Panasonic TC-P50ST30 3D Plasma HDTV HT Labs Measures

HT Labs Measures

Full-On/Full-Off Contrast Ratio: 3,118:1

All of the measurements here, unless noted otherwise, were taken in the Cinema or THX Picture mode, in 2D, through an HDMI input, and with the set adjusted as needed for the most accurate image in a darkened room.

Delta E, a number referenced in the following discussions, is a figure of merit that indicates how close a display’s color tracking comes to producing an ideal white balance (a specific 6500K point on the CIE color chart known as D65 or D6500). The lower the Delta E number, the better. Ideally, the Delta E will be identical at every brightness level, but in practice, it always varies. Experts generally agree that levels below 3 or 4 indicate a result that is visibly indistinguishable from perfect color tracking.

The full-on/full-off contrast ratio was determined from a measured peak white level of 24.14 foot-lamberts and a black level of 0.008 ft-L—the latter a virtual tie with the GT30. Before calibration, the TC-P50ST30’s gray scale in the Cinema mode produced decent but unspectacular results. The Delta E values ranged between 0.86 and 4.15 from 30 IRE to 90 IRE but jumped to 10.37 at 20 IRE and 6.44 at 100 IRE. After calibration, they were below 3.0 at every point except 20 IRE (5.34), 50 IRE (4.9), and 100 IRE (4.46).

The TC-P50ST30’s Cinema mode gamma averaged 2.17, very close to the desired value of 2.2.The TC-P50ST30 was calibrated for 3D in the Custom mode. This produced a good result (not shown), although the color tracking wasn’t as tight as in the VT30 (the latter has a 10-step calibration adjustment in the Custom mode; the TC-P50ST30 has only high/low controls). The 3D-calibrated Delta E values ranged from 0.58 to 4.0 from 20 IRE to 70 IRE but jumped to 5.72 and 5.66 at 80 IRE and 90 IRE, respectively. The TC-P50ST30’s Custom mode gamma was slightly higher than that of the VT30 and comparably peculiar, but also effective for 3D.—TJN

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daveyk's picture

Anyone know how this compares to the Samsung PND7000? Any help would be appreciated.

SunriseGatefield's picture

Timely question--another popular TV review site just posted a glowing review of the Samsung, and the reviewer gives it the nod over the ST30 (indeed, it compares pretty favorably to the Panasonic and Samsung flagship panels).

I will say that in my recent search for "my next tv" I had--somewhat briefly--both a 55" ST30 and a 59" PND6500, which (I think) is the PND7000 without the "Real Black Filter" (which I had read some people were having peel off as the panel heated up). In dark rooms (where the black filter doesn't really do anything), the PND6500 *should* have the same image quality as the PND7000. My impression was that the ST30 had a better picture. I noticed some pretty obvious fluctuating blacks on the Samsung, and on the whole the picture had much less pop and was less crisp than the Panasonic.

That said, I hadn't broken the Samsung in nor had I dialed in the settings (it was in Movie mode), so my observations probably don't mean that much--you should put more stock in that other review site's judgment.

I will say this: once set up properly, the ST30 has a great picture, especially at the price. I had it for almost a month and loved it. Unfortunately, I see phosphor trails, which bother me enough that I had to return the set. It also means that I cannot have a plasma TV, since I see it on all plasmas. (I tried the Samsung hoping that it was something about the Panasonic. No dice.) I hate my eyes for it. I've had to spend a lot more money to find an LCD that matches the picture of the ST30.

eortizr's picture

can you post your settings on the service menu and Cinema mode?

Boring Ben's picture

Somewhat disappointing to see a near copy & paste of the the 55VT review onto this 50ST review. Granted, much about the products will be the same, but not all. So when debating over the $1,000+ price difference between the two, I was expecting to see a more unique review.

Of course there are the obvious differences any numbskull, this numbskull included, can ascertain - HDMI inputs, single glass pane, THX, picture modes, ISFccc, possibly the inclusion of 3D glasses and web cam, etc. But considering how close the units are to each other I'd expect a high quality outfit like HTM to spell out the differences and why $1,000-1,500 more might be worth spending on the VT.

I'm working on selling the boss on a 60" or 65" replacement for our 5 year old 50" Sam plasma. The "must have" guy in me says go VT, but what little I'm seeing out there for independent review/analysis suggests there isn't a great deal to be gained for the 33% increase in price. I'm pickier about my picture quality than everyone I know, but certainly not the experts here at HTM. And I'm not seeing the case for buying, or possibly even the existance of, a VT-tier product at that large of a cost difference. If the reviews for the two are simple enough of a cut & paste, ctrl+F to change VT to ST job, then add specific test data for each model, either the Panasonic product managers need to rethink their product strategy and cut costs on model redundancy, or HTM ought to dedicate a little more time living up to their reputation.

Considering how similar they are, I was just hoping to see our leaders at HTM spell it out to say "the VT does ____ noticably better than the ST", "the ST performs just as well as the VT in _____", or "the one-sheet-of-glass design clearly sets the VT apart from its GT & ST siblings because _______" . Sadly, the only thing I learned from these reviews is that ST and VT are almost the same, color tracking is slightly better on the VT, but VT does a better job at wallet cleaning. Expected from other sites/publications, but not here.

JoeCaridi's picture

I really want this TV. I can get it for less than $1K in through my company's employee purchase plan with panasonic. My concern is that I will be placing this TV in a room that receives quite a bit of light; both from some large windows and some overhead lights in the adjoining kitchen. Would it be a horrible mistake to get a plasma for this room or is a plasma only good for darkened man caves and cinema rooms? Am I better off with an LCD?

hadleyrille's picture

Why no mention of the green discolorations these sets have? If you dont know what I'm talking about run a Google search,type in "Panasonic Plasma Green Blobs"...It's all over the internet.And it's not just the U.S.A. versions,the European sets have this defect as well.People are also starting to post pictures of their sets so you can see it for yourself.This problem is also affecting the GT and VT series.The quickest way to spot it is to simply watch an old black and white tv show.If you see any color at all you've got a problem.It doesnt just show up on black and white movies though.All programming is affected.My ST30 is really bad.Sometimes half of someones face looks natural while the other half has a sickly green tint for example. It shows up on painted walls,ceilings,the sky,clothing,etc.

Jarod's picture

Tom obviously didn't see the green blobs or he would have commented on them. My new 55ST30 has no such green blobs. It's is not on every set.

Goodfellow's picture

You are an idiot. You don't get the green blob's on any plasma tv those were on the old rear projection tv's don't post your garbage on this site.

joejoesmith33's picture

I have a new Panasonic TCP50ST30 and am having a problem with high contrast scenes, especially black and white footage. I see yellow flashes if I move my eyes quickly from one side of the picture to another. This happens even with the video paused. I read that this is due to the color sequencing used in the TV. Is this inherent in all plasma TV's? Will it go away once the phosphors have aged somewhat? Do LCD TV's, especially LED full local dimming sets, also suffer from this issue? The picture is excellent except for this issue.

RSVM5's picture

@JoeCaridi, did you ever get an answer to your questions on 8/23/11? I have the same questions. Costco is current sells the 60ST30 for $1199 which close to my budget. But how do I know how much ambient light is too much for this plasma HDTV? Any help would be appreciated.

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