The Good The Panasonic TC-PST30 has excellent overall picture quality, with deep black levels, accurate color, and solid video processing. It can handle 1080p/24 sources well and exhibits the nearly perfect screen uniformity of plasma, as well as solid 3D picture quality. Its Internet suite is simple to use yet content-rich, and it includes a Wi-Fi dongle.
The Bad The chunky ST30 seems dated by today's flat-panel TV design standards. Picture quality flaws include limited brightness--a liability especially in bright rooms--and less-saturated color in its most accurate picture mode. The ST30 has fewer picture controls than the competition, doesn't include 3D glasses, and uses significantly more power than LCD TVs.
The Bottom Line 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.
When Panasonic detailed its 2011 plasma TV lineup at CES this January, we immediatelythe 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 may lack the THX certification of its more-expensive brother the , 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.
Editors' note (September 1, 2011): The reviewed size of this TVis undergoing long-term testing, the results of which don't affectthis review but may be interesting nonetheless. Clickhere for details.
Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 50-inch TC-P50ST30, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.
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