Panasonic Viera TH-P50ST50A

The Panasonic Viera TH-P50ST50A 3D Plasma TV delivers a smooth 2D picture, decent 3D and reasonable networking for a sub-$2000 price.


8.1
CNET Rating
8.5
User Rating

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System

Panasonic's plasma still provides one of the best pictures out there. And even today, each plasma dollar seems to provide more square centimetres of screen area than each LCD dollar. The 127cm screen packs the usual 1920x1080 pixels, and 3D is delivered using the active system. The eyewear (one pair of glasses is included) is synced to the TV using 2.4GHz band RF. That avoids line-of-sight problems, and interference with IF remote-control operation.

The panel is quite thin, at 45mm over most of its area. The area around the picture isn't the thinnest, though, coming in at 36mm at top and sides, so it lacks that thin bezel elegance. A neat swivel stand provides some day-to-day flexibility.

Connections are provided for composite and component analog video, plus there are three HDMI inputs and two USB sockets. There's an Ethernet socket, along with built-in Wi-Fi. You can use one of the USB sockets to plug in a hard disk drive to record and time shift live TV.

Picture

Panasonic plasma TVs generally provide glorious picture quality, and the new 2012 range has preserved this legacy. Smooth processing results in a clean, yet detailed, picture. Full free-to-air HD and SD TV are both presented essentially as well as is possible, and with a good Blu-ray disc, the results are magnificent.

Except for two things. The default brightness of the image just hovers on the edge of being a tad too dull — just on the edge. I suspect that Panasonic has been doing some balancing here, reducing the brightness a bit so there are plenty of stars on the Energy Consumption Label. This shows 5.5 stars, which our measurements confirm.

Even with our room lights out, the picture did not punch out quite as much as we expected it to.

The other thing was that the colour did not seem absolutely accurate, leaning a little towards a slight warm-brown bias. This actually made it nicer to watch, giving it a rich glow. But we doubt that it's the highest in picture accuracy.

With 3D, the results were impressive. Panasonic has basically eliminated black ghosting or crosstalk (in which darker objects over light backgrounds have ghosts), which deals with the bulk of the problem. However, it wasn't so good with white crosstalk (light objects on dark backgrounds). This was visible from time to time in actual program material, but was reasonably well controlled, and not too obtrusive. Nonetheless, it could be seen.

The static test pattern showed close enough to zero breakthrough for black objects in front of white, but a nasty 40 per cent for white objects in front of black.

It's amazing that with figures like these, it still works at all.

Goodies

The network connectivity was reasonably complete. This is implemented as "Viera Apps", and you can download more — most or all are currently free — from the Viera App store, which is accessible through the TV. There are even a bunch of games on there.

With a lot of consumer electronics, access to network features is so sluggish as to make said features worthless, but this TV was reasonably snappy. Even the web browser — definitely a cut-down version — brought up pages quickly and accurately.

Controlling such functions can also be a pain. The Panasonic Viera remote-control app for Android/iOS eased the pain of this quite a bit, offering cursor control and keyboard text entry.

It also acted as a DLNA server, allowing the TV to display photos and videos from your mobile device on its screen. The DLNA function also works with more conventional network sources, and supports music, as well.

Other Viera apps provide access to BigPond movies, ABC iView and so on; social-media interaction (including Facebook and Twitter); and the use of Skype (if you cough up AU$129 for an optional Skype camera/microphone).

There's not much left to want here, but the screen organisation of all of these features isn't as inviting to use as those of some of the other brands. There are basically eight or fewer selections available per page. But you can edit these screens to have your most-used items closer to the front page.

The end

Nonetheless, it's hard to go past the Panasonic Viera TH-P50ST50A when it comes to a smooth and enticing 2D picture, and good-quality full-resolution 3D.



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GarryL2 Facebook
9
Rating
 

"Always a great plasma picture will not buy a Led / Lcd,"

GarryL2 posted a review   

The Good:Picture and Sound are good

The Bad:USB, no input too access USB, stand not as sturdy as old Panasonic

Love the Panasonic THP50ST60A 50 inch Plasma 3D tv.having fun driving the new TV, Have not used the Viera link yet, Having probs with the USB will not Record any will not except flash drives or any other device, My old 42 inch Plasma Panasonic analog TV was great 7 years old still going strong cannot beat the Clear screen and depth.

 

bigthunderdownunder posted a comment   
Australia

Quality picture on this, got the 60 inch for my parents and it tuned up really well for all content but the 2013 models are out now so probably should look at those I saw the VT60 in JB it looks mint

 

RobertB4 posted a comment   

Interested in buying this TV as I found it on sale for $1299, however I would like to know, is there a difference in this model to the TC-P55ST50? The TC version got a much more positve review on the US version of CNET (http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/panasonic-tc-p55st50/4505-6482_7-35118300.html) so I'd like to know what differences there are if any if anyone knows.

Wasn't able to find any info anywhere else.

Thanks

 

bigthunderdownunder posted a reply   
Australia

They are exactly the same

http://reviews.cnet.com/best-high-definition-tvs/

destorman
9
Rating
 

"Great, value for money plasma"

destorman posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Picture Quality, Ease of Use, Value

The Bad:Web Browser - no flash support

We have the 50" version of the ST50A which we bought for $1420 including 4yrs extended warranty ... Check our comments on whirlpool.net.au here: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1917351&p=71 ... generally very happy with this value for money plasma.

 

TroyC1 posted a comment   

This is a brilliant TV. I have the ST50 in the 60 inch version and couldn't be happier. Previously had an ST30 series and this model kills it for deep blacks, bright room performance and sound quality. The fact is comes with built in wi-fi and a pair of 3D glasses is icing on the cake. For the money I believe there is nothing that comes close and I am super fussy.

Andrewv Facebook
9
Rating
 

"Amazingly good ... exceeded my expectations, albeit I'm new to big flatscreens."

Andrewv posted a review   

The Good:Great picture, low reflectivity, really good sound (for a flatscreen), easy setup

The Bad:No 3D glasses included! (minor gripe).

This is our first big flatscreen and I did a lot of research before buying. I was only looking LCD because people said plasmas were only for dark conditions. Then I read about the newer plasmas that have good anti-glare, bright picture etc. One guy mentioned that the ST50 was great so I looked and got hooked. Really loving it. The picture is amazing and most surprisingly for me, the sound is heaps, heaps better than I expected. I was about to buy a soundbar but I think for the moment I'll hold off.

Amazed at the angle that you can view from. It's opened up so much more viewing ... being able to be in the kitchen washing up and watch the TV at more than 45 degrees! Very happy with it. Great price too.

 

Danny Sinfield posted a reply   
Australia

"The Bad:No 3D glasses included! (minor gripe)."

You must have not looked hard enough. Every 3D Panasonic plasma comes with one pair of glasses.

Panasonic ST50A:
'Design and other features

Optional Wi-Fi dongle #TY-WL20A
1 x Eyewear supplied"

Source: blogs.panasonic.com.au/consumer/2012/04/13/panasonic-launches-its-2012-smart-viera-plasma-tv-range/

boncordo
7
Rating
 

boncordo posted a review   
Australia

Panasonic sucks when it comes to SMART TV services.

They don't have SBS and Channel 10 'On Demand' - SONY Smart TV's Do.
They don't have the Foxtel app - Samsung will release it for their Smart TV's this July.
They don't have Big Pond movies - LG has had it since 2010.

Panasonic make great TV's but - if you're after SMART TV services... give them a miss.

 

whichtv posted a comment   
Australia

This review does not seem to be up to your usual standard. Can the TV be adjusted to make a better picture??? I have seen the new Samsung plasma and it too looked dull next to the new samsung led/lcd. However on close inspection the detail and natural look of the picture was still far superior to the led/lcd. Does the Panasonic plasma have the potenial to be adjusted to a better picture?

Thank You.

 

kokonutz posted a comment   
Australia

Has anyone completely tested the 3D features using YouTube which offers some 3D content ? movies such as Resident Evil after , Avatar 3D etc etc, Anyone experience any crosstalk/ghosting within this movies?

Does this TV make 3D phenominal viewing?

Thanks

 

NigelB posted a comment   

Stephen Dawson, did you change the picture mode to true cinema or even just cinema during your review?
I'm surprised to hear it looked dull.

What about the audio?
Was there ANY noticeable 'panel buzz' coming from the screen?

Cheers
10DD

 

cammc posted a reply   
Australia

Just bought the 50 inch ST50 on the weekend. There is a very noticeable 'panel buzz'. This is something I didn't count on, especially coming from an LCD.




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User Reviews / Comments  Panasonic Viera TH-P50ST50A

  • GarryL2

    GarryL2

    Rating9

    "Love the Panasonic THP50ST60A 50 inch Plasma 3D tv.having fun driving the new TV, Have not used the Viera link yet, Having probs with the USB will not Record any will not except flash drives or any..."

  • bigthunderdownunder

    bigthunderdownunder

    "Quality picture on this, got the 60 inch for my parents and it tuned up really well for all content but the 2013 models are out now so probably should look at those I saw the VT60 in JB it looks mint"

  • RobertB4

    RobertB4

    "Interested in buying this TV as I found it on sale for $1299, however I would like to know, is there a difference in this model to the TC-P55ST50? The TC version got a much more positve review on t..."

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