The Good The Panasonic TC-PVT50 series produces some of the best pictures ever, with exceedingly deep black levels, highly accurate color, and perfect screen uniformity and off-angle performance. It can get brighter than competing plasmas and performs better in well-lit rooms. Although expensive, it costs much less than comparable LED and especially forthcoming OLED models. Its styling makes it as attractive as any plasma TV I've ever seen.
The Bad The VT50 isn't as strong in terms of value as Panasonic's excellent midtier plasmas. It uses more power than competing LCD TVs, and doesn't perform as well in bright rooms as those with matte screens. It doesn't come with 3D glasses and its 3D picture shows more crosstalk than that of some competing TVs.
The Bottom Line The Panasonic TC-PVT50 series represents the pinnacle of current flat-panel TV picture quality.
In a year when thebig-screen OLED TVs are hitting the market and the to date will likely have an even better successor, Panasonic's VT50 plasma still has the best flat-panel picture you can buy -- for now. Even if one of those contenders manages to unseat it atop the picture-quality heap, videophiles who invested in Panasonic's flagship can reassure themselves that OLED and Elite owners are getting ripped off. The VT50 itself is not cheap by any means, but it's sure to cost much, much less than those others.
By "not cheap" I mean "$1,000 more than an ST50" as of press time. And while the VT50's picture is amazing enough to drop even the most jaded of jaws, the ST50's isn't much worse. It's certainly not a Cleveland worse, at least to most viewers. If you, however, count yourself among the few who might actually consider spending that much extra to get the best TV , the Panasonic VT50 is a tempting target for a big chunk of living-room wall. If you count yourself value-conscious, the ST50 is a pretty good way to settle.
Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the 65-inch TC-P65VT50, but this review also applies to the other screen size in the series. The two have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.