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This is my first plasma set. I went to the store that day with every intention of buying a LED LCD. But seeing is believing and after much comparison of picture quality and features, this set was...
Black levels, overall details
Panasonic's "web browser," remote not backlit
This is my first plasma set. I went to the store that day with every intention of buying a LED LCD. But seeing is believing and after much comparison of picture quality and features, this set was real easy to bring home.
Set up was a breeze with the ST50. I was up and running in just a few minutes (not counting unpacking and attaching the stand). Even with the set in default "torch" mode the picture was very nice. No comparison to my beloved but dead DLP it was replacing.
Less than thirty minutes later (courtesy of my Spears & Munsil calibration disc) this tv looked absolutely amazing to me. That's saying a lot. I am a cable installer / repair tech so I see many TVs everyday that vary from awesome to junk! Since my initial set up I have gone back and made minor changes as the plasma "broke in." Here are my current settings (via calibration disc and my own dash of personal taste):
This is my first "smart" TV. I must say that if I have any complaints it's related to the anemic web browsing experience. It's just to limited. But I have since learned this is pretty much how it is on most sets. I guess I was expecting more of a PC type experience. All the other smart features seem to work nicely. And the Panasonic remote app for iphone and ipad is pretty nifty to play with as well (free in the app store). The supplied remote is well laid out, but not back lit.
I also want to quickly mention that the set has pretty good sound for a flat panel. Most sound terrible to me. This one is actually not bad, though I do listen most of the time via my A/V surround system.
Picture quality is superb in my opinion. I have tortured this set with Blu-ray discs of Promethius, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Pitch Black. The details have great contrast even when watching in a well lit room or daytime viewing. The color tends to lean ever so slightly to the green side of the spectrum, but not to the point of distraction and is rarely noticeable on real world material.
Playing games on my PS3 and web browsing from my Mac Mini is a joy and looks awesome as well. And the 3D is a bonus I did not count on. The set did not come with (active) glasses so it was a couple months before I got around to buying some to test it out. I was very impressed and I am now an official fan of 3D movies and games. Many have said that 3D loses much brightness, but I have not found it to be bothersome to me.
But here is the highest praise this TV can get: my wife says it's awesome.