Fi-enabled Blu-ray player) this is a cheap and accessible plasma TV. If you can find a good special on 3D glasses, stock up on them and use the UT30A as a distraction for precocious kids and teenagers. We think the VIERA TH-P50UT30A hits a great compromise between low price and good image quality and features.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Sony shows off its new OLED and LCD TVs, video projector, and Bluetooth speakers
- Sony’s Bravia XBR-A1E OLED could be the first flat-screen TV with sound that doesn’t suck
- Say goodbye to Apple's third-generation Apple TV
- Japan gears up for 8K TV broadcasting
- NHK's latest 8K display is large, thin and beautiful
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCData Engineer (SQL/Big Data/Scala)VIC
- CCERP Business Analyst (Time Capture/ Management) - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTClient Delivery ManagerSA
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- FTDeveloper - Java/J2EEQLD
- CCSharepoint Business AnalystACT
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCMidrange ProvisioningNSW
- TPMid-Level Java DeveloperNSW
- CCMDM Consultant/DesignerVIC
- CCSenior Networks Specialist - DNS PlatformVIC
- TPPerformance Test Analyst - Perth BasedQLD
- TPSolution Architect - Transport DomainVIC
- CCProject SpecialistVIC
- CCDevops EngineerNSW
- FTInfrastructure Architect (Adelaide Based)VIC
- CCTest ManagerWA
- FTSupport Analyst / Production Support - InformaticaNSW
- TPSenior Project Manager - ReinsuranceNSW
- FTJunior / Entry Level IT role - Recent IT TAFE GraduateNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst - Technical BackgroundQLD
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- FTTechnical Team Leader | ArchitectQLD
- TPAgile Project Manager. Sharepoint / PeoplesoftNSW
- FTJunior Software Engineer - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)ACT