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Panasonic 2013 HDTV Pricing, Features, and Availability

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

New York, New York


Panasonic invited the media to attend a demonstration of its 2013 lines, including HDTVs, Blu-ray players, soundbars, HTIBs, and a new streaming-media hub. There was even a giant boombox/DJ system, which might signal the beginning of a trend, seeing as how Samsung had a similar gadget at its line show last month. It made for a very informative day, and the press tour coincided with the release of pricing and availability info for the numerous lines of plasma and LED HDTVs.


Panasonic answered questions, demonstrated features on the newest Viera HDTVs - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger


I took a full tour of the premium television lineup, with plenty of demonstrations, and one showdown between the reigning champion plasma HDTV and a worthy challenger—Kuro vs. ZT60, which I discuss in detail here. It was a great chance to get up-close and personal with the latest flat panels, and from a picture-quality perspective, what I saw looked very good. The latest "Smart Viera" televisions are filled with the latest in interactive content, while a highly customizable UI helps keeps things organized.


Smart Viera HDTVs come with a highly customizable UI - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger


All the TVs on display featured upgraded Smart Viera capabilities, which were impressive—one demo showed how easily photos could be shared from phones and tablets. Content is searchable by name on the Internet as well as on a local network. In another demo, an iPad running a Smart Calibration app was used to change parameters in real time, with adjustments made on the tablet showing up instantaneously on the big screen. Very cool, as long as the user knows what they are doing!


Calibration adjustment, using a dedicated "Smart Calibration" app - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger


Panasonic's quest to be the best manifested in the form of the ZT60 plasma, which the company promoted as "beyond the reference," code for "better than a Pioneer Kuro." The demonstration attempted to prove the point. Unfortunately for plasma fans, the ZT60 represents the last investment the company will make in the technology, which is detailed here.


Panasonic ZT60 on the left, Pioneer Kuro on the right. Both looked amazing - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger


On-site demonstrations highlighted improvements to the VT60 series of plasma HDTVs, especially a new red phosphor that produces an even richer crimson than its predecessor. Pricing is set at $2599 for 55 inches, $2999 for 60 inches, and $3599 for 65 inches. These new premium models are due to arrive in stores mid-April.


Richer reds are one of the main selling points of the new VT60 plasma - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger


Right under the VT60 line lies the mainstream ST60 range, the only plasma model in the Viera lineup to feature four screen sizes. The ST60s are already available in stores and priced as follows: $1149 for 50 inches, $1499 for 55 inches, $1566 for 60 inches, and $2599 for a 65-incher. The ST60 benefits from significant improvements to the Smart Viera platform.


With Smart Viera, sharing photos is as easy as a finger swipe towards the TV - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger


The more affordable S60 line of plasmas were not on display; however, they are already available in stores. Pricing is set at $829 for the 50-inch model, $1299 for 60 inches, and $1699 for a 65-inch panel.


Also, all the new Smart Viera plasma HDTVs are compatible with a new Bluetooth-enabled "Touch Pen" that lets users interact with the TV to play games as well as draw and annotate on top of photographs and screen grabs. It is a cool gadget, but there was no information regarding availability or pricing.


Panasonic Plasma panels are compatible with a new Touch Pen - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger


The new IPS edge-lit LCD panels from Panasonic showed significant improvements in quality, energy efficiency, and features. One display demonstrated how a 2013 set draws half the power versus the previous year's LED, yet the images were equally vibrant. Another demonstration touted the superior viewing angles afforded by IPS LED panels, and indeed, I found that the new sets had consistent brightness and color quality, even when viewed from extreme angles.


Viewed from an angle, the IPS panel on the left outperforms a standard LED panel - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger


The LED flagship is the WT60 series, available as a 47-inch and a 55-inch model for $2499 and $2999, respectively. A highlight feature on the new set is "4200 Back Light Scanning," which is claimed to double the motion resolution of the new model compared with last year's best Viera LED. The IPS panel provided consistent brightness and color from almost any viewing angle and features passive 3D. Also touted were side-firing low-profile speakers and an integrated woofer; a marketing rep claimed the new set has "good sound to go with the great picture."


For IPS LED fans who want a larger screen without giving up too much image quality, the DT60 series carries over the specs from 2012's DT50 series while bumping up the screen sizes. A 55-inch version carries an MSRP of $2199, and the 60-incher sells for $2799.


The ET60 series of budget IPS-based LED panels improves upon the specs of the ET5 line it replaces. With double the refresh rate of the ET5, the new models are the most economical way to obtain a Viera IPS panel. Pricing is set at $1399 for 50 inches and $1699 for 55 inches of screen real estate.


Standard LED panels (non-IPS) look better viewed head-on as opposed to at an angle, which is why they make up the bottom of Panasonic's Smart Viera lineup. These TVs mostly lack image quality as opposed to features. The E60 series replaces both the E5 and E50, merging the two lines into one. Within the E60 series is Panasonic's largest consumer-oriented LED HDTV—the 65" TC-L65E60 for $2699. A drop to 58 inches brings the MSRP all the way down to $1599. The E60 50-inch and 42-inch models round out the line for $1149 and $799, respectively.


Overall, Panasonic's 2013 TVs looked great. They are as thin and bold and energy efficient as they have ever been. The ZT60 is one of the best-looking screens money can buy, even if it is the last of its kind to come from the company considered the heir to Pioneer's plasma throne.


Here is a summary of Panasonic's 2013 HDTV pricing and availability:











Smart VIERA ZT60 Series (Plasma)












Smart VIERA VT60 Series (Plasma)



Mid April




Mid April




Mid April





Smart VIERA ST60 Series (Plasma)




















Smart VIERA S60 Series (Plasma)
















Smart VIERA WT60 (LED)












Smart VIERA DT60 (LED)












Smart VIERA ET60 (LED)












Smart VIERA E60 (LED)




















Edited by imagic - 4/11/13 at 8:45pm
post #2 of 9
Thanks, Mark for the info. This helps in budgeting my project. I'd also be interested in seeing a shoot-out comparison between the top , ZT60 and the near-top VT60, comparing available 2013 models.

But I am like others, not sure if getting the best quality of the last of an era is the way to go. I know Panasonic has their standard 1 year warranty, but what will their service be after the end of production? Or, if we decide to get an extended warranty from the retailer, after 2-1/2 years, would they need to upgrade to OLED if the TV needs to be replaced?
post #3 of 9
The ET60 also comes in 42 and 47 inch sizes.

Maybe those two sizes are for Canada only though I'm not sure.

Edited by CalebLevArn - 4/12/13 at 11:44am
post #4 of 9
No mention of the GT60?
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by joedog000 View Post

No mention of the GT60?

The GT50, ST50 and UT50 series were all consolidated into the ST60 series for 2013.
post #6 of 9
Why such a big difference in price between the 60 and 65" st60, compared to the vt60 and s60 models? confused.gif
Damn you panasonic. tongue.gif
post #7 of 9
ZT60 65-inch will be $4,XXX ????
post #8 of 9
I just got a TC-L55WT50 - the 2012 model for $1399 (of course it went to $1299 right after the 14 day amazon price match. They did kick me back $50 to meet me 1/2 way when I started female dogging. So experts, please tell me - should I return the 2012 LCD WT50, or pay 2x the amount and go for the spiffy 2013? Is this 4200 back light scanning worth it?

I must say, the WT50 is pretty, although Samsung beats Panny in the Apps Dept. hands down. The 3D looks about the same on both ( I had an overlap on the Sammy that I originally bought, the UN55ES6550 I got at BJ's and returned. Side by side they looked close, although the sammy had a most noticable redish blush to the picture. Even in "black n white" photos, shown in color broadcasts.

But I digress - last years, at $1350, or this 2013, at Three Grand? Besides the 4200 and the "floating stand" is it worth it...oh ....and I am NOT wealthy!

post #9 of 9
Are there any differences in the DT50 55" and the DT60 55"? Do 3d glasses come with the DT60? Is the dual chip in the DT an upgrade? Does the touch pad remote come with the DT60? I searched and can not find any definitive answers. Thanks for any feedback.
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