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Superb Picture Quality With Only 1 Problem, But There's A Fix
on June 23, 2011
The picture quality of this television is really outstanding. It is however compromised by an issue common to all 2011 Panasonic plasmas known as "Fluctuating Brightness". About a half of a second after a scene change there is sometimes an instantaneous change in the overall brightness of the screen. Full discussion of this issue can be found by Googling: "panasonic 2011 fluctuating brightness".
Panasonic, to their credit, has recognized this as an issue and has come up with a solution that eliminates it. All sets produced after August and have a serial number of "xx1215xxxxxx" or higher will have new software installed that eliminates these brightness fluctuations from happening. If you have an earlier model and notice these fluctuations, contact Panasonic and let them know. They should either schedule a Panasonic employee to flash the software to your EEPROM, or they will schedule a 3rd party tech to replace your A-Board with one that already has the new software installed. In my case, they replaced the A-Board. Since then I have not seen any fluctuation and I am now completely satisfied with my set's remarkable picture quality.
Otherwise this television is exactly what I was looking for. Great price, superb picture quality, good Internet connectivity and interface. 3D is nice for future-proofing but it wasn't something I was actively looking for, but Panasonic sets with the best 2D picture quality are all 3D capable. Panasonic's menu interface seems a little more dated than their competitions, but it is simple and straightforward which makes it very functional without any extra eyecandy. The ST series is a great value if you don't need the somewhat fancier styling of the gt or vt series, or the thx certified picture mode, or the extra connections (st lacks vga, and has 3 instead of 4 hdmi ports). Also the st is the only series to offer the 42" size screen. For me it all boils down to this being the perfect television for 2011 now that Panasonic has given us a solution to the problem of Fluctuating Brightness.
**COMMENT ON PANASONIC'S RESPONSE**
I think Panasonic really demonstrated how committed they are to their product's picture quality by addressing this issue. Instead of writing this off as only a minor issue, they stepped up and supported their customers. This is a great response that insures that without condition Panasonic's line of 2011 3D televisions have the best picture quality you can buy. THANK YOU PANASONIC!