The only TVs that can compete with the Panasonic VT50 are the Sharp Elite and, yes, that hoary veteran the Pioneer Kuro (circa 2008). Ignoring size differences (the Kuro maxed out at 60 inches) and the fact that you can't get one anymore, I actually would still rather watch the Kuro than this Panasonic -- but it's very close. The VT50 is a better TV overall than the Sharp Elite, however, despite the latter's arguably superior black-level performance. My vote goes to the Panasonic for its more accurate color and perfect screen uniformity. Of course if you sit anywhere but the sweet spot in front of the middle of the screen, the Panasonic's advantages increase. The only reason I'd recommend the Sharp Elite instead is if you can't control ambient light in the room (and if you can't, you might as well get a lesser TV anyway), you really value 3D performance, or you really want the 70-inch Elite's larger screen.
As you can probably guess by now, the VT50 earned a "10" in this category. Its only real flaws are excessive crosstalk in 3D and some wonkiness during calibration, but neither of those can keep it from taking the 2012 TV picture-quality crown -- and serving as my new reference TV. It's clearly Panasonic's best plasma ever, and creates some stiff competition for the OLEDs arriving later this year.
June 4, 2012 10:53 AM PDT
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET
| Caption by: David Katzmaier
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