TV Quest 2011 finished, for me at least, when I purchased a 58-inch Panasonic P58VT25 plasma TV in late 2010. It’s a fantastic set, and has served me extremely well over the last year. The set produces a consistently excellent 2D picture, has plenty of inputs, and looks great in my living room. That’s what a TV should do, right?
The secret of plasma is two-fold--the pixels are very fast and serve as their own light source. Working together, those two traits produce a crisp picture with virtually no ghosting and true blacks. Of all the TVs I researched and looked at, the VT25 line looked the best--at least in my price range.
Perhaps it more informative to talk about the features I’ve never really touched in the TV.
Yes, the VT25 is a top-of-the-line set, equipped with active shutter 3D and a handful of apps. Although I’ve watched a handful of 3D movies and played Call of Duty: Black Ops in 3D mode, I haven’t used the 3D mode in months. In order to take advantage of the 3D effect, I have to dim every light in the house and don a pair of uncomfortable, heavy, active-shutter 3D glasses. The glasses are uncomfortable over my normal glasses, and the 3D effect just isn’t worth the hassle.
The same goes double for apps on my TV. Instead of using the cut-rate apps provided with the TV, I take advantage of its many HDMI ports to connect to the services I use most--Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube, Hulu Plus, and iTunes--using top-of the line clients on other boxes. I haven’t visited my TVs apps screen since the day I set the TV up since it was slow and awkward.
What’s the upshot? I’ve realized that the only thing that really matter for TVs, at least to me, is picture quality. Apps and 3D are just fancy gimmicks that shouldn’t distract you from the ultimate goal--piping great looking video straight into your eyeballs.