Manufacturer: Panasonic Part number: TC-P55ST50
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as of 06/19/2013Refurbished
CNET editors' review
price range: $1,688.99 - $2,590.65
- Reviewed by: David Katzmaier
- Reviewed on: 03/28/2012
- Updated on:06/05/2012
The good: The affordable Panasonic TC-PST50 series exhibited outstanding overall picture quality, characterized by exceedingly deep black levels with great shadow detail, accurate colors, and solid bright-room performance. Unlike LCDs, as a plasma it has superb off-angle and uniformity characteristics. The styling is attractive and the feature set well-chosen, including excellent onscreen help options.
The bad: The ST50 uses more power than competing LCD TVs, and doesn't perform as well in bright rooms as those with matte screens. It doesn't come with 3D glasses, and it showed more crosstalk in 3D than some competing TVs. The ST50 is only available in 50-inch and larger sizes. Three HDMI inputs is one fewer than most midrange TVs offer.
The bottom line: With flagship-level picture quality for a midlevel price, the Panasonic ST50 series sets the value standard among videophile-grade TVs.
Excellent Value Plasma for 2012!
by NMichael2012 on May 15, 2012
Pros: Picture quality for mid-range set is great
Motion is extremely quick and smooth
Black levels are very good
Viewing angle on the ST50 is superb
Remote has been improved, backlit and buttons feel good
Very easy and simple set up
TV stand is sturdy.
Cons: Only 3 HDMI Ports.
Summary: So far, it looks like Panasonic has really nailed their plasmas for 2012. After seeing the glowing reviews and checking it out in store, I recommended the ST50 to a ...
Summary: So far, it looks like Panasonic has really nailed their plasmas for 2012. After seeing the glowing reviews and checking it out in store, I recommended the ST50 to a family member and they purchased the 55" model the next day. After seeing and calibrating this set, I have great hopes that the VT50 will finally equal the Kuro Elites from 4 years ago. I agree with other reviews that this set is just as good as the flagship VT30 from 2011 and I can also say it matches or even exceeds my Kuro 5020 from 2008.
First off, the styling of the Pannys this year has greatly improved. Except for the flagship, they had always had kind of a `homely' design but that has changed. For the ST50, they have added transparent plastic around the angled black bezel that slightly resembles Samsung plasmas from years past. The set is nice and thin at 1.8" and has a very modern looking silver stand. Overall I really like the appearance even though I'll bet it will not be quite as slick as some competitors. The remote has also been improved a bit and I like it. It is backlit and the buttons feel good while being nicely sized, but for some reason not all the buttons are lit. That is a drawback but really, very people actually use the TV remote for anything other than settings.
One big improvement was the screen filter. This set is in a room that has quite a bit of daylight and the ST50 preserved blacks quite nicely with just a little washout and subdued reflections nicely, even when at extreme angles. It also handles night reflections from lights very well for a plasma. Apparently this set has a `louvre-type' filter that helps block reflections from above, and it is quite effective.
As with Panasonic plasmas from years past, this model lacks the 96 Hz refresh rate to properly handle 1080p/24, but for the vast majority of users this is no problem. This set still handles movies very well and I did not see any artifacts. If you don't know what I'm talking about here, you will not miss this feature. Blu-rays are absolutely gorgeous on this set and upscaled dvd's are not far behind.
The ST50 has active 3D, but does not come with glasses. However, it does support the new universal standard which means more glasses should work this set. One pair of glasses was purchased so I briefly tested out the 3D with Bolt. I'm not too fond of 3D, but the quality was very good and there was minimal crosstalk. I haven't watched too much 3D, but this set was really no worse or better than any others I've seen and perhaps it was just my lack of active 3D experience, but this one didn't seem to darken the image as much as others.
The VieraCast `Smart TV' remains highly unchanged from last year. Overall it's easy to use and you can adjust items' locations, but occasionally it can be a bit slow to navigate. Not a big deal, but something to be aware of. The selection is good with the usual ones: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube, Skype, Facebook and many others. Besides the typical ones, there are many more available in the Market where you can browse while still seeing what you were watching. I believe there is a web browser also, but I haven't tried that yet. I will update the review once I get to checking that out.
This set has 3 HDMI inputs which should be fine, but if for some reason you have more than 4 HDMI devices and don't use a receiver it's something you should be aware of. The GT50 adds a 4th input. It also uses breakout cables for composite and component input due to the thinness of the set, and has 2 usb ports and a SD card slot which has always been a nice feature on the Panasonics.
The picture setting options remain like they have in the past. You get the basic settings with Cinema having the most accurate default settings and all the other worthless ones (no THX on the ST50). One thing to note is that there is a motion smoother setting set to on by default. I would recommend turning this and other worthless options like black extension off for the best quality, as when on they can cause some funkiness. The Custom option offers a few more `Pro settings' with some gamma presets and a 2-point grayscale control. Using this and the Cnet settings as a starting point, I was able to tweak the set to an excellent picture.
The quality of the ST50's picture for a mid-range set is great. The black levels are very good and on par with my Kuro 5020 from 2008. The letterbox bars, while still visible on dark scenes will blend into the bezel on bright scenes. The Elites: the 08 Kuro and last year's Sharp, will still best the blacks on this set, but not my much. That gap has shrunk significantly with these 2012 Panasonics. The shadow detail was excellent on this set as I did not witness any black crush within the dark scenes. There are some night scenes in Band of Brothers I use to test shadow detail and contrast and the ST50 performed great.
Panasonic also finally eliminated that green push that has tainted their non-flagship models for the past few years. Using the HD Essentials BR and the redhead scene, she looked incredibly natural with no reddish hue. For not having a CMS, I was very impressed with the color accuracy of the ST50. Nature scenes appear natural and flesh tones are almost spot on - not perfect but darn close.
As with all plasmas, the viewing angle on the ST50 is superb. You can literally be looking at this screen from the side and still see the picture as bright and natural as being straight on. This is still the one area where LCD's aren't even close to being on the same playing field as plasmas.
The set does run warm, but not quite as bad as years passed. Even though they will never match LCDs, they keep on improving the energy efficiency of these plasmas. As far as buzzing, this has the one of the lowest buzz levels of plasmas I've heard. Usually in dead silence you can hear the buzz quite clearly, but on the ST50 you can only hear it if you're looking for it.
Everything thrown at this set has looked great. Several Blu-rays, quality HD programming on Smithsonian and HDNET, PS3 games and upscaled dvds. Of course even though most cable/satellite channels are very poor quality, the `flaws' on these channels didn't seem as pronounced on this set and actually looked halfways decent.
As with all flat screens, the audio quality is nothing to write home about but I would say the quality on this one is better than most. If you just want to just hear the audio, the built-in speakers will suffice as the volume can go quite loud and the dialogue is clear. Obviously for the best experience, a separate sound system will be best.
Value and Overall Thoughts
I think the ST50 is a superb value. Even at the retail price it is a good value and this will only keep improving as prices drop. I can't say how it compares to the GT50, but I'm guessing there won't be too much difference between these set's PQ, if any at all yet the GT50 runs several hundred more. It will probably lag behind the flagship VT50, but will also be about half the price of that set.
As I and the owners use this set more, I will report back with any more issues that may come up or further feedback on the set. With all that, I can say with confidence that this may be the best performance-to-value set of 2012. There is very little not to like with this set and overall, it is a superb display for anyone but the pickiest of videophiles.
Oh!, for best deal of this pany, I suggest you have to check before you buy it at: 3dplasmatv2012.wordpress.com/panasonic-tc-p55st50/
I highly recommend the ST50.
13 out of 18 users found this user opinion helpful.
This is a very outstanding plasma HDTV.
by johnnydk on January 15, 2013
Pros: Very good picture quality and color accuracy and viewing angle. It Produces some of the best black that I see so far. I highly recommend you get this if you plan to watch movies during nighttime.
Cons: The screen have glare if you watching it at during daytime which is kind of annoying. The sound quality not as good as home theater system.
Summary: I am an electronic sales and I say this is a excellent HDTV choice if you like to watch movies during nighttime. I also recommend you to check out http://...
Summary: I am an electronic sales and I say this is a excellent HDTV choice if you like to watch movies during nighttime. I also recommend you to check out http://www.squidoo.com/best-hdtv for information on what best HDTV to get this year.
7 out of 10 users found this user opinion helpful.
Amazing picture quality for the value
by bartsor on November 20, 2012
Pros: Black levels are AMAZING
Excellent color quality and features
Lots of picture customization options
Viera Link lets you control Home Theatre audio with one remote
Good web browser
Easy to use App interface
Cons: Not a whole lot of smart-tv apps, but the list is growing
Summary: I waited about a month before writing a review so that I can get a good feel of the TV. I got the 50" and mounted it on the wall. ...
Summary: I waited about a month before writing a review so that I can get a good feel of the TV. I got the 50" and mounted it on the wall. I use it primarily for gaming on the XBOX360, watching Netflix and occasionally using other smart-tv apps (youtube, browser, etc). Out of the box the picture was good but screen was a bit dark. After applying the customized settings from this site, the picture is amazing. It really stands out when I play xbox or watch HD movies on Netflix. The TV is easy to use and the remote is very decent.
The stock TV speakers are enough for regular TV watching or even netflix however I found it wasn't quite enough for gaming. I ended up getting a panasonic soundbar+subwoofer and was quite satisfied. I connected it via ARC and I didn't have to use the small remote that came with it because it supports Viera Link. That means I can use the TV remote to automatically control the soundbar/subwoofer.
Overall, the TV is excellent for the price and out-performs many other more expensive plasmas.
I would especially recommend it for hard core console gamers (although you'd want to get a second sound source) who don't want to spend the money on the VT50.
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
by ruzzal on April 3, 2012
Pros: PQ, Styling, built in wireless for Web Apps, Panasonic reliability
Cons: none that I can find
Summary: Great TV, had GT30, was OK, but was not supper happy with the PQ, traded for this this and it is great. Third Panny and no problems with any of ...
Summary: Great TV, had GT30, was OK, but was not supper happy with the PQ, traded for this this and it is great. Third Panny and no problems with any of them. Best PQ,reliability and value out there.
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
Excellent back for your buck Plasma tv.
by MNgadgets on June 8, 2012
Pros: Great Picture
Love the smart part of the tv
Cons: Actually none yet.
Summary: I have been very pleased with this tv. The smart apps/features are amazing and easy to use. If you use Pandora, Netflix, Hulu,; you need to have a smart ...
Summary: I have been very pleased with this tv. The smart apps/features are amazing and easy to use. If you use Pandora, Netflix, Hulu,; you need to have a smart tv, and the price for this model (I actually got the 50"), you can't lose.
2 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
Great if it works, good luck if not
by Peeps081605 on February 2, 2013
Pros: Excellent, probably unmatched picture
Easy to adjust, but good out of the box
Very nice on the wall, good design
Cons: Quality is suspect
Panasonic customer service is terrible
Panasonic network of warranty centers is poor in my area
I noticed alot of image retention in the short time it worked (always fixable, nothing burned in)
Summary: Tv worked great for about 40 days, which was 10 days more than my retailer would allow me to send it back. It took Panasonic 6 weeks to deliver a ...
Summary: Tv worked great for about 40 days, which was 10 days more than my retailer would allow me to send it back. It took Panasonic 6 weeks to deliver a part that my service center took two weeks to order. Yesterday, after looking at a $2700 paperweight for two months, the part Panasonic sent was bad. (The problem with my set is the panel failed).Jmarcus, thanks for the tip after the fact, but I don't go to dept stores for TVs and extended warranties are by and large a complete ripoff. In this day and age the proliferation of online retailers should prompt tech companies to improve their service levels. Don't know if I mentioned but Panasonic customer service didn't even file my claim properly. And the part was available. I would certainly assume based on elasticity of demand that ongoing retail erosion would increase volume and therefore problems. And don't confuse retail with manufacturer sell price.
The initial report to Panasonic was also awful...they didn't get any of my information right and I basically had to have my service center re-file the warranty claim. The person on the other end could barely communicate with me due to a language barrier.
I honestly can't recommend a Panasonic product to anyone. If you do buy one go to a retailer with a no questions asked return policy, as an extended warranty is worthless since you can't get parts in a reasonable timeframe. Based on some other reviews and talking to my service center Panasonic quality is becoming a concern.
If the set worked I would give it 4-5 stars, but my review reflects my experience which has been a total nightmare that Panasonic could have easily fixed months ago. I would think if the panel dies, it makes sense to just ship a new set and get the core back but Panasonic would rather try to send the most expensive and large part in the TV instead. And in my case their QC in the parts dept wasn't adequate. I will update my review if my TV ever works again.
Updated on Mar 5, 2013
Panasonic replaced my TV after 90 days and it is absolutely stunning. Having saved $1000 buying from Amazon ended up costing me in the long run, but part of the fault lies with my service center and Panny. Lesson learned. Go to a dedicated tech store that has a liberal return policy and a price match and you can avoid my situation. And don't buy extended warranties...typically TVs fail quickly if they will at all.
1 out of 1 users found this user opinion helpful.
Exellent bang for the buck
by fallengt on February 2, 2013
Pros: Cheap, decent picture quality.
Cons: Plasma still has problems, bad customer support from Panasonic.
Summary: I bought this TV 2 months ago, everything work perfectly, you can expect top notch picture quality from a mid-range TV. Before I bought it, I acknowledged Plasma still has ...
Summary: I bought this TV 2 months ago, everything work perfectly, you can expect top notch picture quality from a mid-range TV. Before I bought it, I acknowledged Plasma still has problem like high power consumption, banding/dithering, line bleed and such but that's ok I can live with it and LED also has it own problems too.
Few weeks ago, I used AVS HD709 pattern and notice huge red tint in center of the screen.
I thought Plasma should have better uniformity than LED but I guess that was wrong. It only visible in low-end IRE, I barely( or not at all) see it in high-end IRE pattern or normal content . So I called Customer Support, a technican came at my house and use inner test pattern in Service menu, ST50 only has 100 IRE white, RGB and few other test patterns so he couldn't see any thing.
I tried to explain to him that AVS HD709 is a very legit sources to check these kind of issue and if he watched 8 hours a day for few months like me, he would notice it sometimes. But still I couldn't show him how the red tint can affect picture quality while watching normal content and he refused using anything but their inner pattern as test method.
Anyway, Panasonic said "the TV is in spec" and I have to deal with it. Very disappointing custom support from Panasonic
1 out of 1 users found this user opinion helpful.
Amazing picture quality that LED's cannot match
by Lo-Tech on April 17, 2013
Pros: Beautiful vibrant colors that pop, deep blacks, 600hz refresh rate. YouTube and internet browser...no need for cable TV.
Cons: Browser and YouTube control is cluncky. In a perfect world would come with a keyboard/mouse
Summary: Easily beats Sony XBR picture quality! Plasma is where its at...
Summary: Easily beats Sony XBR picture quality! Plasma is where its at...
Excellent TV with awesome picture quality.
by skigator13 on December 25, 2012
Pros: Read the CNET review & specs, watched the video, & looked at the picture in-store all several times over, before purchasing. Did the same for multiple other LED & Plasma TVs before I purchased the TC-P55ST55. Agree with CNET review... it's "sp
Cons: Does run a little warm (generates some heat).
Base is sturdy & very easy to assemble; it just doesn't swivel.
Default picture setting was dark, but after trying different settings, the "game" picture setting produced a vivid, bright & sharp pictur
Summary: This is one AWESOME TV! The picture is incredible! Was really leery of the warnings about plasma TVs being dark. No problem in my living room at my house in ...
Summary: This is one AWESOME TV! The picture is incredible! Was really leery of the warnings about plasma TVs being dark. No problem in my living room at my house in Florida (with sunshine outside 300+ days/year).
You can definitely buy a cheaper set, including many LEDs, but you you won't get the picture quality found on this set. I'm really glad I decided to spend several hundred dollars more for this model, & ditto for buying a 55" instead of the 50" that I first looked at.
I haven't even had the set tuned as yet, & I can honestly tell you it's the best picture on a TV that I've ever seen.
Viewing angle is great! As mentioned earlier, I have to agree that the CNET review for this television is "on the money" & 98% correct.
Died and now I have to wait 1 month for the parts.
by dthmadison on December 15, 2012
Pros: Great picture...when it works.
Cons: Dead TV...nuf said...
Summary: After less than a year, the TV died and Panasonic had to order parts. After a week, they say the parts are on backorder and it will be another three ...
Summary: After less than a year, the TV died and Panasonic had to order parts. After a week, they say the parts are on backorder and it will be another three weeks. I bet they can continue to sell the TV! They just can't seem to figure out a way to support those that have already purchased this highly rated TV. The lack of customer service is sad and quite disappointing. If I had it to do over again, I'd get a Samsung. Advice...steer clear.
- Manufacturer: Panasonic
- Part number: TC-P55ST50
- Description: The display alternately shows images for the left and right eyes. The left and right lenses of the eyewear open and close in sync with this display timing to show separate images to the left and right eyes. By repeating this action at high speed, the brain perceives 3D images. And because this method displays Full HD 3D images just as they are, both eyes receive 3D images in high, Full-HD quality. This original Panasonic technology detects image movements like the human eye, and optimizes the drive accordingly. By achieving instantaneously powerful light emission rather than finely divided emission, it reduces the afterimages that cause blurring. As a result, fast movement is reproduced with excellent clarity. Enhancements to the panel and cells help reproduce images with smooth, natural gradation and deep, rich blacks - even when viewed in bright surroundings. In movies, the true, deep blacks faithfully convey the intent of the filmmakers, adding power and realism to the viewing experience.
- TV type Plasma
- Screen size 55 in
- 3D Yes
- Connectivity Built-in Wi-Fi,
- Internet streaming services Skype,
- Skype details Skype ready,
Web camera sold separately - Panasonic TY-CC20W
- TV features 2D to 3D conversion,
Infinite Black Pro Panel,
Faster-switching phosphor panel,
- 3D glasses & accessories 3D glasses sold separately
- Technology 3D
- Plasma panel technology Panasonic 15th Generation Plasma Panel
- Native resolution 1920 x 1080
- Resolution 1080p
- Refresh rate 600 Hz
- Aspect ratio 16:9
- 24p technology 24p Cinematic Playback,
3D 24p Cinema Smoother
- Progressive Scan Progressive scanning (line doubling)
- Widescreen Widescreen
- Widescreen modes Full,
- Backlight life 100,000 hour(s)
- HDCP compatible Yes
- Supported DTV resolutions 720p,
- TV tuner presence Yes
- HDTV Tuner Yes
- Digital TV tuner ATSC,
- Analog TV tuner NTSC
- TV tuner reception system NTSC
- Speaker(s) 2 x Right/left channel speaker - Built-in - 4 Watt,
1 x Subwoofer - Built-in - 10 Watt
- Analog video input signals NTSC
- Surround mode Yes
- Sound effects 3D Sound
- Total output power 18 Watt
- HDMI ports qty 3
- Input/Output connections 3 x HDMI input (19 pin HDMI Type A) - Side,
2 x USB 2.0 (4 pin USB Type A),
1 x Composite video / component video input (RCA phono x 3) - On supplied adapter,
1 x Audio line-in (RCA phono x 2) - On supplied adapter,
1 x Audio line-in (Mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm),
1 x Network (RJ-45),
1 x Digital audio output (optical) (TOSLINK)
- Video interface HDMI,
- Type Standard remote control
- Component type None
Stands & Mounts
- Stand included Included
- Stand design Tabletop
- Power device Power supply - Internal
- Power device nominal voltage AC 120 V
Dimensions & Weight
- Dimensions (WxDxH) 51.2 in x 14.1 in x 32.4 in - With stand
- Weight 71.6 lbs
Dimensions & Weight (Shipping)
- Width 59.8 in
- Depth 11.2 in
- Height 34.6 in
- Weight 90.4 lbs
- Greenpeace policy rating (Nov 2011) 3.6
- Greenpeace policy rating (Nov 2012) 3.6