Along with Samsung, Panasonic has been pushing hard to bring 3D TV to both early adopters and regular folks who happened to catch Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story 3, or one of the other recent 3D blockbusters at their local multiplex. But whereas Samsung is neutral when it comes to displays, offering 3D TVs in LCD and plasma flavors, 3D for Panasonic is all about plasma. The company’s initial VT20 Series sets were made available exclusively through Best Buy. The 3D TVs in its newest VT25 line are coming at ya through a wider range of retailers — where they will be sold alongside the company’s DMP-BDT350 Blu-ray Disc player, a model with dual HDMI outputs for better backward compatibility with the installed base of A/V receivers and surround sound preamps.
Panasonic sent me its 50-inch TC-P50VT25 set along with a DMP-BDT350 Blu-ray player to test. (Look for a more in-depth examination of the player in a future issue.) The TV comes with a single pair of active-shutter 3D eyewear; additional units will run you $150 each. (Ouch!) Unlike some of the bulimic-thin sets that have come out in the past year, VT25-series TVs are a more substantive 3[½ ] inches deep, with the screen bordered by a relatively thick 2-inch-plus gloss-black bevel. The set’s 3 x 10-watt speaker system is positioned out of sight within the panel’s bottom edge. A swiveling gloss-black base completes the look, which tends toward the soft-edged and organic.
With four HDMI v1.4 jacks, plus component-/composite-video, RGB PC, LAN, and RS-232 connections, VT25 Series TVs sport enough inputs to handle the majority of A/V system requirements. One installation note: Most of the set’s jacks are positioned on the back panel, which means that connected cables jut out directly as opposed to draping downward (as they do on ultra-slim TVs with A/V connections located on a bottom-facing input panel). This doesn’t mean you can’t wall-mount a Panasonic VT25 Series TV, but you may need to make space allowances for its input section layout.
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