on April 15, 2013
I will keep this as brief as I can and will not get too technical. I have done a lot of the research and visited the HDTV enthusiast forums and looked high and low for the right TV in my price range. The TV I was told to buy from several sources was the Panasonic ST50. That TV was discontinued to make way for it's replacement (2013) model the ST60, so I got it. I have been nothing but pleased with this TV and it's features.
If you want a superior quality pictures with all the right blacks and vivid colors, look no further. If you just want a great TV for the money, look no further. How this TV gets this quality at this price range is a mystery to me. It is a plasma TV, and there are some advantages and dis-advantages to that. Mostly advantages, but not for everyone. Disadvantages that might disqualify this TV to someone could be the weight, since plasma TVs are a bit heavier... so if you plan on hanging this somewhere that the weight might be an issue, get an LCD. Also if you view TV in the daytime in a room with a ton of windows for some reason (your likely watching soaps), you might want an LCD that handles highly lit rooms a little better. It is also a bit more fragile than an LCD and the glass is more likely to break if something hits it (kids toy, wii remote etc), you can buy a screen protector to solve that issue, but you will spend an extra $140 or so.
Anyhow, I have compared this TV to the ST50 and the quality of the image is the same. They use identical boards and screen tech. The only noticeable changes has been updates to the Smart TV interface and options and the slight difference in appearance (ST50 had transparent plastic rim along the frame of the TV, the ST60 has a small silver rim. The remote is also slightly different, the new one is not backlit and the 4-way controller around the "ok" button is now 5 buttons and not one connected pad. The ST60 comes with two pairs of 3D glasses, the ST50 came with none. The ST60 can also use the new Panasonic Pen (does not come with the pen) that can be used to draw on the screen to alter photos, draw pictures and play games (seems like a useless feature, I would not let my kids advance on my TV screen with a pen). In every other way the same TV.
Note: You should break in new Plasma screen TVs by allowing them roughly 100 hours of viewing before you watch too much TV with sidebars, Netflix interface and games with static HUD elements. They can potentially cause burn in if left on screen too long. Modern Plasma has mostly eliminated these issues, but it is a good idea to break in the phosphorus at the same rate if for nothing else to give your TV the best chance at a long life of use. Some people run color slides like a photo slideshow to break in their new plasma TVs... while this is not really necessary, it is common practice and I did it myself. It is just a good way to control the break-in process and it makes you feel like videophile (even if pointless).
There you have it, my bloated review of an awesome TV.
If you read nothing else, read this. This TV is a great buy. Amazon is a great place to buy this TV, so if you can afford it, and don't need the bleeding edge $4k TV... get this one it's just as good.
on April 17, 2013
I am definitely not a videophile but am a techie. So when searching for a TV to replace our twenty year old Sony tube (which is still great) I was able to catch on pretty quickly to new features. Our list was fairly simple: light TV viewing, medium movie viewing, light video game usage, light web and apps usage, $1500 or less and 50+ inches.
As my daughter and I drove to Costco she poured over the March 2013 Consumer Reports and had concluded that we should get a Panasonic plasma. I like Panasonic but has reservations about plasma based on vague anecdotes about short life spans and energy use. We arrived at Costco and were lucky enough to quickly find their electronics guru. I described our criteria and he firmly recommended the Panasonic ST and VT plasma's but said Costco did not carry them.
We looked around Costco's impressive selection and asked for guidance. Features aside, our eyes easily picked out the sharpest pictures and they were the Samsung Smart TVs in the $1550 - $2800 range (we didn't bother to look at the more expensive sets). The $1550 Samsung did not have 3D, had a plain plastic bezel and was at the high end of our price range so we were at an impasse. The friendly guru reminded us that in his estimation, the Panasonic ST50 (exactly the one Consumer Reports raved about) or the 2013 version, ST60, was his first choice by far in our price range. We left empty-handed.
That evening we researched the Panasonic and found that it really was in a class by itself for the price, underscored by CNET's 5-star rave review. So we headed to a local video store the next night and checked out their selection and came to the same conclusion: Samsung Smart TVs and a couple others had outstanding pictures. But the Panasonic Viera 55" ST60, at nearly half the price, stood fearlessly among the best. The decision was easy. Not surprisingly, the store was fully stocked on Friday but by Monday night had only one left in the region so we had to drive further to selfishly snag it.
We've barely scratched the surface but setup was easy and the remote is fine though not universal. The picture is jaw-dropping and is plenty bright in our fairly sunny living room. The user interface is impressive and easy to navigate (Netflix, YouTube, web, etc.). On a humorous note, my daughter downloaded the Panasonic app for her iPhone and commandeered the TV, rendering my remote useless. Then, with a flick of her fingers, swiped a picture from her iPhone onto the TV screen. We will send in the rebate to order a touch pen that allows drawing on-screen and, apparently, is free.
Worth noting: because the TV's processing power is so robust, it is prone to something called the "Soap Opera Effect" (Google it). This is not unique to Panasonic. The TV interpolates frames to make the picture as smooth as possible. In most contexts this is probably desirable. But watching a movie I immediately sensed something bothersome. The movie lost a certain richness and didn't look like film, but more a nicely produced PBS British serial. Fortunately, a quick Googling provided guidance: simply turn down / off motion smoothing. In the ST60's case, it's a menu option called "Motion Smooth." Upon turning it off, we were instantly dropped into the front row of a grand cinema.
[update May 25, 2013]
So far, the TV has worked flawlessly. We still have not used the 3D feature. No trouble viewing, regardless of room's light conditions or viewing angle. The user interface is good and responsive.
The apps are very cool but there is one major shortcoming: typing. Unlike a computer, tablet or smartphone, each app handles typing differently. So YouTube, Pandora, Web Browser, et al, each have a unique approach (i.e. non-platform standard) to accepting user input. I could be wrong about this, but even though the remote has letters printed on the main number keys, they do not seem to work from app to app. Instead, I invariably use the 4-point directional keys to "hunt and peck" each letter. I do not (yet) know if this is user-ignorance, a shortcoming of the Panasonic's or smart TVs in general.
On the Big-Thing-Little-Thing scale this is little. All said, I would buy the TV again in a heartbeat.
on April 20, 2013
Upon arrival, the shipper said he really expected the screen to be shattered as the bottom of the box was VERY beat up and the tape barely holding. Also, the shipper said he was concerned about holes in the sides of the box maybe from a forklift pushing it around or something.
After about 14 days, the TV developed an intermittent fault where the power LED would come on but the screen would not come on. It does this about once every 30 or so power cycles. Turn it back off for a few and it would then come back on normally. So that is why I'm returning this TV. I am not knocking my rating of this panel down because I think the fault is likely because of rough handling by the shipper and is NOT Panasonic's fault nor is it Amazon's fault.
Cedric L at Amazon has been very kind so far in starting the return process. Also, Cedric L at Amazon is the guy who got the shipment "unstuck" immediately when it was seemingly not moving from Denver. More good about Amazon: When this TV was first listed, I purchased at 1699.99. A few days later, Amazon was super friendly about price matching to Sears first at 1499 and then again at 1350 when I saw the price dropped further going from Sears cart to checkout.
Amazon: Very friendly, super professional. The best, IMHO.
Regarding the TV: I'm not a videophile, so here are my limited observations: I was absolutely astounded at the picture quality. I participate in the AVS Forum, so I found forum participant D-Nice's custom calibration for the ST60 and this took it to a whole 'nother level of awesome. I was amazed this calibrator lists his setting free gratus for AVS Forum members. The pro menus for custom calibration apparently allow good calibrators like D-Nice to really dial things in. D-Nice says he will have custom 3D settings listed soon...
The sound is not very good, but I didn't rate the TV down for this as I've read that most panel TV's have kinda' limited sound as the manufacturer expects everyone to use an outside stereo system and I personally believe that most people probably do.
The AR (anti reflective) filter works well and I can watch daytime TV with fairly significant amounts of light coming through supposed black out curtains. The curtains are pretty weak for allegedly being "black out". It is also acceptable with room lighting on. There is glare in these situations, however, I believe if they made the screen totally anti reflective like old matte finish monitor LCD screens, too much picture quality would be lost just to get rid of the last of the glare. So my take on this AR coating is: It is the right amount to attenuate glare somewhat without taking away from this set's awesome PQ.
The black subfilter strikes me as very effective. Knowledgeable persons in the AVS Forum have tested the black levels and they are pretty extremely good. Maybe not the best out there, but probably the best in a fairly budget oriented Smart TV.
One negative: The ST60 apparently has more background processes running than earlier generations of similar models. Since the processor isn't significantly faster than previous models, there is quite a bit of added input lag. I saw photo proof of actual tests by AVS Forum members with the knowledge and equipment to test the panel compared to the ST50 (last year's model) etc. Unfortunately for gamers, the ST60 is considerably slower than the previous model returning gaming input lag between 80 and 107ms. I am an amateur gamer on a PS3 so while I probably noticed a little difference, I didn't find it to be a deal breaker. However, competitive gamers in AVS are reporting that it is just too much lag.
My recommendation: If you are an amateur gamer like me and use the TV less than 10% of your TV time for games, I believe this really is an amazing BEST BUY and I highly recommend it. If you are a competitive gamer or use the TV 50% or more of your TV time for gaming, it may not be the best panel for you.
How to know? If you aren't certain on the lag issue: Some of the AVS members say that their local Best Buy let them bring their game console in and try it out. As for me, I knew within 10 minutes I wanted to keep the set regardless or input lag measurements. I would rather the input lag had not degraded a lot from last year's model, but the price/PQ (picture quality) is amazing. I think if you try it out as just mentioned in a showroom, you will quickly know if it is ok for you or not.
However, even if you go to a showroom to check for lag with your game console, I still strongly recommend making the final purchase with Amazon. Amazon has been extremely good to me over the years and NEVER MORE SO than now when this somewhat expensive item developed an intermittent fault.
A+ for Amazon. Panny needs to do better with the lag issue or other makers may leave them behind. However, I still rate this TV an excellent value FOR CERTAIN BUYERS as already outlined. Price compared to picture quality is amazingly GREAT! (IMHO)
edit: Panasonic customer support has told several AVS Forum members that Panasonic will not be issuing a software/firmware update aimed at improving lag time. People were asking them if they could make a new firmware allowing more background processes to be turned off allowing the panel to have less input lag. Just so you know: The answer is NO. Just sayin'.
I will update this review one more time to discuss how the return and refund process went. I'm pretty confident I'll be publishing yet more positive feedback for Amazon. These guys really treat me like I'm a customer. I feel like I matter to them.
on June 10, 2013
Beginning with some words to the wise: 1) Be sure to get a warranty. 2) Check out any issues that occur on your own rather than depend upon someone in a state of panic who thinks the has thrown a bundle of money away on a faulty set. 3) On the other hand, be wary of the numerous people who because they buy a set they think they have to recommend it.
Only about 15 months ago I bought a Sony BRAVIA KDL46HX820 46-Inch 1080p 3D LED HDTV with Built-In Wi-Fi, Black, and I found the picture to be better than I could have imagined. But then a little more than two months after the warranty expired, the set died. Turn the tv on and it would turn itself off, displaying for a second or two its beautiful picture, followed by the ready light ominously blinking four times in a row. Fortunately I had bought an extended warranty. Sony wouldn't repair the set, but I got the money provided by the warranty minus the cost for a technician to come and verify the four blinks; they signify an electronic part, such as capacitor no longer functions (you can google to find out what the number of blinks, 1 to 14, signify on a Sony Bravia).
Looking into to other brands, I checked out the higher end Samsungs, only to discover that they too frequently have a comparable issue, arousing some consumer groups looking to sue. Then I read about the Panasonic plasmas being highly recommended,though they like the Sony's and Samsung's are expected to be replaced eventually by OLED's. (Some reviewers claim that it will be some time before OLED and 4K will have the high res media to show.) There are also occasional reports of image burn-ins, seemingly, usually, by people who use the set for games.
And on this site I saw that at least one or two people mentioned that their Panasonics did not deliver Netflix well. After going through different break-in routines recommended on the AVSForum and CNET, see below, I, too, found that Netflix would sometimes have a very dark screen, which increasing screen brightness did not improve to the extent needed.
I sure did not want to have to pick out another set, especially since I decided that apparently they all can have some issues. It then occurred to me that Amazon offered 30 days of free technical support to those who buy tv sets from Amazon directly, and so I had tech support phone me. A polite person named Scott E. phoned, quite patient and I imagine excellent with distraught consumers. (I can be distraught, so I appreciate someone who can be patient, listen quite carefully, and try not at all to interrupt--capabilities which I tend not to possess and am too old to acquire.) He listened to what I had to say and then recommended some changes to the setup of the Panasonic and scheduled another phone call in a few days to see if the changes made a difference. In the meanwhile he sent me an email with some other ideas that had occurred to him. As far as I can see he was spot on. And I had never found, either on the Panasonic site, or the AVSforum anything comparable to the remedy Scott proposed: if Netflix, Amazon, etc., anything being streamed isn't bright enough: a) Turn the Eco Navigation off (that is change the setting to Standard). The Eco arrangement is supposed to conserve power. b) Turn off the feature that adjusts screen lighting according to the lighting of the room (Menu > Picture > CATS, set to off). Of course, at some point I may have to increase broadband speed, since my household is using up more and more of it, which entails waiting to get the streamed broadcast cached.
Various people recommend a 100 hour or longer breaking period of the set, so that the phosphers age and become less susceptible to so-called image retention and burn-in.
[For a skeptical stance on the subject, see: [...]
There's a group on the AVSForum loyally devoted to a D-Nice who posted some images that can be put into a slide show and run on the ST60 (Menu > Media > (select the SD card that you have saved the images to) and slide show, to be run over and over; or use a flash memory card that you have saved the images to). The sometimes ambiguous information about the slides can be found, along with a zip archive of the slides, at: [...]
I ran the D-Nice slides for about 70 hours but wondered if the job might not be done better if more colors were involved and if there were more movement of images, so I switched over to a free video called the Plasma HDTV Burn-in Clip, available for download from youtube: [...] . Some comments now associated with the clip will tell you how to download it from youtube. Look for such help if you're not familiar with the subject (I used a special video capturing for the Mac, but I now see I could have grabbed the file more easily; you can also download an archive of the file, but it is in a less than common format and therefore somewhat problematic).
After a hundred hours dedicated to break-in with the D-Nice slide shows and the Plasma HDTV Burn-in and more time just watching the usually programming via Netflix and tv station broadcasts, the picture seemed to me to be much better than when the set was fresh out of its box. A very good picture indeed, though perhaps lacking the sharpness/brightness that I saw on my now dead Sony Bravia Hx. (Some guests told me that they didn't like the picture of the Sony LED; there may be a matter of taste here to be sure. Both the plasma and the LED pictures are fine with me.)
Currently I have no interest in watching or trying to watch 3D, which I assume does not yet represent a technology ready for tv. So I have nothing to say on the subject of 3D and the Panasonic, which I see several reviewers address.
Some reviewers remark on the quality of the sound from the ST60. It's better than what I used to get from the Sony and quite good enough unless you really do want home theater quality. The ST60 makes it very easy to switch to a home theater setup, much easier than what the Sony allowed for. The Panasonic support site recommended what I thought to be an amateurish way to switch (better than what they say, if you wanted to, you could just click the mute button on the remote control, as long as you've got the sound going into your home theater amplifier), but a proper way, it seems to me, is with the remote go to: APP > Viera Link > Speaker Output > Home theater
As to getting the best picture, there sure are lots of settings available, and it's a bit of a pain to configure them. On the AVSforum, apparently many of the subscribers are waiting for the famed D-Nice to publish his settings. Some people, I gather, after their set is broken in, pay for a calibration service, costing $100 or more reportedly. Others buy a DVD such as Disney WOW: World of Wonder [Blu-ray]. For now I am using what was recommended by CNET, with some modifications to compensate for the need to boost brightness for broadband reception of Netflix, Amazon, etc.: [...]
Some of the reviewers here write harshly about the Amazon white glove, or special handling, service for sets bought directly from them. One fellow didn't like the service and gave a one star to the set itself. (Dante might have a special place in the Inferno for his sort.)
Both the tv sets I bought from Amazon were delivered by the white glove service, and each time the delivery guys carefully brought the set up a flight of stairs to the room I specified, unpacked it, hooked it up and tested. (I gave the damn dead Sony to the last crew, suggesting that maybe they could find a used part to replace the broken one). The bottom line, I suspect is that the quality of the service can vary according to where you live and who Amazon is using. Raise hell with Amazon if the delivery guys don't do the job properly. The crew that delivered to me said they had 29 local deliveries to make that day; I don't know how much of it was for Amazon, but Amazon can represent a lot of business to such companies and if it rebukes the subcontractors, they likely will listen attentively.
Final point, I think the Panasonic remote is excellent compared to the one Sony furnished and to the stand alone ones that I tried. It might be nice to have more documentation, explaining for instance, why there are colored buttons on it that don't do anything when you're at different screens. Thus far I've experimented a little with apps for the iPhone and iPad to use instead of the remote, and though they seem easily usable, I haven't yet become entirely used to them to date, the Panasonic remote doing a fine job.
on August 13, 2013
This was my second Panasonic Viera TC-P65Sst series TV. The first is a 50" and I love the TV, the picture quality is just amazing. I have had no issues with that TV.
That lead me to purchase this larger TC-P65ST60-65" TV, I knew I already liked the picture quality and knew it was a great TV. Unfortunately about 3 weeks after I plugged the TV in a line developed across the middle of the screen. This horizontal line was there whenever the TV was on. The TV obviously is still under warranty so we called Panasonic. There response was it is your cable box. After testing various cable boxes and other devices it was clear the problem was the TV and not the cable box. Panasonic asked that we send a picture we did and asked that they send a technician out to fix our brand new TV or replace it.
Unbeknownst to me when I purchased this TV Panasonic's idea of customer service is blame others (Cable companies) and offer no real remedy. A week after the problem presented itself Panasonic still hadn't even acknowledged that the problem was something to do with the television.
Luckily we purchased the TV through Amazon and the customer service folks at Amazon stepped up to the plate and went above and beyond what I believe a retailer should have to do. They offered to exchange the TV and have shipped us a new TV. I haven't had a chance to set that one up yet, but I hope it works well because I know how Panasonic will offer to help. Panasonic still never accepted there was a problem. I still have the one TV that looks good and works well (50") and have friends that have Panasonic TV's they haven't had trouble with so if you like playing the lottery the TV's look great. But if the TV stops working expect headaches from Panasonic.
on October 5, 2013
Image retention is worse than I initially realized. The digital on-screen graphics from baseball games (for example) take many, many hours to disappear. Even leaving the screen wipe on overnight doesn't completely remove them. And I spent enough time in the menu during the initial calibration that the VIERA logo from the menu has "burned in" so badly that it is still faintly visible a month later. I highly doubt that IR is this stubborn on the F8500, so that - along with brightness - is a reason to consider purchasing that model instead of a Panasonic.
Line bleed hasn't shown any improvement yet.
Color temperature had gotten quite a bit warmer since my first calibration (color temperature gradually shifts warmer on all plasmas as they age).
Color is more accurate after the second calibration. Average color error with Color Checker patterns is 0.85 dE.
I still love this TV, but the ABL and image retention are significant flaws.
+ Black level is excellent. My meter measures it at 0.003 fL, resulting in an on/off contrast ratio of ~13,500:1 and an ANSI contrast ratio of ~8,100:1.
+ Overall post-calibration color accuracy is good.
+ I haven't noticed any significant color gradation problems. Reviews indicate that this is still an issue on the 2013 Panasonic plasmas, but I really haven't found it to be a problem.
- This is not a bright TV, even by plasma standards. At high or even moderate APL, the TV's luminance is severely limited. It's noticeably dimmer than my older, cheaper plasma, much dimmer than the Samsung F8500 plasma, and obviously much, *much* dimmer than LCDs. ABL is worse than I was hoping for. If you are highly bothered by ABL and/or will be using the TV in a bright room, then you should strongly consider buying an F8500 instead of a Panasonic model.
- Line bleed has been noticeable during normal viewing on several occasions. I'm *hoping* this is something that may diminish as the panel ages.
- Image retention has been a problem. Static images such as station logos or sports scores can cause persistent IR. Like line bleed, I'm *hoping* this may improve as the panel ages, but it likely won't.
- Pixel noise/dithering is not bad enough to be highly distracting, but it is bad enough to be noticeable (from a relatively close viewing distance).
- The bezel is reflective and tacky.
- The pedestal doesn't swivel. Swivel stands seem to be going extinct as manufacturers dump money into features like comically useless touch pen compatibility and gaudy chrome trim.
- Panasonic is the only company I know of that configures power lights to be on when the TV is on and off when the TV is off. Most manufacturers design the power LED to be on when the TV is off and off when the TV is on so the light isn't a distraction when using the TV.
- Like all plasmas, the ST60 buzzes, but the buzzing is so minimal that I don't consider it to be a notable flaw. My other plasma buzzes louder than this.
* Color temperature shifts warmer with larger fields (higher APL) and cooler with smaller fields (lower APL). Issues like this are normal on plasmas, and it seems pretty minor on the ST60.
* The picture settings on this TV are a step forward for Panasonic's mid-level plasmas, but they still lag behind what is found on some competing televisions and the pricier VT60. Because the ST60 has 10-point white balance instead of 20-point, I was unable to perfect the color temperature below 10 IRE (it is too red). And secondary colors, especially cyan, would benefit from a CMS.
* I haven't used 3D, smart features or the internal speakers, and I haven't done any gaming on the TV. So I can't comment on any of that.
* No problems with the delivery - a couple guys came over, assembled it, and it was all over with pretty quickly.
Overall, this is an excellent TV. The negative points that I mentioned are mostly just minor gripes. The only thing that I consider to be a major flaw is the ST60's luminance limitations. ABL on the ST60 can be easily noticed with a lot of normal content. If you look at a VT60 next to an F8500 in a Magnolia room, you will see the difference - it is pretty striking. My meter measured peak brightness at ~52 fL, ANSI white at ~24.5 fL and full field white at ~13 fL. Those are worse brightness levels than my much cheaper 2010 720p Zenith plasma. Other than that, this TV is everything that I hoped for.
I calibrated my 55" ST60 with an X-Rite ColorMunki Display colorimeter, and if anyone is interested, these are the settings that resulted from the calibration [Updated 1/11/14]:
Picture mode: Cinema
Color temp.: Warm2
Vivid color: Off
Video NR: Off
MPEG NR: Off
Motion smoother: Off
Panel brightness: Mid
Black extension: 0
Color gamut: Normal
W/B detail adjustment
W/B High R: -4
W/B High G: 0
W/B High B: 2
W/B Low R: 1
W/B Low G: -1
W/B Low B: -1
10 IRE: -24, 0, 28
20 IRE: -8, 0, 12
30 IRE: 0, 0, 4
40 IRE: 0, 0, -5
50 IRE: 0, 0, -5
60 IRE: 0, 0, -3
70 IRE: 0, 0, -1
80 IRE: 0, 0, 1
90 IRE: -2, 0, 1
100 IRE: -2, 0, 8
Color detail adjustment
Red hue: -8
Red saturation: 32
Red luminance: 3
Green hue: 16
Green saturation: 40
Green luminance: 1
Blue hue: -2
Blue saturation: -10
Blue luminance: -5
Gamma detail adjustment
10 IRE: -19
20 IRE: -10
30 IRE: -5
40 IRE: 0
50 IRE: 0
60 IRE: 0
70 IRE: 0
80 IRE: -1
90 IRE: -1
100 IRE: -3
on June 19, 2013
I have researched Panasonic TV's for over 5 months. Switching from GT50, to VT50, to eventually landing the ST60. I'm glad I did.
If i were to rate this TV right out of the box, i would have given it 2 or 3 stars. I was a little dissapointed with the picture, but keep in mind, this is right out of the box. I watched it on standard, vivid, cinema and I really wasn't getting a good picture. So for the first 12 hours i watched HD programming (no static images, no black side bars). I then turned to D-Nice.
For those of you who don't know who D-nice is, he is supposedly a professional calibrater who is nice enough to post break-in instructions and calibration settings for HD TV's. It just so happened he had one for the ST60. So if i figured at this point I have nothing to lose. He recommended using Break-in (panel prep) slides for 100 hours. He provides a download for the slides. So i saved the slides to my external hard drive and plugged them in my TV and ran them for 100 hours straight.
I didnt know whether i could watch TV in between running the slides, or had to run the slides for 100 hours straight. I couldn't find a clear answer, so just to be safe I ran them for 100 hours straight with no interruption.
Now there is a lot of debate of whether break-in slides are even necessary or not. I cant tell you they are or aren't but I used them and had good results. Some people say that you will be fine just watching HD. For me it makes sense to use them because I think it does break the phosphors in evenly. Thats just my opinion.
So after the 100 hours I calibrated the TV using D-Nice's settings and WOW. What a difference! The picture is superb and I am very very happy with this TV. I have the 60 inch ST60 and the picture is awesome after I did the slides and calibration.
I havent used 3D yet so I can not comment on that. The one default of this TV from what I here is the input lag, and this is significant if you are a gamer. I stopped playing video games after Super Nintendo so its a non-issue for me.
Now since these things are mass produced, what might work for 1 person may not work for another, I am just sharing my experience and what I did about it.
on May 27, 2013
I returned a Sharp 70 inch LCD for this model and I am very happy with it thus far. Plasma produces a far better picture to my eyes than LCD and this TV delivers a magnificent picture.
I used the settings provided by CNET and sat down to test it out watching the first scenes of Prometheus. The difference in definition was night and day with the Sharp. Details in the rocks, the sky, and the breaking clouds, was exceptionally clear.
For my first full movie, I watched Phantasm 2 on Blu Ray. I was blown away by the picture quality. The colors are lush and the blacks are as deep as outer space. Deep blacks are where this tv excels. Shadows looked so deep... I enjoy my movies so this is really impressing me thus far.
I tried to watch Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3-D, but my the television "told me" that I needed a 3-D blu ray player too, which I didn't know. I really wasn't looking for a 3-D TV to begin with really. I did try it by using an On Demand 3-D movie on surfing and it looked fine.
Some reviewers complained about an input lag on video gaming, mostly people playing first person shooters like Call of Duty and such. I'm more of a fighting game/sports game player and I noticed no lag at all thus far playing my favorite games. In NHL 2013, my passes were as crisp as ever as well as my shot. In Injustice, I was able to pull off the same fighting combos I was before and noticed no lag at all. Is it possible the lag being mentioned is caused by a lousy internet connection or something? This was seriously something I was worried about but it seems to be a non-factor in my case.
As far as delivery goes, well, the "white glove" treatment consisted of two guys who proceeded to speak their own language to each other while in my home for 10 minutes, so I could understand nothing they said at all. Only English I heard was, "See? Tv work?" and "sign here." They weren't exactly "spring fresh" either, but I can understand a guy putting in a hard day's work. Still, I felt it was a bit rude to go on and on in another language, and it made me feel a little uncomfortable.
Overall, I'm fairly impressed with how Amazon handled my particular situation and recommend Amazon Prime to those that do enough business to merit the cost. Lisa, Emily, Oscar and Ed in customer support could not have been more pleasant to deal with.
As for the TV, I've only had it a few days and it blows the Sharp out of the water. My advice to Amazon customers considering a television purchase is to go with the best reviewed TV you can afford. When you think about it, a lot of time is spent watching our televisions, especially folks like me that enjoy video games, sports and movies. You might as well get something that provides the best picture you can. This Panasonic plasma delivers a great picture with inky, dark blacks, lush colors, and crystal clear definition on Hi-Def.
Thus far, very impressive!
As for this TV, well, it was a little more than I had originally budgeted, but so far it seems to be worth it.
If you are looking for a full internet browsing experience on this TV, you will be disappointed. The TV does not allow Flash for whatever reason. Pretty lame to say it is a "smart" TV if you can't even surf the web normally. If anyone knows of updates to fix this, please leave a note here. I bumped off a star for this, but it isn't a deal breaker for me. In hindsight, the Sharp TV offered a better web browser by far. Panasonic dropped the ball in this regard.
on June 1, 2013
Great picture out of the box, (home theater mode is very good) but you can find numerous settings examples online by professional calibrators that will further improve the picture quality, I used D-nices settings after 100 hours break in period.
I did 5 months of research before buying a TV, initially I was shopping for an LED TV thinking the new technology was the best but the more I read, the moree I realized Plasmas still had the best picture quality hands down. People get sold on the fact that LED TVs are brighter but unless you're going to watch TV on a beach, the brightness of the ST60 is plenty. The other perception about Plasmas is that they use a lot more electricity than LEDs but if you do the math it's only $15-$18 more per year and Plasmas are cheaper than comparable LEDs so at the end you're actually paying less.
Why is the plasma picture and in particular the picture quality on the ST60 very good, for starters the black levels, the darker the black the more the other colors will pop and this TV set has some of the darkest blacks ever before the more expensive Panasonic VT60 and ZT60 were released. The other reason the picture on this TV is better than any LED is uniformity, edge lid LEDs suffer of uneven picture, especially noticeable on bigger screens like 55" and up. You would have to buy a more expensive full-array LED backlighting with local dimming TV to get close to the picture of any plasma for that matter.
I read a one star review on the ST60 because of lack of bluetooth (not sure if it is true or not) and poor 3D but call me old school but I still buy a TV for the picture quality, because that's what it's primarily going to get used for in my house for thousands of hours (this screen rated for 100,000 hours). 3D is still a little bit of a gimmick, the best TVs have 3D so not a big deal with me, I watched a few movies with my kids and they got tired of 3D already and prefer watching movies in 2D.
This TV is best value on the planet!
on December 7, 2013
By now you have probably read other reviews praising this TV and explaining all the basics. So I will only briefly cover them:
- Best Picture Quality/Black Levels I have ever seen without spending $1800+, and even in that class it is often just as good!
- For Plasma beginners, make sure to go to cnet and get good picture settings to start out (just google "best st60 settings") after you have got a solid 100 hours put in (or even if you don't, IMO, its best for beginners)
- The 3D isn't the 'best', but it is very good and people who just want a cool 3D experience will be very happy. Also, it is very cool that you can up-convert any 2D signal to 3D (and I mean ANY signal, I even tried it on I Love Lucy... which was terrible but none the less an impressive attempt)
- Daytime performance is fine, sometimes you overthink yourself when you read reviews that say "LED performs best in daytime viewing". That is undoubtedly true in the sense that LED produces a brighter picture generally speaking, and some Plasma's do indeed have some pretty low brightness causing high reflections. However, the ST60 class includes a special filter to reduce reflections and has very strong brightness for a Plasma. In other words, it shouldn't really bother you. Don't expect fantastic mind blowing performance, but you can feel secured that you will still love it. The absolutely jaw dropping evening performance alone is worth it.
- Smart Features are plentiful and work well (I love how Panny includes a Netflix button). Nothing you can't already get out of your regular video game system/Apple TV or Roku, but still it is convenient sometimes to have this stuff built in.
Now on to the non-basics that many people are wondering about....
INPUT LAG: I play Call of Duty and many other FPS as well as some other games like The Last of Us, mostly as a gamer somewhere between casual and hardcore. I am not a diehard COD gamer or anything, but I do play it a few times a week if I have time. However, I purchased a PlayStation 4 soon after acquiring this TV so I can't speak to the performance of "last gen" game consoles. For PC and next-gen gamers, I can report positive results. On next-gen consoles it performs pretty well (with Game Mode ON!). I have put about 15 hours into Call of Duty since the end of November, and for the most part I do not notice it at all. Other times you get a MINOR sense that it is there, but I think I am just trying to find something to blame when I get killed (you know its never your fault when you die). For PC gamers, you are probably going to need some time to adjust to it. This is because most PC gamers are very picky (I mean that with no offense) and they are used to very low input lag. For some reason, the ST60 handles console games a lot better then from a PC in my experience. Overall, if you are a regular console gamer who plays mainstream shooters like Call of Duty and you want very badly to buy this TV but are frightened by the input lag stories... don't worry and just buy it. You will be very happy. Trust me on that one. For PC gamers, you will just have to make the hard choice. Get one of the best value TV's ever made and adjust to some minor lag, or take it down a notch to the still-fantastic but not as good S60 (which has half the input lag, much more on par with regular TVs for a great price).
Finally, the price. Even at the current price (Amazon is showing $1199 for the 50" presently), it is well worth it. I love this TV and it is one of the best electronics I have ever bought in my life. With that said, it is sort of a catch 22 when it comes to finding your best deal. On one hand, Panasonic is no longer manufacturing them or any Plasmas (very sad, as they were the best in the business) so most retailers are trying very hard to clear as much stock as possible and are cutting the margins very deeply. However on the other hand, much of the stock clearing has been ongoing since the summer and it is getting very hard to find these televisions, which actually drives demand and price back up to regular levels. In my case, I bought an S60 for $599 from Sears, and they did not have it in stock even though their website said they did when I purchased it. However, the manager was unbelievably awesome (and a bit of a moron) and price matched an ST60 for the same price! So, while you may want to be patient and wait for a great deal (I've seen 60" for $997 at Fry's and Microcenter), you also run the risk of those deals never happening again with retailer inventories so incredibly low. If you can snag one for less than $1200, you did well and you will be satisfied for a very long time.
Good luck! Overall I would grade this TV a 9.8 out of 10, because NO TV is perfect. Don't overthink it, just buy it and enjoy it!