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This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-P50ST30 50-Inch 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV (2011 Model) (Electronics)
When I finally completed the arduous process of reading 1000s of TV reviews, I settled on the Viera line. Due to price constraints, I originally purchased a P50S30 (slightly worse stats, no 3D). When the dust settled from my home theater buying spree I loved the TV, but I realized it was now the only piece of equipment I owned that didn't support 3D. After yet more spec comparisons, I returned the TV and purchased the P50ST30 - best decision of my life (recently).
Picture: I don't have words. Lifelike doesn't do the picture justice, since the word implies one could discern generated image from real life. After tweaking picture (James Cameron Avatar recommended settings), video looks absolutely amazing. Standard 480 looks a little blurry, but that will happen on any TV this big. 720 looks great, 1080 even better. I would go on and on about the picture, but the TV's specs speak for themselves. I have not noticed any green blobs or other oddities that some report.
Glare: Plasmas have more glare than many LEDs, but this TV performs well in bright light. Even when viewing conditions are less than ideal I can still see the picture clearly through the glare.
Menus: Same as S series, clean and fairly easy to use. There is a little bit of input lag, but it isn't a big deal - once you set everything up you can quickly change common features. One nice feature is the ability to custom name inputs and channels. Pro picture settings, parental lock, cc, and a few nice anti-image retention features round out the menus nicely. **Make sure you disable Motion Smoothing (adv settings) across all your media, it makes video look very odd.**
Internet: Wireless adapter included in box is $100 by itself, so if you were planning on buying one anyway this TV makes even more sense for you. The adapter works well and connects @ 100% to my home network. When you do get the TV networked, you will find the VieraCast menus share a little of the lag as the TV menus. The DLNA implementation has very little support, and while there are a variety of apps available, I had varied success. Netflix gave me a rebuffering issue on my first movie, and the audio seems a bit spotty (occasional pops/crackles). I have experienced none of these issues using the same services through PS3+HDMI connection.
Image Retention: I'm going on two weeks since purchase and have noticed no negative effects. For the first week I followed burn in procedures (low contrast, low sharp, no static images) and while I still use their anti-image retention tools, I have since started turning on the juice for movies/games. I recommend using burn in settings for regular TV viewing and better settings with blu rays. Also, limit gaming sessions with static HUD/displays for the first few weeks after TV purchase...better safe than sorry.
VieraLink: I paired the TV with a PS3 and Onkyo HT-3400 receiver and it works flawlessly - the TV turns the receiver and PS3 on/off in sync with the TV. It doesn't power on all connected peripherals every time, only the one attached to the current input. For example, if my input was set to antenna when the TV was turned off, it will only turn on the receiver. When input is switched to PS3, it will turn both receiver the PS3 on (and off after an idle period). The Viera remote actually controls basic menu functions within the PS3, so from power on to playing a blu ray I can get away with 1 remote. Great feature IMHO (requires HDMI connections between equipment as well as compatibility).
3D: Awesome. I didn't much care about 3D when I set out, but now that I have it, nothing else will do. Getting the correct picture settings is a must! I saw several 3D movies in theaters and then watched them on this TV - the quality is exactly the same. If anything 3D is more enjoyable on the TV (ignoring being at home in jammies), since at the 50" size characters often look life size. During one late night movie session I nearly had to check for intruders; a character from the movie walked in "front" of the the screen and I thought someone was in the room. So far every 3D movie I have watched looks perfect. The TV also upscales nearly any source (have not bothered trying with 480 content) into 3D, so re-watching some of your favorite movies will bring a whole new dimension to the table, literally. Upscaling isn't nearly as delicious as true 3D content, but it works remarkably well for an on-the-fly solution.
3D makes your eyes hurt: Yours maybe, but I haven't noticed any problems. I have had extended gaming sessions of 5/6 hours and not noticed a problem. I don't wear glasses nor suffer from eye problems, so I can't speak for everyone, but I doubt that the vast majority will suffer any ill effects. I would, however, not recommend it while nursing a hangover.
Gaming: I have a PS3 Slim connected through HDMI, and while I have never been a huge console fan, this TV will help change my mind. Graphics look great and games run smoothly. As for 3D games, WOW. Do research though, like any new technology the rush to pump out content has led to some very sub-par products. The good games however, are AMAZING. Killzone, Crysis2, etc. in 3D are just startling. Everything from the gun's sights having depth to a rocket coming out of the distance and flying past your head make for a surreal gaming experience. As a lifelong FPS fan playing a game like this in 3D makes so much sense. Several other games like GT5 look great and also work well in 3D.
Content: There is not a plethora of 3D available yet, but there is enough there for to get on the bandwagon. Movies all look great, and between what's out already and what will be out by the end of the year there will be plenty of options. Cable providers are just starting to carry 3D programming; I have basic cable and no box, but this TV has managed to pickup a digital 3D channel from my provider (not sure if they are intentionally providing it, but I'm not going to complain) For games, you need to be careful - poorly designed games have horrible image issues that can have a negative impact.
All things considered, I am thoroughly happy with my purchase, and with Amazon, and would recommend both to those looking for the best in 3D TVs anywhere in this price range. If you don't care about 3D, this TV still boasts specs better than nearly any comparable non 3D panel, and will allow you to try the technology out at a later date.
Cons: The ARC (audio return channel) seems to strip my 5.1 surround signal. I originally plugged my PS3 into the TV via HDMI, then picked the audio up on the receiver via the ARC. I was never able to pass the signal through the TV to the receiver with surround, and had to send sound straight to the receiver via optical, not a big deal though.
I also felt the TV had mediocre Internet implementation at best. I think this is a secondary concern, however. Firmware updates are always a possibility, and there are plenty of devices that can connect straight to the TV to provide desired services.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 7, 2011 9:02:05 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 15, 2012 6:51:34 PM PDT]
Posted on Aug 15, 2012 6:51:25 PM PDT
A year has passed and it's still an awesome TV. I now use it as my primary monitor and absolutely love gaming on it. I stare at this thing for at least 3 hours a day and I have noticed none of the picture quality issues some seem to have.
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