Originally Posted by ScaryFatKidGT
Well due to the picture accuracy, the super low input latency, 3D is nice to have and the price I am pretty set on either the 42 or 46" Panasonic ST30 series, but looking at Bestbuy a lot of the other TV's mostly LED's, even in the price range of the ST30's, looked to have a lot better black levels, the ST30's looked almost gray. Now are my perceptions true the ST30's don't have good black levels or is it just because its Bestbuy and everything is set to super bright and nothing is calibrated?
And no I don't know of any other places to audition TV's. A couple high end places sell them but don't have the ST30's in to look at.
Panasonics have decent blacks but have the floating black issue that is somewhat like blooming on CRT and flashlighting/blooming on LED LCD. When a bright scene is on the screen, the black areas lighten up, but darkens back when the screen's bright scene goes a way.
Image Retention (IR) is real and I found it to be terrible on the newer sets. I honestly can't see how someone can look past this when you can see 'previous' static images, clearly on a solid color area. Maybe some individual sets are better at getting rid of IR but I know that LG and Zenith have it where it's very noticeable and have heard the same about Samsung and Panasonic. In fact I found a lot of problems with plasma that the plasma pushers will not mention or ignore, that offer far worse performance than LED LCDs. Then again, Plasmas are cheaper. LED LCDs have their issues of off center viewing but getting an IPS panel alleviates that problem. Clouding in LEDs can also be alleviated with a local dimming feature. Black level darkness can be very good with local dimming as well. Flashlighting/blooming is a side affect of local dimming but it's rare and minimal when it does happen.
With bright light, I haven't noticed the panasonics black areas washing out but I have noticed the picture is really dim, making the entire picture dull and low in contrast. Add that with it's super reflective screen, and the picture 'at times', can be unwatchable compared to a LED LCD with a matte screen.
I just set up a buddies 50ST30 that we bought together. It's a nice TV for a cheaper price and it does look good in a dim room with few window or lamps. The downsides are the reflective screen, low brightness output, inferior active (shudder) 3D, and the plasma tech. performance anomalies (brightness strobing/flickering, image retention). Some find the performance of plasma better, I found the performance of LED LCD w/local dimming better. It's a personal choice.
Each set should be judged on it's own merit. I have found better black levels on LED LCD w/local dimming than on Plasma TVs though, but each set needs to be individually judged on it's own performance because technology doesn't alway judge the better. There are better LED LCD TVs out there as well as better Plasma TVs out there.
I know I really like the LG LED LCDs but the Panny ST30 is a very good TV as well.
Good luck, just make sure you get a good, no restock fee, return policy with your purchase.