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Panasonic TC-P50ST30

Last Updated
May 9, 2011

Editor's Rating
3.5 Out of 5

Pros
  • Very good image quality
  • Very deep black levels
  • Good 3D image quality
  • Included Wi-Fi connectivity

Cons
  • Slightly outdated design
  • Lacking port selection
  • No 3D glasses included

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The Panasonic TC-P50ST30 is a 50-inch 3D plasma TV that includes Internet applications and connectivity. It also has fantastic picture quality and very deep black levels, which gives this TV a huge advantage in picture quality. However, Panasonic curiously choose not to include any 3D glasses with the TV.

The Panasonic TC-P50ST30 measures 47.4 x 29.3 x 2.8-inches (whd) and weighs 57 pounds. The design of the TV is rather dated and actually looks more like the older flat-panel TVs because of its thick bezel and "boxy" appearance. Despite that, its looks aren't too overpowering, so it should blend into most home entertainment setups with ease.

The menu system was mostly the same as previous Panasonic TVs, which is both good and bad in our opinion. The menu's appearance looks very simplistic and easy to use, however, it does require a lot of scrolling. Also, there isn't much explanation for the more advanced image settings compared to others sets that really provide a lot of help along the way.

In terms of connectivity, you'll find 2 HDMI ports on the backside, along with a digital audio out, composite video input and component video input. There is also an Ethernet port on the back too. On the side, there is an additional HDMI port, two USB ports and an SD card reader. There is also an included USB adapter that plugs into one of the USB ports to give wireless connectivity. This selection of inputs is rather lacking, especially if people have lots of HDMI equipment or users that want to have a PC-input.

Panasonic includes many Internet media applications on this TV, but there a few big ones missing. Some of the highlights include Netflix, Amazon Instant Streaming, Facebook, Pandora, Twitter, YouTube, Picasa and many other video and game related applications. Noticeably missing is a Web browser, Rhapsody and Hulu Plus. There is also an app store, which is now renamed Viera Connect for TVs, and includes the ability to download applications from various categories.

We should also mention that the Netflix application's interface is still the older, scroll-based layout, which means you cannot search for streaming titles, but rather have to scroll through genres.

Strangely enough, Panasonic decided not to include any pair of 3D glasses with this set, which is rare as most TV makers include at least 1 pair. The new Panasonic 3D glasses cost $180 per pair, but they now include a power switch and a new design that makes them lighter and more comfortable to wear. We did like that previous model 3D glasses are backwards compatible with this TV, so you might be able to find some cheaper if you don't want to spend $180 per pair.

In subjective image tests with the Panasonic TC-P50ST30, we found the picture to be rated "Very Good" or "Excellent". The black levels on this TV were fantastic and were extremely deep. However due to that, we did notice some lacking in the brightness and color depth.

3D performance was also rated as "good", as there were some visible crosstalk and occasional noticeable ghosting. Panasonic allows 2D-to-3D image conversion for all video except streaming video from the Internet-connect applications.


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