on October 22, 2012
If you are like me and are undecided on which series of Panasonic to get here is the skinny.
1st. If you are swayed by THX certification don't be, THX certification costs money for Panasonic so they only got it for their top two series televisions, the VT and GT. The certification doesn't mean much anyways, only that THX took that specific preset and set the levels to their own specifications. You can do the exact same with custom. The ST has the exact same picture panel as the GT and using custom settings you can achieve 99% of the picture quality as the GT, the only difference is the gray scale level settings in the pro menu, 2 point vs 10 point I believe, which to the naked eye will be negligible to most viewers anyways, even to most videophile snobs despite what they say. I personally never used the THX settings anyways on my past Panasonics preferring to use my own settings with custom.
2nd. Truly, the only real difference between GT and ST is the design of the TV and the dual core processor for graphic speeds while using the browser on the GT, which I use a laptop for anyways but if you want to use this as your monitor, which I don't recommend using plasma screens for monitors, then perhaps the processor speed is better for you. For aesthetics, it's clearly a personal preference but if you like the look of the GT over the ST and it's worth the money to you go for it but don't spend the extra cash thinking it's going towards better picture quality.
3rd. Buzzing. Don't let another person's over sensitive ear turn you away from these sets. This also depends on the individual though so go to a store and turn the sound off a set and listen up close. I can understand some people are plain sensitive to sounds, sights, smells and all other manners of disturbances but the buzzing on these tvs is way overhyped. When people hear the word buzz they tend to think of a fly in their ear or metalic rattling or vibration sound but on the plasmas its more of a low humming. I can really only hear it when I have the set muted during commercials. ALL plasmas do this and if you never heard it and are nervous once you hear it you will no doubt be in disbelief what others are complaining about, it's nothing. I don't know if some sets are more "buzzy" than others but my two sets absolutely, positively can not be heard with even low volume on and even when muted and humming during muted white background scenes it's very hard to hear from in front of the set and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. If it was more of a rattle, or vibrating metalic sound I think I would be annoyed but its just a low hum during screenshots with high white levels.
4th. Image retention/Burn in. I have read that the ST's suffer from burn in more easily than past models and I think this is false based on most of the complaints seem to come from people who open up the box hook up their ps3 set the tv to vivid or game mode and start going to town only to turn off the console and switch it over to the game. That is a surefire way to have your health meter or the score of your favorite team permanently scorched into your set. If this is your first foray into plasma and have been reading about burn ins and are nervous about it just follow the advice of every site that tells you to let your tv settle in for the first 100 hours or so. Yeah that means for about a week after you got your living room Ferrari you can't really put it into full throttle yet but it's worth the wait. I always turn all my settings way down below 50, especially brightness, for the first week or so and zoom in on any game or news channel with a ticker or bug(channel logo). Image retention shouldn't frighten you, it's normal and goes away quickly if you have broken your tv in properly. These sets get better over time. These newer model sets are head and shoulders more resistant to burn in then the first models of plasma anyways. You almost have to try to burn in an image after the set is broken in but with that being said, 100 hours is the recommended time but really take it easy for a good month of regular viewing before you start gaming hardcore on it and even then it's best to use the whitewash scroll bar every hour or so while gaming. Respect the tv and it will treat you well. Don't fall asleep in front of the tv while watching netflix or blu rays, these sets have off timers and if you think you are going to crash then set the tv to turn off in 60 minutes to be safe because it's just best not to ever let a static menu or any image sit on any plasma for hours on end but even if you do it's still highly unlikely you'll get permanent burn in but the image retention will probably last awhile before it goes away, usually the amount of time it was static on screen is the amount of time it takes to disappear with regular viewing. I generally let the scroll bar run every time for a cycle before I turn off the tv at night, it takes a minute and is like getting the oil changed in your car to keep it running efficiently.
5th. Glare. If you have it right in front of a window close the curtain. If you have a lightbulb dangling in front of the screen turn it off. It's a glass screen and there will be a little glare but unless you have a light source shining directly at the tv it will be fine. Regular lighting won't bother this set at all, i.e. floor and end table lamps, most overhead indirect lights won't be picked up on screen. If you have it underneath a chandelier I guess it might pick up some glare but otherwise don't worry about the glare this tv handles light like a champ and really this set will drop your jaw in low to dark light anyways but for those sunday football games don't worry you can watch the game without being worried about seeing the sad look on your face in the screen when your team fumbles it at the goal line. This set handles glare way better than what we're used to with plasmas. And in bright daytime light the screen is more than bright enough to not get washed out by indirect sunlight like some older models.
Lastly, Calibration. Right out of the box people that have never had an hdtv before will be impressed but others who have had hdtv's may not. The preset settings, imho, have always been junk and even on tube tvs I always tinkered with the settings to my liking. There are many sites that offer calibration settings and I recommend DNice's settings but don't be afraid to dive into the custom mode and set it up exactly the way it looks perfect to you. Also, every room has different lighting so settings that may look good on one set may not exactly look the same on the exact same set in another room. You won't ruin the tv tinkering around so make it perfect for you. Advanced videophiles accept under 3 color error calibration, basically tweaking the color settings to be as complimentary and natural as possible, is the acceptable picture quality setting and with this set you can get it calibrated to below 1 which is almost reference quality, meaning this would be the set experts would reference to compare all the other brand's sets picture quality too if it wasn't for the VT. It's that impressive and you can't just do that with any brand set by adjusting the settings, not many tv's can get subtle shades and hues just right no matter how many hours you spend futzing with the settings but this set is as close as it gets. Only the VT series can offer a better picture and it's because it offers many more settings to be controlled and adjusted and you will feel those extra contols in the wallet.
Overall, the ST provides all kinds of bang for the buck. It is a vast improvement even over last years flagship model VT series. What made last year's VT so enticing was it's black levels which have been improved on with this years ST, GT and VT. You are buying plasma for it's inky blacks and deep colors that pop on screen and the black widescreen bars practically disappears into the bezel and the colors are vibrant but natural and not over saturated like they were on my G25. It handles fast paced scenes really well but I turn off the motion smoother to get rid of the "soap opera effect" and action isn't stilted or juttered at all. The detail in darker scenes and the popping of the colors is what sets this tv apart from other brands. Watching nature documentaries in blu ray on this set is jaw dropping. Even Netflix HD looks killer on this. If what you are concerned about is picture quality and believe the extra money for the GT is going to give you a better picture then save your money and get the ST. Even cnet recommends the ST over the GT based solely on the price vs picture performance. If you are on a budget but want a top tier tv ST is it but if you truly have money to spare then skip both ST and GT and get the VT and have it professionally calibrated and you may end up with the best hdtv ever made yet just ask any Kuro owner who has seen this year's VT.
on March 6, 2012
I have owned Panasonic Plasmas in the past and I have to say I have always loved them, but hands down this TV is in a whole new ball park. The picture is absolutely astounding. It simply blows any other TV I have ever seen away. I cant recommend this one enough. I have told everyone I know how good this thing is and the friends who have seen it in person are saying the same. I actually converted a few of my friends and convinced them not to buy one of the new LED TVs after seeing it.
I do want to give a plug here to the AVSFORUM guys. I really appreciate the recommendation on this one and am glad I bought this one rather than last years model.
BUY THIS TV!
on March 11, 2012
Well, I use the term 'perfect' by most people's standards. I'm sure professioanl calibrators and very picky videophiles can find numbers to show where there can be a lot of improvement, just as with all tvs, However, I likely represent the majority in what constitutes being considered almost perfect for a tv.
I certainly have not had the tv calibrated or even changed the settings much. However, the picture is stunning as it is and calibration would only make it that much better, although possibly less stunning for those who want that more than realism. :) I would say the contrast is too high and for me personally there seems to be too much of a reddish skin tone, but all of that can be dealt with when I feel like changing settings.
The bottom line is that the picture is great, to my eye the blacks seem very good, audio is the best of any tv I have tried, the price is amazing, the awesome uniformity and viewing angles of plasma, improved motion compared with last year (apparently), etc...
I say the audio is awesome, but keep in mind I have only been using tv speakers for years and years, so I am not comparing with surround systems. As horrible as most tv speakers sound, though, these sound better to me. During normal tv shows, the news, etc... I was thinking it sounds too "off in the distance". But when I watched Sucker Punch and had the volume a bit louder, I was amazed at the bass and just overall substance of audio. Maybe I am mistaking bad audio for good audio just because it's different, but it sounds good to me personally and someone online ahd said Panasonic apparently did some change in speakers, which would explain the differences.
The only negatives I can come up with, which are quite minor, are:
1. Puts out a TON of heat. Even for plasma, it seems much warmed to me than the st30 sets did. Maybe I have it brighter than I did on those though.
2. Only 3 hdmi inputs.
3. Only one hybrid composite/coomponent input. So you can only use ONE out of those two types combined.
4. At first didn't ntoice you have to go to the input list and press an arrow button to set it to component or else if yuo use a component hookup it is treated as composite and the picture is only black and white.
5. No audio/headphone jack. I have tried many tvs from 2011 and a couple 2012 tvs and almost all of them had this, but the Panny does not.
All minor things to deal with in exchange for great picture quality and sound quality. The only way I will be returning it is if I can't get it to stop hurting my head. I've had tons of both plasma and eld sets bothering my head or eyes. This is not much different. It feels like something tightened around my head when I watch it. Maybe flicker, maybe reflections, maybe who knows what else. I'm going to be depressed if I have to return such a great tv because I've tried most everything else and nothing with great picture quality is easy on my head and eyes for some reason.
The GT50 sets come out this month and are likely to be technically better, but not worth the $700 or so extra in cost, I personally believe. On paper, anyway. The only real differences are THX certified mods (which still won't be accurate enough since everyone has different viewing environments), an extra hdmi port, and supposedly twice as many color gradations or w/e it's called. So for $700 you're basically getting an extra port and barely noticable picture changes is my assumption. COuld always be that it ends up better though. :)
Oh i forgot to add this still has the buzzing like the ST30 as far as my set goes. About 5 feet away it was loud enough to hear while watching a movie. I just think the picture is worth all of this. I tried the Sony HX929 and even a second 929 set as well. Both had very slight flashlighting, the blooming is absolutely horrible, as are the uniformity and viewing angles. I think a lot of people who review that set just want to feel it's worth the money when theyr ate it so highly. I do think it's MUCH better at getting rid of flashlighting and bleedthrough than edge lit sets, but it costs double their price as well.
I did not test this tv in 3D yet. I was going to get the 2012 blyetooth panasonic 3d glasses, but I dont want to have to pay to ship them back if I cant keep this tv due to my head issues.
EDIT: lol Just noticed someone on another site sayigng I'm a troll; for mentioning that this puts out a ton of heat. Yes, they caught me. Indeed someone rating this 5 stars is trolling by saying the truth that it puts out more heat than others. i tried several ST30 sets and the Samsung PN51D7000 and never noticed as much heat as this one. now the pastc ouple days I ahve not ntoiced it as MUCH, but it'ss till mroe than those other models. To the point where I feel a layer of heat if I am standing a foot or two from the tv. Definitely not only the back of it. Also the buzzing is louder than I would like and as bad as the 2011 ST sets.
Also I forgot to mention that the anti-reflective layer gets rid of nearly all reflections. It still looks nothing like matte, but it's much better than most other glass screen tvs.
EDIT 2: For whatever reason, the tv seems to be putting out a lot less heat now. I'm not sure why. Maybe related to brightness levels I am using.
on August 24, 2012
I am not a diehard videophile. But I'm also not completely indifferent to how my television looks and performs. I wanted a TV that looked sharp, performed well, and had a bright and smooth picture. With the ST50, I found it.
First, let me say this: I read quite a few reviews discussing "buzzing" sounds emitted by the ST50. Quite honestly, it nearly kept me from buying this TV. Truth is, it's simply not a problem. I've come to the conclusion that the folks who wrote those reviews either have a defective unit or are unfamiliar with plasma televisions generally. Based on how they work, it's entirely normal for plasmas to make a usually inaudible buzz. On this television, I sit anywhere from 3 feet (when playing FIFA on the Xbox) to 12 feet (when watching movies) away. Under any normal circumstances, I hear no buzz at all. In order to pick up any hint of a buzz, I have to mute the television and either (1) place my head within one foot of the screen, or (2) stand behind the set. Just about every plasma in the universe will do the same. I've not had to "tune anything out" or "learn to ignore" any noise. I just don't hear it (and my hearing is fine).
Before buying the ST50, I decided to switch from my old plasma to a current LED-LCD set. So I bought a Samsung ES6500. At first, I appreciated how much brighter it was than my old TV, and it seemed to be very sleek and fit in well with my living room. But when I actually started to watch TV, I was disappointed. Fast motion (even with the image-enhancement software on) caused images to blur and become somewhat jaggy. Football and soccer were tough to watch, and that's putting it generously. Also, I noticed some light bleeding in from the edges (a little more research showed that this was due to the LED light location, and was to be expected). I wasn't happy, and I returned it in favor of the ST50.
I'm *really* glad I did. The ST50 is fantastic. On my prior plasma screen, I encountered what is called "the screen door effect" -- i.e., when you can see individual pixels and certain objects will look very slightly blocky. On this one? Nothing of the sort. The picture is perfectly bright, totally smooth, and extremely crisp. The sharp picture is only made better by the fact that the blacks on the screen are very, very deep and offset the colors perfectly (quite unlike the LED). Sports look incredible, and movies and games look great, no matter what distance I'm sitting away from the screen. I should also say that I've not even tweaked the calibration...the picture settings are one of the four default modes (not sure which one, but all four look great)
Also, a big problem with some plasmas (including my last one) is an annoying glossiness that causes all kinds of reflections. I've got no idea what Panasonic did here (they call it Louver technology, whatever that is), but it's awesome. It's not the matte anti-reflective coating that blurs images, but it still does a great job of keeping reflections from showing up. One of the best features of the TV, without a doubt.
I've got 4 pairs of 3D glasses (sold separately, unfortunately), but I don't use the 3D function on the TV. It's okay, but, honestly....it just doesn't appeal to me. I think it's a fad, and I'm not qualified to review it, because I'll probably only use it when people want to see how 3DTV looks and won't accept my answer of: "Like 2D, but it's dimmer, and it gives you a headache."
The sound's okay. It's what you'd expect from a flat-screen's internal speakers. I use them on a daily basis, and I've got no complaints. No real praises to sing...but no complaints, either.
Do the research, read the reviews, and check out the expert recommendations. The majority seem to agree on one thing: this TV is the best one in or near its price point, and maybe the best overall buy this year. I'm inclined to agree.
In short, if for no other reason, the picture on the TV makes it completely worth it. Bright as an LED, smooth as a plasma, sharp as anything out there. If you're in the market for a TV around the $1,000 - $1,500 price range...this is the one you want.
on October 8, 2012
First, I know that not everyone's going to encounter this, and it's entirely possible I got a bum screen. But hear me out.
I had this for 3 months without any major issues. I started to play co-op Borderlands 2 with friends a couple hours at a time, a couple nights a week and for a little longer on weekends. And when I wasn't playing, the TV had other exciting dynamic things to display.
Now I have burn-in. On a white or light-colored background, you can see the ghost elements (and once you've noticed them, it's hard to not see).
The quick-start guide in the manual says "avoid displaying the same image for long periods of time" and calls out some things like sports and video games that are problematic. But it never occurred to me it might be something like playing the same game for 10h over a week's time. And I know it was that light because my friends' schedules meant our window was ~9:30-12 or so on certain nights.
If the manual had said anything like "as a general rule, avoid anything that shows the same things for more than an hour without a break" I'd have taken that seriously, and if I didn't, it'd be my own fault. But I had no idea, and there's no guidance.
I talked to Panasonic customer support and said "Hey, what's the scoop, this was pretty light usage, what do I do?" Their response was "Screen burn-in is not covered in your warranty."
That's it. 3-month old thousand-plus-dollar TV having burn-in issues under what I felt was entirely reasonable usage, and that was their response. If you have this TV and don't have this issue, that's totally awesome. But at the very least, know that you're operation without a safety net or a spotter or instruction on how to avoid the fall.
on June 22, 2012
I purchased the 50" version and had Amazon deliver it. The white glove service was several days faster than promised and they did a wonderful job. TV was quite good - but not as good as I expected (I already own a 2-yr old Panasonic Plasma that we love.) Did the basic cnet settings and ran the solid color slideshow over a couple of nights to help with the break-in period. On the third day I turned the set off for a couple of hours and when I turned it back on the set DIED. Just got 7 blinks of a red LED on the front bezel (internet research showed that the blink code meant that one of the major circuit boards was fried.) So I called Panasonic's touted "Concierge Service" that claimed they usually repaired sets within two days. Two days later (with no call-back from Panasonic) I called them again -- they said they couldn't find anyone (yet) to fix the set at my home in Iowa, but maybe in a few more days they might be able to locate someone! That wasn't what I was expecting for a brand new plasma TV.
So I called Amazon customer service, and the rep immediately asked if I wanted a refund, a new TV or a different model or brand. I asked for a new TV, and he immediately placed the order. And he issued a credit for the difference in the price that had dropped $70 in the week since I purchased the TV.
The new new TV arrived yesterday (same white glove delivery guy) and I was immediately struck by how much better the picture looked right out of the box. I did the basic cnet settings and ran the solid color slideshow overnight and it again looks GREAT.
So, way to go Amazon! Excellent service and a very rapid fix to my problem. Guess where I will buy my next large TV!!
on August 22, 2012
This is my second return in the last three weeks. I was doing the D-Nice 100 hour panel prep running in slideshow mode, when I realized there were four stuck/dead pixels towards the center of the screen. I figured I would continue the panel prep and see if they became un-stuck. After the prep and calibration, the stuck pixels were still evident, so I tried using pixel flipper on the Disney "Wow" calibration Blu-Ray with no luck. First I ran pixel flipper the recommended 1 hour, and then I ran it over night. I contacted Amazon and exchanged it for another set.
The second set arrived by CEVA (white glove service), they plugged it in and powered it up and left. I did a firmware update via WIFI and began my slideshow when I noticed a solid white pixel burning bright every time the color blue passed over it. Also, about 15% of the right side of the screen had vertical pale lines (or shadows) running up-and-down the screen. I called Panasonic concierge service and they set up a case number and requested pics. I emailed them the pics and they said they would get back to me in 24 to 48 hours. That was six days ago! As a consumer, I do not like that I have to chase them down to resolve this issue, but my last call to them was still a "we'll get back to you" response. The set is going back!
If I was rating this based on Amazon's response, I would give Amazon 5 stars - they have been amazing. Panasonic should be ashamed of them selves in the way they have handled this, maybe they need to go back and learn customer service again.
Update 8-28-12. Amazon sent a replacement ST50 for the broken one. Now, CEVA keeps changing the delivery dates on me. Originally it was scheduled to be delivered on 8/24 so I took a half day off from work. Apparently it didn't arrive in Denver in time to be loaded on the truck so that was canceled. The dispatcher rescheduled it for Monday and my wife took the day off. The TV wasn't loaded on the delivery truck and a different dispatcher told her it would be rescheduled for Tuesday. I called and said I couldn't take anymore time off and could they deliver it early Tuesday A.M.? They gave me a 8:00am to 10:00am delivery time. They were a no show!!! Now it's rescheduled for Friday the 30th. Update:8-31-12 After three "delays" CEVA showed up 2 hours late after the re-re-scheduled delivery time. Very disappointing. On a side note: I have to point out that the solo Ugandan delivery guy from CEVA was great, he was very upbeat and helped me set up the TV. Kudos to him!
Update: 9-11-12: Called Panasonic tech support regarding picture quality. The new set looks pale and too soft for HDTV. Basically, if the subject is bright, the TV looks pretty good, but medium to low light scenes looks pixelated and undefined, plus horrendous motion blur (using HD Dish and Blu-Ray). The ST50 went through the 100 hour panel prep and set to D-Nice settings with minor adjustments using the Disney WoW disc. The issues are the same no matter if I use Panasonic factory settings (albiet brighter) or the custom cali. settings (whether D-Nice, CNET or other). The first phone tech set up a case number and was helpful, he forwarded me to another, and that tech was rude and condescending. Not helpful at all, basically read from a sheet and barked orders at me. He had me set the TV to factory settings again (confirming it looks bad) and then suggested I return the set to Amazon. I requested Panasonic take responsibility for this and now I'm back to, "someone will call me in 24 to 48 hours." Not a problem, but having someone talk to you like you had no business calling - is my biggest complaint right now. If I could give this a half star, I would.
Update 9-14-12 No call back after 48 hours. I called Concierge once again and the tech was polite, but started at square one. I was a little surprised that the case# did not have much recorded info regarding the problems I have with this TV. So I started over again and the tech walked me through the now familiar settings in custom > pro and advanced settings. Same results. The call took longer than I anticipated, so I had to cut it short. I thanked him for his help, but I'll have to call back on the 15th. That little Concierge welcome sheet with the beautiful font is worthless.
Update 9-27-12 Panasonic Concierge was a complete waste of time. Issues I'm having seem to be the same issues that a small percentage of new owners on AVSForums, Highdefjunkies are experiencing are falling on deaf ears. Those vertical shadows that I've ignored aren't going away as the screen ages. Focusing issues when the subject is farther away are still present. Mid to low light still lacks and ABL, ABL, ABL (yes, three times) is driving me bonkers. Why calibrate the friggin' TV if it's going to do it's own thing? Screw it! I'll entertain the kids using shadow puppets than deal with this crap anymore.
Last update 10-05-12 Amazon set up a return through CEVA and a guy name Derek called. He was very helpful and had a contracted courier service come by and picked it up in the time frame that allowed me to take off from work. He (Derek) was very helpful and polite. Back to the ST50 - I miss the "pros" of the 50ST50 already, but the "cons" were annoying enough to send it back. Panasonic tech support was, and still is, useless. I think the issues I had with the third set could have been fixed or adjusted by an in-home service tech, but Panasonic decided to let be a return instead. Amazon is still 5 stars in my book.
on April 18, 2012
This is my first HD Flat panel TV and I'm ecstatic about this one. My main goal was to get a TV without the horrible soap opera effect and oversaturated colors so many are now accepting as normal. I don't want TV shows and movies to look like they were shot using a home video camera. I don't want a TV to have to do tricks with motion control to hide the fact that it cannot display fast action scenes without tearing or ghosting. I don't want to give up picture quality just to get a super flat TV with a thin bezel. The ST50 was everything I was hopng for
I have this wall mounted and it was very light and easy to maneuver.
Was able to connect to my wireless network without issue and perform a software update. I believe it was at 1.120 out of the box but the update took it to 1.140. To update the firmware go to Menu > Network > Software Update. I streamed several 720p and 1080p movies over the Wi-Fi from my Synology NAS via Seagate theater+ and it works surprisingly well. If I didn't have such a strong Wi-Fi signal I'd attach it to the LAN using the Ethernet port.
Wow! Everything I was hoping for. There is nothing like dropping a big chunk of dough and then having that sick feeling that you bought the wrong thing. I have no regrets with the ST50. Natural color, stunning HD cable and blu-ray. Fast motion is flawless and no soap opera effect. As others have said out of the box the Standard setting is not so great and the motion smoother is set to Weak. Check out highdefjunkies.com for calibrator settings and break-in slides. I've been pretty happy with the settings below but I'm still tweaking / learning with the pro settings.
Color mgmt - On
CATS - Off
Video NR - Off
Block NR - Off
Mosquito NR - Off
Motion Smoother - Off
Black Level - Dark
I have not had any problems with ABL or FBR. If this TV did the things others have complained about I would find it very annoying. So far so good
There is a noticeable buzzing sound when displaying large bright white or light scenes and there is no sound. When there is sound from the TV or other ambient sounds I don't notice this at all.
**Reflection on this set is minimal. I have windows behind and adjacent to this TV in a fairly bright room. There is no distracting reflections and the screen is not washed out.
Now obviously the built in sound is not going to replace your external audio system but I have to say the sound is far better than I expected. Sounds and speech are solid and clear at high and low volume levels and will probably bridge the gap for people not normally happy with built-in speakers but don't want to add on an external system.
I didn't care about 3D at all. I couldn't have cared less if this TV had it or not but since it did I picked up a pair of 3D glasses and an IMAX 3D movie to check it out. Way cooler than I thought it would be and now I'm glad I have it. I'm not an expert in 3D so I can't speak to the crosstalk issues some of the reviews refer to. For me it works well and I see it as an unexpected bonus.
I'll add to this review once I've checked out the other bells and whistles. So far I couldn't be happier with the ST50
on September 19, 2012
Panasonic VIERA TC-P50ST50 50-Inch 1080p 600Hz Full HD 3D Plasma TV
I've had this set for about 3 weeks now. I've been very satisfied with the picture quality. Watching HD sources is a pleasure. I find myself watching things I ordinarily wouldn't watch just because of how gorgeous the picture is . The 50" screen is not too big at all for me at about 90"inches away. The controls are easy and intuitive to use The basic set up is easy. The set has beautiful aesthetics on par with Samsung or better and makes any room its in look better. The set does run much warmer than an LED in cinema mode but its not really a big deal.
There is one big caveat. This Plasma is prone to burn in of images or as the manufacturer calls them "image retention " as stated in the owners manual. This can be caused by the same static image kept on the screen too long or as in my case not doing anything except watching a channel that happens to have a long white strip bar running across the top of the screen during MSNBC shows with its logo at the end.
So, in my case, what happened after about three weeks, to my horror and disappointment, I noticed a ghost bar from MSNBC right at the top of the picture and in the corners while watching other channels. Let me emphasize its not very noticeable but once you first discover it, its there every time you look whenever the background is light. I just spent $1099 for a highly recommended HDTV plasma and I'm shocked and horrified. I now have a plasma panel that is permanently scarred in that upper part of the screen. I don't think I should have to live with this . So my only option is to return the set to Amazon, go through the hassle of ordering a brand new one and then use the zoom feature from now to prevent that strip bar and logos from ever appearing in my picture while watching channels like MSNBC.
P.S.Amazon has agreed to exchange the set with a brand new one all in one visit. Thank you Amazon !
Also I have since learned that the set has a "anti image retention program " which runs a vertical scroll bar across the screen that erases ghosts and images due to burn in.
Amazon delivered a new ST-50 . Its been great no problems. The anti image retention functions works. Still a beautiful picture --among the best . I luv watching Blue-rays in cinema mode. I do of course manage how I watch certain channels like MSNBC by using the zoom . I also use the standard mode more often esp with talking head shows than cinema mode and with pixel orbiter enabled . I expect to do this at least for 3 or 4 months during breakin until the panel has aged.
on December 10, 2012
Having bought my most expensive TV set ever with raving reviews of the ST50 on every website, I was ready to be wowed. And I felt my investment was justified when I watched my first Blu-ray movie on the set and was bowled over! This was the honeymoon period...
In addition to watching movies on the set, I hooked up the stereo to it so I could see info on the music that was playing. 4 months into my ownership, I realized that the persistent image of the stereo logo on the screen was not my imagination. With some research, I figured out this was either Image Retention or Burn-in. Now, I had always believed that this was something that occurred only in older plasmas and in TVs where the same image was kept on the TV for many many hours. How could this have happened to my TV when I had been using it for less than 4 months? More importantly, the burned-in image of the stereo logo was never visible for more than 15 seconds?
Well, Panasonic's customer service made sure they lost a customer for life with their response: Not Our Problem. The fact that they give no prominent warning about Image Retention or Burn-In? Not Their Problem. The fact that they exclude that issue from their (Extremely) Limited Warranty? Not Their Problem. Check out various websites and you will see a long list of customers with problems after purchasing recent Panasonic Plasma TVs.
A final word: Yes, the images can be beautiful. Yet, Panasonic's uncaring customer attitude in both not warning about the chances of IR/Burn-in and then completely abdicating responsibility for the resulting damage after limited use leaves a very bad taste in the mouth.