Panasonic plasma HDTVs have earned a reputation for creating very dark black levels, a reputation that is well-deserved. The Panasonic TC-P55ST50 continues that trend. Panasonic is a Japanese multi-national corporation situated in Japan. It was founded in 1918, and has grown to become one of the largest Japanese electronics producers with Sony and Toshiba. The Panasonic TC-P55ST50 was rated very high by average consumers, and it makes a solid case for purchasing a plasma television over an LCD screen.
Dark gray bezels with clear trim around the outer edge frame the main panel of the Panasonic TC-P55ST50 which is also complimented by a silver brushed aluminum base which gives the set an elegant look. It comes on a stationary stand. Behind the right-hand bezel are channel, power, and volume controls, and an input select button that also acts as a menu button when it is pressed and held. The rear holds all of the I/O connections: two USB ports, three HDMI ports, and an SD card slot, all of which face the left and are vertically mounted for easy access. Ethernet, digital audio out, and TV/antenna connections sit parallel under a recessed space dug into the back panel. The remote has over 40 buttons and a four-way directional pad with an Enter button. All of the important keys offer red backlighting, which makes it easy to use at night or in a dark room. It also comes with a 3D button that lets you view 2D content in a simulated 3D mode. Panasonic’s selection of Web apps is terrific. Streaming movie channels include Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Instant video, CinemaNow, and Hulu Plus. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Skype can all be accessed through the television. The Panasonic TC-P55ST50 can be purchased on Amazon for around $1700. It can be found on eBay for a similar price. People who are looking to purchase it in-store may find it costs up to $2000, while others who are willing to buy a used Panasonic TC-P55ST50 can find them online for as cheap as $1200-$1300.
The Panasonic TC-P55ST50 has 5 preset picture modes: Cinema, Standard, Custom, Game, and Vivid. The Audio setting menu offers Treble, Surround, Bass, and Balance settings. It has a Native resolution of 1920×1080, a 600 Hz refresh rate, and an aspect ratio of 16:9. The backlight life lasts for over 100 000 hours. Supported DTV resolutions include 720p, 1080p, and 1080i. It comes with 2 built-in 4 watt right and left channel speakers and 1 built-in 10 watt subwoofer. It is 51.2 inches wide, 32.4 inches tall, and has a depth of 14.1 inches. It weighs 71.6 pounds. The Panasonic TC-P55ST50 received a Greenpeace policy rating of 3.6 in November 2012.
- The Panasonic TC-P55ST50 has excellent color accuracy thanks in large part to terrific black levels (like most plasmas)
- It is well-versed towards social networks and includes the Viera Market Connect Web App, which allows for both payable and free Apps
- The remote control is slick and comes with backlighting
- Viewing angles are excellent, and unlike LCDs it has superb uniformity and off-angle characteristics
- It has very attractive styling and offers excellent on-screen help options
- Sleek design which is very aesthetically pleasing
- Like most Plasma HDTVs, the Panasonic TC-P55ST50 is not very energy efficient; it uses 245 watts with Power Saving Mode enabled, and 305 watts when it is disabled, meaning it uses significantly more power than LCD TVs
- The colors on the screen appear murky in bright rooms, which significantly hurts its performance
- It has 3D capability, but it does not come with 3D glasses – for a family of 4, this can cost up to $300 extra
- Three HDMI inputs is one less than most mid-range TVs and makes it more difficult to connect multiple devices at once
- The sound aspect is a bit disappointing if you are looking for surround sound