"Panasonic hits a Home Run with the 2011 Plasma line up."4.5 starson by Audiophile_At_Birth
Pros: The GT-30 has great black levels, color and smooth motion at a great price. The set has abundant features and a sleek design that makes this a winner for those not willing to jump up to the flagship VT line but who want more than most from their TV.
Cons: Some quirky gamma shifts that cause the TV to rise out of black to soon. August and older builds suffer from fluctuations in brightness and floating blacks (can be fixed under warranty -- A board replacement). Netflix is an older version. Energy hog
Summary: An avid Home Theater enthusiast, I am constantly on the AVS and Blu-ray forum boards. I have a modest home theater set up that includes the GT-30 as my display, Onkyo pre/pro, Emotiva amps, Polk Audio and Elemental Designs subs (A7S-450, A2-300). I started getting into the hobby when I was high school back in 2005. I purchased my Sharp 37" 720p LCD for more than what I paid for the GT-30 (oh technology ;) back in early 2007. Flash forward to late 2011, it was time for an upgrade in my display to say the least.
I had an idea that I wanted a Panasonic plasma from the get go. However, I did my research on anything from side lit LED, to full array LED, to other plasma options to help me narrow down my selection. For the price I could get my GT-30 shipped to me new, I couldn't help but to continue to go back to it regardless of comparable or even better sets. Simply stated, for the price, nothing could touch this TV on performance, aesthetics, and features.
The TV is well constructed from my view point. It has a solid feel and the thing and has some definite weight to it. Once I got it positioned into my setup, I began hooking up the necessary cables I needed to use the TV. The TV is so thing that break out cables are required for all connections except for the HDMI cables. Even with my heavy duty monoprice HDMI cables, this was a tight squeeze.
The set matches my room aesthetics quite well and I actually don't mind the silver accents on the bezel. The bezel is slim and the overall dimensions rival that of some of the nicest LED TVs on the market today. It has a minimalist appearance and is very modern and well designed. When the lights go down, the design disappears and you're left with a floating image that looks terrific.
My initial impressions for the set uncalibrated were relatively good. Cable channels (HD&SD) came in clear and free of most macroblocking and distortion that was more noticeable on my old Sharp. Not to say that its perfect, but the on board processors do a more than adequate job for 'tuner' performance. Perfect for more than anybody.
However, this is not where this TV shines. The GT-30 excels in movie playback. My first one hundred or so hours were spent watching mostly full screen content or 1:85:1 movies that were expanded to full screen to help with 'break in' (I do not believe in the slide break in process but feel that it is highly recommended to view full screen content during the early hours of a new plasma). Having just received the Jurassic Park Trilogy on Blu-ray a few weeks earlier, I decided I would start here. I quickly calibrated the set off the Disney WOW Blu-ray to get me close in contrast and brightness (did it again after age in). Simply stated, there is a natural beauty to a plasma over LCD tech. The GT-30 does not come off over processed or 'digitized'. The TV handled both motion and 60hz 24p playback without noticeable artifacts or picture anomalies. It was terrific.
Colors appeared accurate, not over the top, not overly saturated. It had a very nice balance to it. It has a sharp definition without appearing overly edgy. It was evident that there was a green push in the set that would need some adjustment after break in. Black levels are astounding for the price that you can get this set at. Shadow detail does lack in the sense that gamma shift does bring shadow detail out of black rather quickly. This was noticeable to me but can be adjusted in the custom mode with an adjustment of the gamma to 2.4 which will bring it closer to 2.2 reference. On a similar note, my set did suffer from Fluctuating Brightness/Contrast issues that are noticeable almost instantly when the content switches from light to dark content. The issue was resolved with an A-Board replacement that was covered under Panasonic's warranty. It was a painless process, and only required a phone call to Panasonic. Since being replaced, the issue has been resolved. (Effects build dates from early 2011 to July/August 2011 when the change was implemented during production).
Gaming on the GT-30 is great. Again, quick motion and processing makes motion blur none existent, which you will find on LCD TVs. Call of Duty is a real treat now and I no longer experience eye fatigue from motion artifacts and issues that I used to my old set. It is safe to say that the motion on the GT-30 is great.
Overall, the GT-30 provides great features, internet apps, enough adjust-ability for the average Joe, and great natural picture that one can expect with Panasonic plasmas. It shines with Blu-ray content and gaming is astounding with the GT-30. I wouldn't have gone any other way and have thoroughly enjoyed my TV since day one. The only regret that I might have is that I didn't get a bigger screen!