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Showing 11-20 of 62 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 77 reviews
on July 13, 2011
My previous TV was an LCD model, but I was never satisfied with the limited contrast range, which compared unfavorably to the CRT that it replaced, so I've been looking for a plasma, ideally one with 1080p and good 24 fps capability for movies. This model fills the bill, and offers 3D compatibility as a bonus. I do not see the "screendoor" effect (thin black lines between pixels) that I didn't like on early 720p plasma displays. I ran the D-NICE break-in slides and used his recommended settings (Google for them). Picture quality is amazing, although the set is not as bright as a LCD set--to really appreciate its picture quality, you need to be willing to dim the lights.

I've tried a few 3D movies and games, and the 3D effect worked well. I recommend the XPand universal glasses, which work with 3D just as well as the Panasonic ones, and seem to be less susceptible to interference from infrared remotes. I did find that when the 3D effect was on, my TiVo remote was balky, which I attribute to interference by the glasses-synchronization signal from the TV, so this might be an issue with other IR remotes. The set offers a 2D-to-3D conversion setting. Frankly, I didn't believe this would work; how could the TV set guess what the right parallax should be on different parts of a 2D image? In fact, I didn't even bother to try it for quite a while, but then I got curious, and turned it on while watching "The Event." To my surprise, the 3D effect was not dramatic, but quite convincing--if I hadn't known it was simulated 3D, I would have thought it was the real thing. I found that it enhanced my viewing experience. I did try it with a SD show, and it didn't really seem to work (and also the 2D-to-3D effect is apparently incompatible with upscaling SD "widescreen" to full screen).

The other surprise to me was how well the set performed with SD content. It does an excellent job of scaling up SD "wide screen" shows to full screen, and while it of course doesn't have the clarity of HD, it also doesn't have the video artifacts that many HD sets show when they attempt to upscale SD content.

I've tried the included Netflix and Amazon streaming apps. I found that I could get good streaming on both using the provided USB WiFi adapter. This is handy, as I don't have any free ports on my router. I couldn't find any specifications on the adapter, but it readily picked up my 5 GHz 802.11n signal. Note, however, that I have the USB adapter just a couple of feet from my wifi router, so I can't say how it performs at a greater distance. Network setup went smoothly. The set offered to update itself over the internet, and the update went smoothly. The Netflix interface was similar to other platforms. I was pleased that it responded to the play, pause, FF, and rewind buttons on the remote. Picture quality was quite good. I also tried Amazon Prime streaming. This also gave great picture quality (in fact, the movie I watched was available from Netflix only in SD, but was HD on Amazon), but the Amazon streaming app's interface is quite primitive. It doesn't respond to the remote's dedicated play, pause, etc. buttons (you have to use the remote's d-pad to access on-screen controls). If you exit the player and later go back to the same show, it doesn't remember where you left off like Netflix does, and unlike the Netflix player, which provides a series of thumbnails in FF or rewind mode, all the Amazon player provides is a time count and takes several seconds to rebuffer and produce a picture when you stop, so finding you left off watching is tricky (remember to make a note of the time count if you exit the player before finishing).

Amazon's delivery service arrived within the specified time window, and the very courteous delivery man carried the box up the stairs, unpacked it, and checked it for damage without my asking (I was planning to offer him 20 bucks to do that; I gave it to him as a tip instead).
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on May 13, 2012
Not that it matters much, now that this is an 'old' TV by tech standards, but this was an excellent buy. Best TV I've ever owned, overall; and superior to every TV I've owned in almost every way.

The picture is outstanding. I went through the tedious break-in period, calibration(s), and all that jazz (though I never had to pay for professional calibration) and it was worth it. Colors are rich & realistic. Blacks are just that -- Black. No dark grey murkiness for me! (anymore) Brightness is suitable for all times of day / amounts of light in the room. (Can't comment on auto-brightness and similar auto-features, as I turn those off to reduce input lag as much as possible.) Excellent response time; no perceptible lag. Motion is *very* smooth (HUGE improvement over LCD/LED sets from yesteryear). Resolution is pretty good, even up close; this set pulls double duty for me as a big, beautiful MacBook Air monitor (using a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Female Adapter Cable for Apple Macbook, Macbook Pro... and an AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable (9.8 Feet/3.0 Meters) - Supports Ethernet, 3D, and Audio Return [Newest Standard]). Overall, it's the best picture I've seen on any television in someone's home. Best of all, it's in my home. =)

But, as far as the picture goes, I will note a few small... I wouldn't call them complaints... negative observations(?) about the TV. First, it 'buzzes' when the TV is on, but is worse during bright scenes. Not loud enough to hear over even very low volume, but during pauses or silence you hear it, for sure. I understand this is a 'consequence' of all plasma sets, so it's hard to fault *this set* for an issue with the technology in general. Second, too many options to be simple. (Again, not a complaint...) It's better to have too many than not enough, to be sure, but it makes self-calibrating the TV a lot more complicated than it could be. That said, if it didn't have all those fancy options you wouldn't be able to get such a great picture out of it; so I guess it's worth it. Just adds to the set-up time, and if you're like me you'll spend hours and hours going through the menus tweaking stuff until it's "perfect" which is way harder when there are upwards of 50 picture options, sliders, and settings.

Sound is great. No, the speakers won't put out sound that rivals any home theatre / surround sound system (for [hopefully] obvious reasons), but they are more than adequate for filling the room with convincing sound. They're loud, clear, and very responsive. Maybe a little limited in their adjustment, but you've got Balance, Bass, and Treble (and a few other options I don't use - thus, forgot) so you can adjust to your preferences. As long as you have sensible expectations going in, you will not be disappointed by the sound.

Connections ports are adequate. You've got all the 'modern' connections types, though not in abundance. It's not the end of the world for me if I have to unplug one of my devices to plug in another (I remember days where two ports was 'a big deal', not so long ago). Sure it's an inconvenience, but guess what? You are also getting a premium quality display at a 'middle of the road' price. A couple extra HDMI ports is not worth a few hundred dollars to me. Besides, 3 HDMI, 1 Composite, and 1 Component seems like more than "few" connections to me, but maybe I'm just easy to please connection-wise? =P

However, I will say I don't like the remote. It works fine, and all the functions I need are easily accessible; from a utility standpoint it's fine. But who designs these things? Is this some sort of diabolical plot to make me drop things? Is is supposed to impress me? Does it make the batteries feel more cozy? I don't get it -- why the weird shape? It's triangular-ish. ??? Honestly, I'd be happier with an old clicker that had 'On/Off' 'Volume' and 'Input' because, aside from setting up the TV, I never use the remote for anything else. I just hate using the thing for some reason (not just the shape), and I'm fairly easy to please with that sort of stuff, I think. Maybe I'm just weird. It's not a big deal, it is just a friggin' remote after all, but I just don't like it.

Also, aside from there being a lot of options to go through, the menu system itself is just kinda weird to use. It totally works, but it was counterintuitive coming from Samsung TVs. It feels like I'm setting up an old CRT computer monitor when I go through the settings. Again, it doesn't matter really, but it just kind of lacks polish. It works just fine.

So the only 'complaints' I have aren't exactly what I'd call legitimate, and I'm very impressed with the aspects of the TV which actually matter. It has superb picture, suitable sound, and it serves me well as both a TV (movies & games, mostly) and as a monitor (typing documents, streaming TV from Hulu/Netflix, reading BIG kindle books... you know, computery stuff).

When I consider my experience with the TV over the past, oh I don't know, 6 months or so, I am extremely pleased given the low price I paid. I'd expect to pay over $1,000 for this kind of set, even at just 42", but paid less than half that. :D Aside from a few things I could see room for improvement on, this TV blows all my previous sets out of the water. Panasonic has earned my business for as long as they can keep up this kind of quality/price balance.


**P.S. - Even though you likely won't be able to buy -this- TV anymore, I highly recommend comprable Panasonics based on my experience.**
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on December 6, 2011
I replaced a Sharp Aquous HD Ready LCD TV with this Viera, and after 4 days I am very happy with the decision to go with this Plasma. I was also looking at LG LED TVs but on the advice of a store salesman decided to stick with Plasma for their picture quality. The TV arrived on the date as promised, and although the delivery guy was unable to hook it properly it was very easy to set up. As compared to some competing makes/models the looks are very basic, but watching HD programming over on cable TV I could see what other reviewers meant by deep blacks. The picture quality is simply awsome. The range of apps on Vierra Connect was a pleasant surprise. It even has the BIGFlix app for Bollywood movies. I havent tried 3D movies yet. I wish they had bundled 3D glasses with this offer but its a good value nonetheless. After I bought it, Cnet put the ST30 on their list of top 10 TVs for less than 1000 bucks. I also would like to give a thumbs up to Amazon for honoring the 14 day price guarantee. 3 days after delivery, price was cut down by abt abt $30. Amazon customer service, after a few hiccups, have promised to make good on the refund.
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on June 25, 2011
Got this TV through Amazon last week for $850 with the special bundle of Avatar 3D and two 3D glasses. Great price. Looked up the TV last night on Amazon (6-24-2011) and saw that it was $713- so I put in a request for a price match and this morning I got a confirmation that the price was matched and a credit was being put back on my card. So I got the 42" TV with the Avatar Bundle for $713. Can't beat that. I've only had the TV for a few days, and I can say that so far I love it. Right now I'm running the slides to from the HD junkies site, but the few things I watched looked superb. Blu Rays are beautiful. I have a 47" samsung LCD LED in my living room that I got last year. I love the picture from that TV, but this one is even better. Haven't noticed the fluctuating brightness issue, but again, I've only watched a few hours. I'll update further once I'm done with the slides. As of now, I couldn't be happier with the TV.

UPDATE 7/5/2011

I'm up to about 200 hrs of use, with about 125 hrs of that coming from the prep slides. The TV looks amazing. Had a 4th of July party with friends and family, and everyone was quite impressed. Some of my buddies are gaming freaks and loved playing in 3D. They couldn't believe how amazing the picture looked. I got my bill for it as well, and I realized that I was charged $683, not $713, so the deal keeps getting better. I would have been happy if I had paid $850, because the TV is stunning. Watching LOTR Extended Edition Blu Ray has been great, now my only complaint is that I don't have a Panasonic TV in my living room. I bought a Samsung last year, so I won't be upgrading that TV for some time, and truthfully, it is a really nice TV. But for the price of these plasmas, they are hard to beat. Again, super happy. No fluctuating brightness, although on the grey slides, I did notice some slight green shades, which might be the infamous floating green blobs, but they are so slight and small that I can only see them on one slide, and have never seen them while watching the TV.
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on December 30, 2011
My first impression was bad, as the Panasonic Viera TC-P42ST30 arrived with an absoloutely horrible picture setup. After a couple hours playing with the settings, I am very impressed and I still will run my calibration blue ray to check my eye settings and tweak it further. There are lots of little adjustments and auto adjustments to turn off, the usual color and picture adjustments and some advanced/pro settings that really dial in a nice picture if setup properly. It is definetly worth the time to work the custom setup, picture looks pretty amazing. The bad is the sound. It is very bad, with no adjustments to save it. For me no issue, I use my sound system 99% of the time. Has a little larger bezel than many but I actually like the black frame around the picture. Has the standard array of inputs. One digital output. 3 hdmi's, one is on the side but the side inputs are recessed. If you have a thinner hdmi cable use it on the side and you can route it so it is not visible during direct viewing. The remote is average. Has the buttons, lights up a horrible red but not an issue as I will be using a programmable remote. So if picture is most important this unit rocks for $699, but you may have to work at it or have it professionally calibrated, aprox $199. Be careful with professional calibration as many, if not most people, tend to not be accustomed to seeing TV's adjusted properly and prefer an unrealistic saturated picture.

A quick note on shipping. Ordered 12/24/11. Estimated delivery 12/30/11. The next business day was Tuesday the 27th. I was hoping it would arrive by the 30th. On Tuesday the 27th I looked it up on Amazon, shipped by Ceva. A moment of doubt, who is Ceva???? I find Ceva online. Track my package. Sign up for text alerts and cross my fingers. Texts arrive at all hours be forewarned. 12:30 am arrival, 4:15 am loaded etc. On the 28th, arrival at the terminal near me. I am amazed at this point. I look around online and at Amazon. Lots of people saying be sure and call them. I find my local number and call them on the morning of 12/29/11. They schedule delivery for that day. It was a five hour window, 5pm to 10pm, I agreed, this way I don't have sneak out of the office when several are already on vacation. 9:45pm unit arrives, very nice driver brings it up and unpacks. I plug it in and he confirmas it isn't DOA. He offers to hang on bracket but I told him I would take it from there. Very good service.
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on August 17, 2011
I bought this TV to replace my Samsung LCD. This particular set has a fantastic picture quality. The blacks are deep and inky, the colors bold and accurate, screen uniformity is perfect and the motion is top notch. I have used this set for HD TV shows, ps3 games and bluray movies. Everything looks stellar. The sound is as expected, good for TV speakers, but certainly nothing compared to a home theater setup. The set comes with a variety of streaming options (out of the box the set can stream wired or wirelessly) including Netflix. Wireless setup was a breeze, once I turned the TV on it walked me through a few menus and everything was up and running. The set comes with 3 HDMI inputs and a component input, which was more than enough for my Wii, ps3 and cable TV. I have no issues with the TV set, it works and offers a fantastic picture.

*CNET reviewed this particular model, I used their custom settings to 'calibrate' my set. I was quite happy with the results and didn't feel the need to do any futher calibration.
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on June 13, 2011
-Very easy to set up (I used D-nice's configuration setup over on HD Junkies forum **contact me if you want the link**)
-EXCELLENT picture quality
-Great sound for built in speakers
-Loads of internet applications
-Very customizable

The BAD:
-None yet

I haven't tried the 3D yet, so I can't include it in my review. But the picture quality for 2D on this is absolutely stunning. I used D-nice's configuration prior to watching any live tv and it is well worth the wait. Once the phosphors have aged and settled a bit, the picture looks gorgeous. The built in sound is actually pretty good, though I plan on hooking up a surround sound system at some point. Wireless net access is very easy to set up and the applications are great. Make sure you get the firmware update if you plan on watching Netflix or you could experience popping. I've not had any problems viewing this tv, in any light settings. I really love this tv and can't imagine how I ever got along viewing anything less. The picture is gorgeous.

Recommended: Heck yeah!
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on May 20, 2011
This is like the middle of the line TV. It is, I believe, the same dsiplay as the GT30 version, but without the THX picture mode. If you play on watching the TV out of the box without any adjustments, I might recommend the GT30 (although you will have to go larger in size), as the THX mode setting will be more accurate then the ST30 on standard picture mode.

For our setup in custom mode with some recommend settings found online, the picture on this display is fabulous. For US buyers, you don't have many options in the 42" size for plasma displays, and among the choices, I think this is a great bet. Choose this display over the S30, as I don't think you will be disappointed. The blacks are deeper with this one.

There is apparently an issue with audio in the netflix application that I have seen talked about in forums that is planned to be addressed with a firmware update. I cannot confirm this with my own experience, as I have not set up the internet options on my display yet, but it is something you should read into if you are interested in using this set with Netflix.

We watch this display in the bedroom with the lights dim or off and I must say the image is stunning for our purposes. The blacks are deep and the colors are as dead on as I could hope for without having my display professionally calibrated. Watching sports and bluray movies is really enjoyable. You really can't go wrong with this set. Play with the controls a bit or look up recommended picture settings to get your display in the ballpark of "better" settings if you find you aren't quite satisfied with the standard, cinema, or vivid picture modes out of the box.
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on December 27, 2011
Ok so I bought this tv after doing 6 months of research. I decided I did not want to go the LED route because of the input lag on video games. So since I already had my LG plasma for 3 years no problems with little burn in. Figured I would buy another plasma and this after being sold on LED.

So one of the Reviewers was talking about the D-Nice Panel Prep. I decided to try it. Let me tell you waiting 100 hours is painful as all hell but sooooooo worth it.

Here's a quick review. If your a gamer this TV is OUTSTANDING and I've played games on high end plasma's and LED Samsung , Sony you name it. This tv can take an old game like Grand Theft Auto 4 and give it a make over lol, and this is only the GAME MODE settings stocked with nothing tweaked. Now for my cons. D-Nice settings after the panel prep are garbage. I haven't watched a movie yet but watching regular tv looks dull, the presets on the tv are garbage except for GAME MODE. They did not even include a Sports Preset. So for movie and regular HD programming you might have to look online for some nice settings made by other users and thanks to the pro settings you can adjust all the color balances and white balances. Other cons I wish it had more HDMI inputs and other inputs in general

In conclusion I will be keeping this tv because it is beyond awesome for Gaming and I'm sure I will look online for the best settings for Movies and Regular Programs and come back and update my review. The tv performs well during daylight hours and in bright rooms. Mine was manufactured in October 2011 so I did not get the FLB errors that people reported about.Plus you have to download the new update anyways.

Quick Update: If you tweak the game mode setting you can get sports game to look insane.
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on August 27, 2011
I knew I wanted plasma, so it was just a matter of looking for the best specs at the best price. This model was compelling on both counts and has exceeded my expectations. 3D wasn't on my must-have list, but I got a free Avatar disc with the Panasonic Blu-ray player, so I bought a pair of generic (Sain store) glasses and the viewing is excellent, indeed. My biggest thrill has been streaming Netflix; although initially (in June) I was getting audio static, Panasonic support knew about the issue and updated the firmware soon after; now the streaming picture and sound are great. I haven't noticed any of the 'fluctuating brightness' noted in another review. I've been using the DLNA to access MP3 and photo files with one issue, managing the folders to get the play order that I want. In all other ways, I'm happy.
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