Panasonic Viera TC-P65VT50 3D Smart Plasma HDTV Review$3,699.00
3D Effect & Experience
Panasonic's got a lot of bases covered where 3D is concerned. Their glasses sync quickly with the TV, which manages to maintain good color fidelity while showing mostly crosstalk-free 3D images. Users are treated with numerous warning messages (y'all know not to let your young'ns stare at 3D images all day, right?), and most of the 3D settings (side-by-side, top-to-bottom, depth of field) are hidden away in a menu that isn't easy to access (pictured below). This is surely Panasonic's attempt to streamline and simplify the 3D experience. Native 3D looks decent, but is not yet as good as Samsung's or LG's.
Essentially, the P65VT50 is neither bolstered nor dragged down by 3D.
Panasonic's active shutter 3D spectacles felt more comfortable this time around, but perhaps we're simply getting used to wearing them; they haven't changed them in almost a year, despite our complaints. They fit alright over spectacles, if only due to the fact that their nose bridge is slightly wider than usual and their tinted lenses are mildly convex, which adds to comfort. Panasonic's 3D glasses are light enough to be worn for a long period of time, as long as you're already used to looking goofy.
One of the biggest problems with 3D is how it affects color and contrast performance. The comparison chart below should make it clear that the P65VT50's impressive 2D contrast ratio gets clipped at the wings during 3D viewing, which is a shame, but is simply the result of watching content with fancy sunglasses on. The original black level of 0.03 cd/m2 gets quite a bit brighter, due to the TV overcompensating for the darkening effect of the glasses. But this compensation can't save the peak brightness dropping by almost 50%.
Long story short, if you want the best possible contrast from the VT50, don't watch anything in 3D.
Like its 2D color temperature performance, the Panasonic P65VT50's 3D color temperature was very accurate. While there were mild deviations from 6500° K across the spectrum, the majority of them are imperceptible to the human eye. An above average result.
While these curves are quite jagged, they're also rather uniform--both in terms of overall shape, and in how quickly they ramp up. Compared to the 2D color curves, this kind of performance is to be expected. We wouldn't plan for perfect color while watching 3D content, but we've seen a lot worse in the past, too.
This gamut is so-so. The black triangle on the chart below represents the 2D color gamut; the white triangle represents the 3D color gamut. As we saw during 2D testing (you are reading the whole review, right?), the P65VT50 has a highly accurate 2D gamut; its 3D gamut was, by comparison, skewed.
Imperfect color production is a big problem with 3D, and continues to be.
Compared to what we saw while testing the Panasonic TC-L47DT50, it seems that Panasonic is perfecting their banishment of the crosstalk banshees. Crosstalk occurs when a 3D image meant for one eye leaks into the other eye, causing that eye to see two images at once; this effect is also called "ghosting," because of the translucent effect it has on solid objects. We saw no crosstalk whatsoever during 2D-to-3D conversion, and only a little during full, native 3D.