I bought my ST50 about 7 months ago and have been extremely pleased with the TV, especially for the price. Coming from an older 2007 model Panasonic plasma, the first thing that caught my eye was...
Black level, Brightness, Calibration options, Colors, 3D
IR prone, soft picture
I bought my ST50 about 7 months ago and have been extremely pleased with the TV, especially for the price. Coming from an older 2007 model Panasonic plasma, the first thing that caught my eye was the drastic improvement in black level. The black are DEEP, and in a completely dark room, just about blend in with the bezel around the TV in pillarboxed movies. This while still maintaining a bright enough picture for use in rooms with a good amount of ambient light as in my room during the day. There is some reflection on the screen however, but it's really only noticeable about 10% of the time when watching during the day (at least in my situation).
Being DIY calibrator, the set calibrated very easily and accurately, especially for a TV at this price. Greyscale calibrated almost to dead 6500K, gamma to ~2.2, and color, while no CMS, was very accurate out of the box after minor adjustment to the color control. Basically, the resulting picture after calibration will be very close to reference, and certainly closer than any other TV in the price range would get.
Being my first Smart 3D TV, I was impressed immediately with the 3D picture. There is however a pretty significant drop in brightness for 3D, so watching in any other situation that a completely dark room might not be the best idea. The glasses are rather uncomfortable and do not block out light very well from the sides, but during a good 3D movie, these things are usually forgotten about. The TV also has the "Smart" moniker based on a variety of web apps available. Personally I do not use these, as my blu-ray player supplies the same options and at a faster speed. It's a nice feature if you don't have any other devices which offer apps, but I suspect most people probably will not use them. Browsing the net and apps on the TV is something It tried just for the heck of it, and it is pretty slow and inconvenient.
Ok, on to "the bad": I regularly get IR of TV logos, sports scoreboxes etc. I would consider my TV to be broken in properly with low contrast watching full screen content for quite a while, but I still suffer from IR. The good news is that its really not visible 95% of the time, and it does eventually go away. BUT, it likely that you will notice it at some point, and I would be careful with it; i.e., if you watch ESPN or CNN for 10 hours a day everyday, I would not recommend this TV. As a sidenote, my 2007 Panny plasma has actual burn-in of the ESPN logo and ticker bar at the bottom.
Despite the superb picture this TV puts out, it does lack a bit of sharpness. The picture can seem "soft" a lot of times, especially on close-up shots of peoples faces. While it's not a dealbreaker, it has certainly become more evident to me over time and after seeing other newer TVs and even compared to my projector. Though I've never tried one myself, I've heard the Darbee Darblet would do wonders for this.
In the end, if I had to buy it all over again, I wouldn't think twice about it. Despite the IR and soft picture, the other benefits far outweigh. The picture is simply superb and the black level is amazing. There's not a better TV for the money out there (well except maybe the ST60 now ).