Cheapest Panasonic 3D plasma a great value

If you can live with its homely design, the excellent picture quality and feature set of the Panasonic TC-PST30 series combine to make it one of the best plasma TV values available.

It might not be as pretty turned off as some other TVs, but the ST30's picture is a looker. Sarah Tew/CNET

When Panasonic detailed its 2011 plasma TV lineup at CES this January, we immediately pegged the TC-PST30 as the one model that "might hit the value sweet spot." After putting it through its paces we're going to eliminate the uncertainty from that phrase.

The TC-PST30 ($1,350 for the 50-inch size) may lack the THX certification of its more expensive brother the TC-PGT30, but picture quality between the two is largely a wash, and excellent overall in both cases. Both share identical, well-stocked feature sets, highlighted by improved Internet suites, Wi-Fi dongles, and 3D capability (albeit sans included glasses).

The ST30's only major downside, and the reason why some buyers might spring for another model, is pedestrian styling. At each of its six sizes, the Panasonic TC-PST30 series is our early favorite for best plasma TV value of 2011.

Read the full review of the Panasonic TC-PST30 series.

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