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Panasonic TC-P55ST50 picture settings

by katzmaier CNET staff/forum admin / March 28, 2012 5:25 AM PDT


Related products:

Calibration report using these settings:

Below you'll find the settings I found best for viewing the Panasonic TC-P55ST50 in a dim room via the HDMI input. Your settings may vary depending on source, room conditions, and personal preference. Check out the Picture settings and calibration FAQ for more information.

Calibration notes: Before calibration and review I aged my Panasonic TC-P55ST50 review sample for 100 hours, my standard procedure for plasma TVs. By default the Cinema setting produced the best picture, although its grayscale was quite green. Since it allowed no adjustment, I resorted to Custom mode. Happily Custom is much better than it was last year and allowed significant improvement despite scant coltrols.

As usual for Custom I disabled settings like Black Extension and Automatic Gain Control (AGC). The former had no positive or negative effect I could discern, while reducing the latter to zero reclaimed detail in white areas. I settled on a gamma preset of 2.6, which came closest to the ideal of 2.2 with panel brightness set to Mid. Compared to the ST30 last year, the ST50's panel easily achieved my target light output of 40 Fl without having to increase Panel Brightness beyond the default Mid; the set seems a good deal brighter this year, even though this year I reviewed a 55-inch model compared to a 50-incher last year (with plasmas, larger sizes are usually dimmer).

The Custom setting's default color and tint is much better than last year's. There's no CMS, but using the simple color and tint controls I was able to get nearly every color under the target delta error, so I was able to keep Color at 46 (as opposed to 32 from last year). For that reason, along with the ability to improve grayscale via the 2-point system, Custom after user-menu-only calibration now offers a much better picture than Cinema can.

On the downside the grayscale is less linear many other TVs'. In particular there was a big RGB balance anomaly at 50, which threw the average gamma and grayscale results for a significant loop. A ten-point grayscale/gamma control might be able to address it.

--Picture menu
Picture mode: Custom
Contrast: +82
Brightness: +60
Color: +46
Tint: 0
Sharpness: 0
Color temp: Warm 2
Color mgmt: Off [grayed out]
C.A.T.S.: Off
Video NR: Off

-- Pro settings submenu
Color space: Normal
W/B high R: +10
W/B high G: 0
W/B high B: +3
W/B low R: +4
W/B low G: 0
W/B low B: -2
Black extension: 0
Gamma adjustment: 2.6
Panel brightness: Mid
Contour emphasis: Off
AGC: 0

-- Aspect adjustments submenu
Screen format: Full
HD size: Size 2
H size: [grayed out]
Zoom adjustments: [grayed out]

-- HDMI settings: [no change from default]

--Advanced picture submenu
3D Y/C filter: Off [grayed out]
Color matrix: HD [grayed out]
Block NR: Off [grayed out]
Mosquito NR: Off
Motion smoother: Off
Black level: Light
3:2 pulldown: On
24p Direct in: 60Hz

Note: This post was edited by its original author added link to calibration results on 03/28/2012 at 1:21 PM PT

Note: This post was edited by its original author Fixed typos in Calibration Notes section. on 03/29/2012 at 6:02 AM PT

Note: This post was edited by its original author modify title on 03/29/2012 at 12:33 PM PT

Note: This post was edited by its original author Updated link to calibration report on 01/15/2013 at 7:12 AM PT

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Panasonic TC-P55ST50
by YardleyFFL / April 7, 2012 2:14 AM PDT

Hi David, I am interested in this television, but as I work in the hockey industry, it alarms me to read a review from amazon that reads like this...

"I got this after going through two Sony NX720s and a near top-of-the-line Samsung plasma. The NX720s had flashlighting issues, while the Samsung suffered from ABL, or automatic brightness limiting. Unfortunately, the ST50 suffers from ABL as well. Last year's models apparently got an update that allowed disabling it, but no such option exists on the ST50 yet.

Most viewers won't be affected by ABL, as it only really comes into effect when there's a lot of white or near-white color on the screen, at which point the screen dims noticeably, with whites looking more like grays. Some people have dubbed this the 'hockey effect', since it's going to constantly dim the screen while you're watching a hockey game. Myself, I like to hook up the computer and play movies or browse the web. The moment I put up a window with a lot of white, the screen goes dim."

So as I work in hockey, this doesn't sound like the television for me, but I want to be interested in it. I noticed in your calibration settings that you mentioned something called "Automatic Gain Control." Is this something that might be causing the "hockey effect" talked about above? Thanks for your time.

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Panasonic TC-P55ST50
by nixstyx / April 11, 2012 11:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Panasonic TC-P55ST50

I am definitely no TV expert, but I can tell you that I don't know what the Amazon reviewer was talking about and that I love this TV. Right now I'm watching game one of the Phili v. Pitt series (in a dark room, and adjusted to CNET's recommended calibration settings) and the ice looks pretty damn good to me. I'm not completely sure what the reviewer was referring to. There is a "C.A.T.S. setting" (which CNET recommends disabling) on this TV that says it "adjusts brightness and gradation according to lighting conditions," but this can easily be turned off through basic picture settings. There is also an "ECO power save" option that limits screen brightness to reduce electricity use, but this can also be turned off. There is a discernible difference when either of these options are enabled in a dark-lit room, and yes, ice looks more gray than white when they are enabled. However, it only takes about 30 seconds to disable them. They might even be off by default, I don't remember. This is definitely the best looking TV I've seen, and blows prior years' comparable Panasonic models out of the wayer. But like I said, not a real expert.

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by YardleyFFL / April 11, 2012 4:56 PM PDT
In reply to: Panasonic TC-P55ST50

Thanks for the reply nixstyx. I have the gift cards ready to go, I just want to make sure I am getting the right tv with them. I appreciate the info.

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by chasemillard / February 1, 2013 4:13 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks!

YardleyFFL.... I was wondering if you ever ended up getting your ST50? If so, how satisfied are you?

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by hashtag / July 10, 2012 9:45 PM PDT
In reply to: Panasonic TC-P55ST50

FYI, I also notice ABL (or something very similar). It's most annoying when the amount of light in an image changes, e.g. panning across an ice hockey rink and bringing more (dark-clothed) spectators into the image. As the overall luminosity of the image goes down, it looks like more power is put into the whites, and they noticeably change hue from a grey to a white. When there's any fast action going on, it can be very disruptive, because it ends up as flickering

There is also the issue of a full screen of what should be white (some commercials which are a white background with a small amount of text) which ends up grey.

It's very frustrating because the picture quality is otherwise outstanding.

Am just plucking up the courage and willpower to contact Panasonic and go through a lengthy process which will probably result in having to go through the process of researching a new TV. Again.

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ABL is a huge issue
by Ed92663 / June 4, 2013 10:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Panasonic TC-P55ST50

I purchased the 50" Panasonic. IMO the ABL issue us very annoying and distracting. Any way to fix this?.

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Plasma conditioning
by Kegox / April 28, 2012 2:10 AM PDT

Hi David,
I'm planning to buy this TV and I'm wondering if these new plasma TVs need to be conditioned to age the phosphors and prevent future burn in?

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by Ish81 / May 14, 2012 7:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Plasma conditioning

I'm also wondering the same question. I get my tv this week and don't have alot of patience, so I'm wondering if it is really worth 'aging' this TV for 100 hours with a color slide show (recommended by 'd-nice' in the high def junkie forums). Do we really need to do this or can we just pop in your settings out of the box.

Interested to get an answer. Thanks.

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Break-in period.
by Diego2thebay / June 15, 2012 1:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Aging/100hrs

I'm under the impression that aging the TV for 100 hrs is to allow the sets colors (phosphers) to settle in and avoid as little color drift after calibration. I'm sure you could easily apply Davids settings out of the box but I don't think you'll get the same results as him. I normally recommend to friends and family atleast 200 hrs before calibration.

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Panasonic TC-P55GT50
by JTP4 / May 11, 2012 2:21 AM PDT

Do the settings for the ST50 also apply to the GT50? If not, do you have any recommended settings for the GT?


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3:2 pulldown
by DP86 / May 15, 2012 12:07 PM PDT

You have "3:2 pulldown: On" and "24p Direct in: 60Hz", but they are both grayed out in my TC-P50ST50. "24p Direct in" is already at 60Hz, but "3:2 pulldown" is set to "off" and I can't change it... How did you change it?

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3:2 pulldown
by Captain_Mal / May 24, 2012 3:34 AM PDT

Having the same issue as DP86. I can't turn on the 3:2: pulldown since it's grayed out. Tried messing around with other settings and there seems to be no way to change it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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3:2 pulldown
by chcaldwell42 / May 25, 2012 5:47 PM PDT
In reply to: 3:2 pulldown

As with any HDTV, in order to access the 3:2 pulldown, you are going to have to feed your TV an Interlaced source. So that means, either set your Blu-Ray player, Cable Box, or Gaming Console to either 480i or 1080i. The setting should then be able to access. So just remember, 3:2 is only for interlaced sources, not progressive like 480p, 720p, and 1080p.

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St50 settings
by Rapidattack / June 25, 2012 10:04 PM PDT


Just bought the p60st50, I am struggling with calibration in a below average naturally light room.
With tv connected direct to the tv, I get only a few of the settings shown above.
It's like I'm missing heaps on config options.

I know it's not the ut, it's def the st.
Also have the same issue with composite input for my satellite austar.

Any suggestions or help welcomed.

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I cannot access all of these menu's - what am I doing wrong?
by Yetizod / August 17, 2012 6:47 AM PDT

I just bought this TV and would like to try playing around with some of the settings listed here. However, when I switch to custom picture mode as cnet suggests, the "Pro Settings" submenu is grayed out. I cannot select it. When I switch to Cinema mode, the Pro Settings is available, but then the Advanced picture submenu is not available.

No one else i've been able to find online seems to be having this problem. So i figure it must be something i'm doing wrong. Can anyone help?

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Similar question to Rapidattack
by Adamearl / August 26, 2012 1:38 PM PDT

I just bought the VT50 and am looking for the best out-of-the-box settings to use. I am a total beginner at plasma tv's and struggling to wrap my brain around all these threads. Any basic advice before I try digging into the Pro settings?

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out-of-box setting
by Diego2thebay / August 26, 2012 5:00 PM PDT

The most accurate mode on that set would be the THX mode out of the box. Its gray scale comes closest to accurate. Put it on THX. If you have a calibration disc or any DVD with a THX optimizer, run that to adjust brightness and contrast. Or just have it professionally calibrated.

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re: THX mode post by Diego2thebay
by rja12 / September 19, 2012 11:17 PM PDT
In reply to: out-of-box setting

This thread is regarding the ST50 model....which doesn't have THX. You don't get that until the GT50 series

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by rja12 / September 19, 2012 11:19 PM PDT
In reply to: out-of-box setting

Diego2thebay...sorry. I just now realized you were responding to the person with the VT model. My mistake.

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Settings for 1080p 24p playback on TC-P55ST50
by ezreezee / September 7, 2012 4:06 AM PDT

I have been trying to get my PS3 Slim and another Blu-Ray player to play 1080p 24p on my new Panasonic TC-P55ST50 that I bought on the recommendation from CNET. I keep getting a signal that cuts in and out and sometimes the TV cannot even recognize a signal at all. Do you have the settings for how you set up your TV and PS3 or Blu-Ray player to get the 24p playback that you mention in your review?


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by Diego2thebay / September 20, 2012 11:38 AM PDT

The ST50 should automatically detect a 24 Hz signal as long as what ever device is connected is outputting at 24 Hz. On your PS3 go to the settings icon and in there go into video settings. About half way down you'll see a the setting set for 1080p 24 Hz output. Best to put that on automatic. Thats really all you have to do. Pop in just about any Blu-ray and it should just work automagically.

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PS3 Signal Issues
by FensterBos / December 14, 2012 1:43 AM PST
In reply to: 1080/24p

I am also having the same issues, but it also happens with playing video games too. The TV cannot read 720p or 1080i signals.

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by tgager09 / October 6, 2012 8:50 AM PDT

I know you recommend not adjusting it until after 100hrs of use but can I adjust the custom settings now and just watch it in standard or cinema mode until ive reached 100hrs and then just switch it over to custom and get the same result? I already adjusted the custom settings before reading through the post thoroughly so if I can get away without having to do its twice that would be great.. if not, I will reset and re-configure in a couple of weeks...


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break-in period.
by Diego2thebay / October 6, 2012 11:32 PM PDT
In reply to: OUT OF BOX??

Whether you set those settings now or wait the 100 hours first and then copy those settings will make no difference. 100-200 hour break-in period is what's recommended for a proper calibration... meaning adjusting white balance to their levels for best accuracy using colorimeter and cal software. Since it sounds like you plan on just copying these settings over then it doesn't really matter when you do it. Hope this helps.

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by houlsasner / October 22, 2012 3:28 AM PDT

Do you list what type of connections/cables you are using when testing? I just purchased the P50ST50 and want to get what maximizes the TVs capabilities. I will be hooking this to an older Bose 3-2-1 speaker system for the near term.



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by Diego2thebay / October 22, 2012 11:35 PM PDT
In reply to: Connections

They always use HDMI when calibrating and then when testing against other displays they use a high end HDMI splitter. HDMI is going to be your best choice for optimal picture quality.

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by houlsasner / October 23, 2012 2:11 AM PDT
In reply to: connections

Thanks for the reply. I've read (on cnet and other sites) that quality/price of HDMI makes no difference. Is this still the case? Is there any benefit for 3D using the more expensive cables (ie Monster 1000HD)?

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by Diego2thebay / October 23, 2012 3:21 AM PDT
In reply to: connections

Most cables on the market are capable of passing through a 3D signal. Try great cables for cheap. (Stay away from Monster)

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(NT) why stay way from monster?
by PRBR225 / November 21, 2012 3:13 AM PST
In reply to: connections
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