The model we have for review is the Panasonic P65ST50B 65 inch Full HD 3D Plasma TV with a Freeview HD tuner and full UK specifications. Also available is the Panasonic P42ST50B 42 inch Full HD 3D Plasma TV, the Panasonic P50ST50B 50 inch Full HD 3D Plasma TV and the Panasonic P55ST50B 55 inch Full HD 3D Plasma TV which have not been reviewed here but should offer the same features and a similar performance.
Despite reports just in that Panasonic have had quite a major year-on-year drop in global plasma sales, we’re not panicking that it’s the end for plasma - not yet at least. Given the extremely high quality of the NeoPlasma Generation 15 panels we’ve seen so far in 2012, it doesn’t look like Panasonic are quite ready to bail on PDP technology. In fact we hope there’s a good few years left to refine and improve the existing technology and build upon the solid platform they’ve made for themselves.
So here we are again, with something new from Panasonic - a truly large screen plasma that isn’t their top tier product. The Panasonic TX-P65ST50B will in fact be going toe-to-toe with its own stable-mate, the 65VT50, but at around £1,200 less it will be considerably more in reach for a lot of people. Perhaps a more relevant comparison would be with the Samsung PS64E8000 which has a quoted price of just £300 above the P65ST50. The ST range has had quite a makeover this year and there’s a whole new design and remote, added calibration controls, built-in WiFi, Smart VIERA features as well as the picture improvements Steve Withers noticed in the review of the 50inch version. It’s a lot of screen for the money but can the P65ST50 punch its not inconsiderable weight?
The full in-depth review follows the Summary and Scoring and the Test Results can be found from a tab at the top and bottom of the page
The Panasonic TX-P65ST50B is a tremendous amount of screen real estate for the asking price but, not only that, it delivers big in all the areas in which Panasonic’s typically excel – deep black levels, excellent contrast and accurate colours. Had it not been for the 64inch Samsung E8000 lurking just around the corner, the P65ST50 would have undoubtedly been awarded Best Buy status. As it is, Panasonic will have to ‘make do’ with a well earned Highly Recommended badge. At around £2,500 and with a summer of top class sport ahead, we can see many a punter being tempted by the big screen delights that the P65ST50 provides. And we couldn’t blame them.
We’ll forgive Panasonic borrowing the ST50’s styling from a certain prominent Korean manufacturer's design books and at least they’ve gone with a charcoal colour scheme to give it distinction. We don’t really find the fact they’ve skimped on the HDMI inputs in providing only three quite so excusable, however, and considering the size of the panel, they surely didn’t need placing so close to the edge of the bezel. The remote is as easy to use as the menus and we never found ourselves seeking out important menu options in obscure places. The Viera Connect platform goes from strength to strength and offers a good mixture of video on demand content, games and applications. The new HTML5 web browser now comes loaded from the off and it’s certainly the best one we’ve tried in a TV so far, even if it’s a long way from being a replacement to your usual browsing device.
Picture quality is excellent, thanks in large part to the superb black levels and contrast allied with the convincing colour palette. We do wish there was at least one more accurate picture mode aboard the P65ST50 as it makes having set-ups for both day and night viewing environments either cumbersome or a compromise. The only real niggles to the picture came in the shape of those traditional Panasonic weaknesses with 50Hz content, edge break up and dynamic false contouring but at least the latter is definitely showing signs of being beaten into retreat by the new FFD technology. The 3D picture quality is just as pleasing as the 2D and the 65ST50 delivers deep and enveloping images; but don’t sit too close or you’ll think you’re falling in to the screen. Video processing was of the calibre we’ve come to recently expect from Panasonic, i.e. excellent, but gaming lag is higher than first thought, at nearly 48milliseconds. It’s not going to put off most people but for those competitive gamers out there who want to do it on the big screen, the P65ST50 may not be the best choice.
All in all, the Panasonic 65ST50 is as brilliant as it is big. The question is, can you squeeze one in?
|Contrast ratio/dynamic range|
|Colour reproduction out of the box|
|Colour reproduction calibrated|
|Greyscale out of the box|
|ISF or calibration controls available|
|Video processing SD/HD|
|3D performance side by side|
|3D performance sequential|
|3D performance crosstalk|
|3D Glasses comfort/performance|
|Networking/DNLA/internet/audio video streaming|
|Ease of use/menus/remote/settings|
|Sound quality built-in|
|Value for money|