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Panasonic S60 plasma TV review: Low price, high performance: First Look

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First Look: Panasonic S60 plasma TV review: Low price, high performance

2:39 /

The budget-priced Panasonic S60 delivers great picture quality, especially in a dark room, for a price that makes it one of the best values we've ever seen.

Hi. I'm David Katzmaier from CNET. Standing next to me is Panasonic TC-P50S60. it's a 50-inch plasma TV 2013, it's the second cheapest that Panasonic makes. This series also comes in a 42, 55, 60 and 65-inch size, so, nice breath in the S60 series. This basic 1080p plasma series includes a little bit of smart TV but the real benefit here is the picture quality. The picture quality in TV is excellent for the price. One of the best pictures you can possibly get for the money, get to that in a little bit but first, just take a look at the styling. Panasonic didn't try to do too much with the exterior's set. It's a pretty basic black all around. The bezel is relatively thin, it's glossy black. It has also a little bit of accent mark above and below. The stand is not low but it is pretty low profile. So, all in all, a very understated design. Feature set on the S60 is bare bones. The top of the list is the Smart TV Suite. It's really not like the Smart TV Suites of the Step-Up's Panasonics or even the Samsung's and LG's to the world, however, it's extremely basic. You really only get 6 apps, Netflix, Amazon, Instant, VUDU, Hulu Plus, CinemaNow and YouTube. That's really all most people are gonna want, however, most people don't really utilize all those um-teen other apps found on a lot of the Smart TV Suite. So, in that way, if you like simple, this is pretty good. Panasonic also has built-in WiFi, so that's a nice touch. On the flip side, you're not gonna find 3D or any of the other fancy features found on some of the Step-Up sets. The real downside to that strip down feature set is the back panel. There's only two HDMI inputs available on this set. We really feel like 3 is kind of the minimum these days with the amount of things that you wanna connect. Of course, you can always buy an external switch or something like that but it's really nice Panasonic included that 3rd HDMI input. Other connectivity includes a pair of USB ports and a component video port. This set is also missing the SD card slot found in its Step-Up brethren. Picture adjustments on the S60 are actually extensive in going to the newly redesigned and much better menu system and find things like a color management system, as well as 5 different picture presets. There's also a few settings that address image retention, which where the plasma TV like this, if you use it normally isn't a big deal at all. I mentioned the real story here is picture quality for the money. The S60 isn't quite as good as the ST60, we reviewed a little bit earlier but it is spectacular. The real strength is deep black levels when you get into a dark room that blacks in this TV or as inky as any you'll see. The downside happens when you turn up the lights however. Under bright lighting is TV's image does wash out because it doesn't have the same kind of dark screen finish found on more expensive plasmas. So, for extremely bright rooms, I think this TV is not the best choice but if you do have pretty good control over ambient lighting, it's an excellent deal. That's a quick look at Panasonic's TC-PS60 series. I'm David Katzmaier with CNET.

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