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Video: Panasonic VT30 HDTV series

Steve Kindig has been an electronics enthusiast for over 30 years. He has written extensively about home and car A/V gear for Crutchfield since 1985. Steve is also a volunteer DJ at community radio station WTJU, where he is a regular host of the American folk show "Atlantic Weekly," as well as the world music program "Radio Tropicale."

More from Steve Kindig

Steve tells us about the Panasonic VT30 series, Internet-ready and 3D-ready plasma HDTVs.

Video Transcript

Steve: This is Panasonic's VT30 series of plasma TVs. And this is their top of the line series for 2011. It's a 3D TV. It's Internet ready. And it also uses their best plasma panel technology, which means that you get really deep black levels. And then it also has their best anti-glare filter, so that you'll pick up fewer reflections from room lights.

Physically this is also a little different from their previous plasmas. The panel itself is thinner so it's not quite as thin as an LED TV, but it's a lot thinner than earlier plasmas. The TV also is a little lighter in weight and it also uses less energy. So plasma TVs have had the reputation for, you know, kind of being energy hogs, but this year's models are quite a bit more efficient than models from a couple years ago.

So this is a 3D TV. It comes with one pair of 3D glasses, and these are the active shutter type glasses. And your ideal 3D situation would be if you connected the TV to a 3D Blu-ray player. But there's still not tons of 3D titles out there, so this set also has built in 2D to 3D conversion so that means anything that you watch, as long as you're wearing the glasses, you'll get kind of a nice 3D depth effect. You won't see things like popping out towards you but there's a really nice depth effect. And this TV is also THX certified for both 2D and 3D which means that there's one picture mode that's sort of been calibrated to match what film directors actually intended when they shot the movie. And I had a chance to sit down with this TV last week and I put into THX mode and just sat down and watched a Blu-ray movie, and before I knew it, you know, twenty minutes had passed. I found the picture to be just very, very film-like and just effortless to watch.

This is an Internet-ready TV. It comes with what Panasonic calls their VIERA connect web interface. It gives you access to things like Netflix movie streaming, and you can also watch YouTube video clips. You can make either a wired or a wireless connection. If you have an Ethernet cable that's handy, you can plug that into the back, or the TV also comes with a little USB Wi-Fi dongle that you just plug in and make an easy wireless connection.

This TV also has Skype video chatting capability, which means that, you know, if you have friends or family that are far away, either across the country or even overseas you can make video chat phone calls with them. You do have to get Panasonic's camera to go along with the TV if you want to do Skype.

And if you have any questions about this TV or any other TV just give us a call.

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