I just wanted to throw down some notes from the past two weeks regarding the GT50, along with some photos, hopefully they will address some questions:
1 - Every time I press "Viera Tools" or "Internet" I am kind of shocked how fast the interface comes up. This is, by far, the fastest interface I have ever used, thanks to the dual processor. It's so fast that you start to get the feeling that you might actually USE the Internet on this thing!
2 - Panasonic does have a web browser (App Store:LifeStyle) but it's a pain to download (you have to enter in your credit card information even though the application is free); I just wish it was included. I am going to fill out my credentials on the vieracast website because it's kind of annoying to enter in the data using the remote.
3 - The YouTube interface is actually pretty nice. The text is displayed larger than on the AppleTV and you can sort by HD Content only, which the AppleTV does NOT let you do--so that's very cool.
There IS an iOS app (and I would assume an Android App) that can take the place of the supplied remote control. Useful, I guess, for Harmony users who may need specialized controls from time to time. This seemed to work well for the most part but I have some thoughts:
- The app makes ridiculous sounds when using the remote. You can turn the sounds off. Really silly.
- The trackpad controls are the default screen, but you cannot control the TV with them. You need to swipe to another pane to get to the arrow keys to navigate the menus. This was confusing at first and then just kind of irritating, because you have to go to one page to call up "Options" then swipe to another page to interact with the options.
- The reason why I gave up entering my credentials to get the web browser was because the keyboard on the iOS app was NOT sending text to the TV. This is clearly a bug, but once it is fixed, this will work like the AppleTV, where you can use your iOS device to type into the TV, which is obviously much better than using the remote. Lame it's not working for me, though.
- There is an iPad specific app which I have looked at but I haven't used with the TV (I don't know if it consolidate the various panes, will update).
So, I dunno how important these services and Internet features are to you. I personally will be using my iPad or Phone to deal with Facebook, twitter, etc -- even though image retention and burn-in are much less likely to be a problem on modern plasmas, I don't really feel like tempting fate with having a static web browser interface on the screen while I am surfing the web.
Tried the 3D:
1 - 2D-3D conversion was nothing to write home about. I didn't know if it was working half the time. Maybe I did something wrong, but it just gave me a headache.
2 - Straight up 3D is awesome. Watched beginning of Hugo and found it hard to press "Stop". If you are into the 3D, you MAY want to get the 55" for a more immersive experience, but the 50" was fantastic, regardless. I still think the glasses make your eyes get tired, but still--the depth is really great, and the sense of immersion with "floaty-bits" was really top notch, at least in "Hugo". Look, 3D might look brighter on the LED/LCD set I had before, but there was a sense of depth here that I felt lacking in the Samsung I tried out.
3 - I have a few "THX" Blu-rays. I watched them in "THX Cinema" mode and they looked awesome. Maybe THX is not necessarily just hype?
4 - Demo'ed the streaming services. Vudu's HDX format is no joke--it looks incredible, close (from my viewing distance) to Blu-ray, totally. HOWEVER, I could not get Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 (which is supposed to sound GREAT) output from the Toslink output on the TV. I am pretty sure DD+ requires HDMI, so that explains it. Still, DD+ includes the DD 5.1 mix and that sounded great. I was really impressed with the Vudo service and I think I will use it. Amazon and Netflix both looked great as well. I still like the AppleTV UI, but this ain't half bad.
Note: I talked to someone on the Panasonic "Raise the Bar" tour and she acknowledged that the iOS remote control app had some issues (the Android one is supposed to work fine) and that my problem (the keyboard not working) was going to be fixed soon.
Vudu HDX content:
Dark room, off-axis viewing, left side:
Light room, off axis, right side (forgive drapery, bright day!):
Dark room, off axis, right
Swivel Angle, top view:
Apparently only the 50" model swivels at this point.
hope this helps,