4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-P60S30 60-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV (2011 Model) (Electronics)
I bought the Panasonic Viera TC-P60S30 60" Plasma HDTV about a month ago and could not be more pleased with my purchase. I did quite a bit of research and visited many user forums before deciding on this model. Simply put, the image quality is exquisite. Image details are superbly rendered; colors are natural and lifelike (you'll need to do some initial tweaking but that's to be expected of any new HDTV...more on this later). Exceptional clarity!
Set up was a breeze, the remote is well laid out, the TV's menu system is easily understandable, and the owner's manual is comprehensible.
(I cannot comment on the TV's DLNA features, SD card reader, or its internet TV capabilities, as these are not important to me; maybe someday I'll check `em out.)
The TC-P60S30 allows adjustment of Picture Mode, Brightness, Contrast, Color, Tint, Sharpness, Color Temperature, Video NR, as well as several other advanced parameters. However, it does not have as many picture controls as some other plasma TVs. At first I was a bit disappointed that these adjustments were not available. However, as I continued to work with the Panny, I was able to adjust the picture beautifully. I highly recommend the use of a calibration disk to assist you with setting the `Brightness' (Black Level) and `Contrast' (White Level). I used "Digital Video Essentials: High Definition" to do some basic calibration. You will particularly need to work with the `Brightness' control on this TV because blacks can render so extremely black that some of the black detail can be lost if your Brightness setting is too low (mine is now set to +64, in `Custom' mode, and has that gorgeous ink-y black without detail loss).
The only issue I've had with this TV (which has been resolved) had to do with "fluctuating brightness" which is apparently common to many 2011 Panasonic plasmas; you can read about this if you Google: "panasonic 2011 fluctuating brightness". Basically what happened is about a half of a second after a scene change there was often an abrupt change in the overall brightness of the screen; in my case this was only noticeable when watching basketball or hockey games, where there was a wide expanse of light imagery (the court, the rink). My understanding is that this has to do with the TV's APL (Average Picture Level) circuitry and that Panasonic is aware of this behavior and has addressed it via a firmware update. In my case, I noticed the brightness fluctuation during the first couple of weeks of watching the TC-P60S30, but as the set got broken in, after a 200 hour break-in period (more on this below), the fluctuations completely ceased. Evidently the break-in period somehow stabilized the APL circuitry such that it's now a non-issue...no brightness fluctuations whatsoever. (Make sure your TV has the latest firmware updates!).
On another note, I've noticed many reviewers have complained about the sound quality. This hasn't been a concern for me since I have the TV connected to my stereo receiver/speaker system (via the S30's digital audio out). When I'm just watching to catch some news or a sports update, the sound is fine. Beware that the S30 does not have analog audio outs, only digital audio out; so if you're planning on connecting it to your receiver or home theatre system make sure it has a digital audio in.
Although it does not specify it in the owner's manual, Panasonic tech support recommended performing a 100 hour `break-in' period in order to age and harden the plasma phosphors against possible image retention (the dreaded screen `burn-in'). Just to be safe, I actually broke my unit in for 200 hours, easily done with a plasma break-in DVD, available for free at eaprogramming dotcom.
Speaking of tech support, I spoke with them numerous times during the 1st few weeks, just to clarify a few points, and I found them to be helpful & fairly knowledgeable.
In conclusion, I am delighted with my purchase of the TC-P60S30. I didn't think I'd find a 60" Plasma set that would rival my beloved Samsung PN50B550, but this unit is a winner. Rich blacks, exceptionally natural colors and magnificent image clarity. If you're interested in a great value 60" plasma TV without a lot of bells and whistles, I'd highly recommend you check out the TC-P60S30!