"Impressive TV for $3k or less"4.5 starson by NMesta
Pros: Superb picture quality, colors are rich and blacks are impressive too
3D performance is very good
Over-all design and build is solid
Menus are fairly straight-forward and easy to navigate
Cons: There is no internet browser
Skype available but apparently does not work with typical USB Webcams
Summary: I've wanted a dark black that is not grayish looking which was my first priority. After viewing Pioneer KURO 60" TV that cost $7000 when it came out, I was speechless. Panasonic cannot match that kind of black level but it is significantly better than other LED, LCD, or plasma I've seen so far. The Samsung 8000 series LED with a local dimming is very close but I've noticed that lighting sometimes is not uniform and it cost $2k more which I would not spend. The latest Visio 65" 3D actually had very good picture but I wanted active 3D rather than passive 3D technology so I passed. Somehow I feel cheated by 540+540=1080 theory using a passive glasses theory in spite of cheaper 3D glasses.
After receiving TV, setup which was very easy. Delivery service was superb as well. The box was in perfect shape. The TV comes with Wi-Fi dongle if you don't have Ethernet cable and I tested both connections and Wi-Fi works okay if you have N protocol wireless router. If you are still on G, go with RJ-45 cable or buy N router. I was surprised by Panasonic remote controlling my PS3 unit which was added bonus. DNLA certified (Windows 7 PC or DNLA certified equipment) unit's media was immediately available if you are into streaming your downloaded contents. Other TV bonus such as Netflix, Amazon, Skype, and etc. works as well as other equipments that have similar functions. I use my PS3 so it was lightly tested to verify its functionality. I pulled in local HD broadcastings from built-in TV turner using an antenna, it seems to lock well, and channel change is quick. I've used both HDMI and Component cable for 1080P and 1080i viewing. The latter connection has to go through dongle rather than direct to TV due to lack or spacing.
I left a full screen TV mode with HD broadcasting on for about 8 hours for initial phosphor burn in process which settles the entire TV screen (something I believe and not proven). Afterwards, I tweaked the picture settings with THX mode with some adjustments to suit my viewing preference. I have not done extensive tweaking yet since TV is still too new so after about two months, I will use Spyder TV calibration unit to tweak the color, contrast, brightness, and gamma. For the time being, it is acceptable for initial review. First demo disc was none other than "master and commander" which will show just how well dark scene will be displayed. It was impressive to say the least. I watched Tron 3D which was very impressive but not being used to 3D glasses, I still prefer great 2D picture.
LOTR extended edition arrived and I've watched both DVD and Blu-ray version to see how well non-HD pictures looks and it was decent. I used my older Toshiba HD-DVD player that has better DVD up conversion than my PS3 with 1080i native output and TV's 3:2 pulldown seems to work well to display 1080p. Blu-Ray picture on LOTR was excellent. I did try 24 frame output with LOTR which was good at 60Hz but with only 48 Hz, it was flicking too much. The fact that it can handle 1080P/24 seems a bonus. It was a time to return to Pandora with Jim Cameron. Wow, it was most impressive color display I've seen so far. It looked spectacular and even my spouse gave a thumbs up on this TV. I've watched some streaming DivX and MKV encoded files and it looked acceptable for being a large TV.
There are a few things I did not like on this TV which I can live with but wish Panasonic would consider changing. The TV power on red LED is bothersome to me. I would probably tape it with dark film. Panasonic should replace it with a smaller LED and less bright. If you are not mounting this TV, the TV stand is ugly. Because it is so ugly that I've decided to mount it. It probably is the ugliest stand currently available. I am not even going to review the built in speakers. Get a sound bar or use surround sound system. It is that bad. Not even a single 3D glass was included with the TV. Panasonic has a frequent promotion on two pair of 3D glasses and Avatar 3D so use that promotion if you can wait. The material cost of that 3D glasses are probably less than $30 so not including a single glasses seems cheap tactics by Panasonic.
I have not tried PC output with TV yet. Since I have no plan to have HTPC connected to TV, probably will not check how it looks. My understanding is the resolution is very limited on Panasonic.
Other than that, it is one awesome TV for Blu-Ray fans. I'll keep it for three years and buy 72" when the price drops. I am not concerned with black level changing on Panasonic plasma TV which seems to be a hot debate for many 09-10 year models. For $3k or less, this is one great TV for home theater buffs who can't have a projector. If you like a pretty TV sitting in your living room, buy Samsung, LG, Sony, etc. If you like a great display, Panasonic is highly recommended.
My advice for this TV, if you're will buy it I suggest you have to check for best deal before you decide at: Plasmahdtvdeals.wordpress.com/panasonic-viera-tc-p65gt30/
Hope this review helps.