In addition to being Panasonic's first line of 3D plasma TVs, the VT25 Series is loaded with company's top-shelf features and performance technologies (the nearly identical VT20 Series is sold exclusively through Best Buy). The Series includes screen sizes of 65, 58, 54 and 50 inches. We have not performed a hands-on review of the TC-P54VT25, but here is an overview of the TV's features. This 54-inch, 1080p plasmarequires the use of active-shutter 3D glasses to view 3D content; one pair of glasses is included in the package (additional pairs cost $150 each). The sync transmitter that allows the glasses to sync with the TV is integrated into the TC-P54VT25's front panel. This TV doesn't support 2D-to-3D conversion, a feature that is available on other 3D-capable models.
The TC-P54VT25 also features THX certification, 600Hz Sub-Field Drive to improve motion resolution, and Panasonic's Infinite Black Panel that's designed to reduce ambient-light reflections and improve black-level performance. You can add the TC-P54VT25 to your home network via wired Ethernet or an optional WiFi adapter, and it offers access to the VIERA CAST Web platform, which includes Amazon and Netflix VOD, Skype, Pandora, YouTube and more. This model does not support DLNA streaming from a networked server. The TC-P54VT25 has a fairly straightforward aesthetic, with a glossy black frame and rounded, swiveling base. It is EnergyStar 4.0¬-certified.
The connection panel includes four HDMI inputs and two component video inputs, as well as one PC input and one RF input to access the internal ATSC and Clear-QAM tuners. The HDMI inputs accept both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 signals, and one HDMI input is located on the side panel for easy access. Also on the side panel are dual USB ports that support a WiFi adapter, USB keyboard and/or Skype camera, as well as media playback. There's also an SD card slot through which you can view digital photos and MPEG-2/AVCHD video. The Ethernet port is located on the rear panel, as is an RS-232 port for integration into an advanced control system.
The TC-P54VT25 includes a thorough assortment of picture adjustments. You get five picture modes for 2D content and five for 3D content; the 2D options include the all-important THX picture mode, while the 3D options offer a Cinema mode instead. The basic video setup menu includes five color-temperature presets, multiple noise-reduction settings, blur reduction that enables the 600Hz Sub-Field Drive, and a C.A.T.S. feature that automatically adjusts the picture based on ambient light. The 24p Direct In mode lets you dictate whether to output 24p film content at 48Hz, 60Hz or 96Hz. This model also includes a Pro menu that offers advanced controls like white balance (high/low red and blue only), gamma (six presets), black extension, contour emphasis, panel brightness and hue/saturation controls for the three primary color points. Panasonic has included several features to prevent or counteract the effects of short-term image retention (a common plasma concern), including a pixel orbiter, a scrolling bar, and the option to use gray sidebars instead of black. The TC-P54VT25 has five aspect-ratio options, and you can configure it to display a 1080i/1080p image with no overscan.
A special 3D setup menu allows you enable or disable 3D playback and to make adjustments to the 3D effect: You can adjust the 3D input format (auto, side by side, top/bottom, native), the left/right swap and the diagonal line filter.
The audio setup menu includes bass, treble and balance controls, as well as BBE VIVA HD3D processing, a generic surround mode, and a generic volume leveler. This TV does not offer audio-leveling technology from a company like Dolby or SRS.
Competition and Comparison
Compare the Panasonic TC-P54VT25 with its competition by reading the reviews for the Samsung UN55C7000 3D LED LCD and the Sony KDL-55HX800 3D LED LCD. Learn more about 3D HDTVs by visiting our 3D HDTV section.
Read The High Points, The Low Points and Conclusion on Page 2.
• The TC-P54VT25 supports 3D playback. It has an integrated sync transmitter and comes with one pair of 3D glasses.
• This TV has a 1080p resolution and will accept 24p sources via its HDMI inputs.
• The TV has plenty of connection options and picture adjustments.
• The TC-P54VT25 will support a wired or (optional) wireless network connection, and it supports the VIERA CAST Web platform.
• The 24p Direct In mode now has a 96Hz option to reduce judder in film-based Blu-ray content.
• Plasma TVs generally do not suffer from viewing-angle limitations or motion-blur issues.
• This TV has both USB and SD card slots for media playback. You can also add a USB-based keyboard or Web camera.
• An RS-232 port is included.
• Plasma TVs generally aren't as bright as LCDs and therefore aren't the best choice for a really bright room with lots of potential light reflections.
• This 3D TV does not offer 2D-to-3D conversion, and you'll have to pay $150 for each additional pair of 3D glasses.
• The TC-P54VT25 does not have integrated WiFi, and it does not support DLNA media streaming.
The TC-P54VT25's selling price of about $3,000 is slightly higher than that of similarly equipped LCD models from Samsung, LG and Sony. Remember, though, that the package includes one pair of $150 3D glasses, whereas the others do not. The overall cost is actually pretty close between the brands. Ultimately, the question with this Panasonic or any other 3D TV is, how much are you willing to pay to get 3D right now, even though content is scarce? The TC-P54VT25 has many worthwhile features beyond its 3D ability, but those features are available in other Panasonic models for less money. Panasonic will soon release a lower-priced 3D line, the GT25 Series, but that line only includes screen sizes of 50 and 42 inches. If you want a 3D TV at the larger 54-inch size and prefer Panasonic, the TC-P54VT25 is currently your only option.