TV shoppers: Now is the time to buy a Panasonic plasma
Panasonic has confirmed that its excellent plasma-based televisions won't be available for sale after March 2014. If you were waiting to get a new TV, now's the best, and close to the last, time you can acquire one of our favorites.
S60 series: 42-inch (sold out), 50-inch ($699), 55-inch (sold out), 60-inch (sold out), 65-inch ($1,499)
Best for: Tighter budgets, somewhat dimmer rooms, serious twitch video gamers.
The S60 represents the low end of Panasonic's 1080p plasma lineup, but its picture quality is simply phenomenal for the price. Its main downside is a screen finish that doesn't hold up well in bright rooms. It's not a full-fledged
Read the full review of the Panasonic TC-PS60 series.
50-inch ($999), 55-inch ($1,499*), 60-inch ($1,499), 65-inch ($2,599)
Best for: Mainstream budgets, picture quality enthusiasts who aren't serious twitch gamers.
Until the ST60 came along, we'd never given a five-star review to a TV at CNET. It's just that good. The picture quality will please even the most persnickety videophile, although those who can afford better might be even happier with a VT or ZT below. Gamers who demand instantaneous response should avoid this laggy set, but more-casual gamers are unlikely to notice the difference. We gave the ST60 and S60 the same 10 in value, but the ST's superior antireflective screen makes it much more versatile under all kinds of lighting. If you're not on an extra-tight budget, it's worth stepping up to the ST even if you don't care about its added features like Smart TV and 3D.
VT60 series: 55-inch
($1,599) ($1,499), 60-inch ($1,799) ($1,849), 65-inch ($2,149) ($2,299)
Best for: Videophiles who don't demand the ZT60's picture.
This plasma earned a 10 in image quality and outperforms every other TV we've ever reviewed, with the exception of legendary Pioneer Kuro (the VT60 basically tied it) and of course Big Zed below. It beats the ST60 in every way including daytime viewing, although if your living room is particularly bright, the ZT60 is an even better choice. In the dark the two are equal in every important way, however -- and when you throw in its superior sound quality and features, the VT is the better value, too.
60-inch ($2,499), 65-inch ($3,199)
Best for: Those who want the best non-OLED picture available today.
Did we mention value before? OK, well, compared with
Looking for specs and more info? Compare these TVs head-to-head. Click through to the reviews for additional screen sizes.