When it comes to picture quality of flat screen TVs, there is no doubt: plasma technology is better than LCD/LED.
Panasonic has been working for several years to improve plasma TV performance and they now offer several large-screen plasma HDTV models that are the current state-of-the-art among plasma televisions.
The best value with regard to picture quality and price for a highly-rated Panasonic plasma TV is the Panasonic Viera ST60 series (the TC-PST60 line).
When I say “highly-rated,” let me be clear: professional reviewers are raving about this plasma TV’s performance for its cost. In fact, CNET gave this flat-screen TV 5 stars when they tested it. This is the first time that CNET has ever awarded 5 stars to any TV (including the Pioneer Kuro) in over a decade of testing televisions.
If you’re a TV viewer who wants the best picture quality, but you don’t want to have to take out a second mortgage to be able to afford the current state-of-the-art video performance, then you will simply stop researching flat screen TV reviews now and go ahead and buy one of the Panasonic Viera TC-PST60 models. You will be getting the best high-def TV bang for the buck on the market.
While there are a number of factors that determine HDTV picture quality, the most important element is the television’s capacity to produce deep blacks, which translates to better contrast. Most everything with regard to picture performance follows from that.
In its current line-up of plasma flat-screens, Panasonic is producing black levels that are better than all other consumer TV models (I’m not counting OLED TVs that currently cost $12,000 and up). When it comes to picture quality, Panasonic plasmas are the best.
The Viera TC-PST60 line does not have the highest-quality picture among Panasonic plasma models — the VT60 and ZT60 lines are somewhat better — but when you take price into account, and the fact that the ST60 series only performs slightly less impressively than Panasonic’s more expensive models, then you realize that the ST60 series is the overall best deal for most viewers.
The Panasonic ST60 Series TVs come in 50-inch, 55-inch, 60-inch, and 65-inch screen sizes. When it comes to buying a TV that will make you happy over the long haul, it’s been found that bigger is usually better.
So what is the cost of, say, the 60-inch TC-P60ST60 plasma TV? The current best online price is around $1,499. By contrast, the 60-inch Samsung PNF8500 plasma TV costs over $2,100.
What are the advantages of plasma TVs over LCD/LED? Plasma TVs don’t produce the motion blur that undercuts the performance of many models of LCD televisions (this means that plasmas are better for viewing sports or action scenes in movies). The best plasma flat-screens always outperform LCD/LED TVs when it comes to black levels. The picture on a plasma television looks good when viewed from any angle (LED TVs perform best when viewed straight-on). Plasma televisions have better screen uniformity (LCD TVs tend to have brighter and dimmer sections of the screen).
There are two disadvantages of plasma TVs in comparison to LCD/LED. One is that in sun-drenched rooms — rooms with lots of big windows — LED TVs can produce a brighter, more easily-seen picture than plasma TVs. Two is that plasma TVs tend to use more power than LCD TVs of corresponding size. This second drawback is not that major, however. In most cases, according to TV engineers, you might spend a max of $50 more a year in electricity with a big plasma screen than with an LCD. That amounts to about $4 a month.
Contrary to urban myth, burn-in is not a problem with plasma flat screen HDTVs — not for any normal viewing and/or use situation (for example, watching TV and playing video games). It is true, however, that a plasma TV might not perform as well as an LCD TV at high altitudes. How high? It varies according to the manufacturer. According to Panasonic (as reported by CNET), their plasma sets should work fine at an elevation of 7,200 feet or lower.
Here is an excerpt of all the features that CNET praised in their review of the Panasonic Viera TC-PST60:
The Panasonic TC-PST60 series has a reasonable price, incredibly good picture quality with exceedingly deep black levels, great shadow detail, accurate colors, solid bright-room performance, and superb off-angle and uniformity characteristics; it also features sleek styling with metal accents, offers plenty of Smart TV content, and includes two pairs of 3D glasses.
Was there anything the testers didn’t like? They thought the 3D performance of the ST60 series was not as good as some 3D sets from competing companies. And there was noticeable input lag during gaming.
Other than that, as I said above: 5 stars. “Spectacular,” they stated. Don’t hesitate to buy.
You can get the Panasonic Viera ST60 series flat screen TVs direct from Panasonic by clicking here. Right now, Panasonic is discounting all their ST60 models (for example, $999 for the 50-inch TC-P50ST60. And shipping is free from Panasonic online).
You can also find the TC-PST60 series available from Abt Electronics here. Abt Electronics is the top-rated general Web retailer for shopping for all electronics (and home appliances and more) by Consumer Reports. They are also a Google Trusted store. If you purchase a TV from Abt Electronics, you will be assured of good customer service. Check the customer reviews for this line of plasma TVs at Abt, too.
Now, what size of this superior flat-screen should you get? Well, consider the following quote:
“I wish I’d gotten a smaller TV.”
— Nobody, ever
Whichever plasma TV from Panasonic you decide to buy, be aware that your TV-watching experience will be enhanced quite a bit by adding either surround-sound speakers or a sound bar. You can shop for either of these audio options at Panasonic online or at Abt Electronics.
Guys, get ready for your most enjoyable season of football viewing — and much more entertainment — by investing in the highest-rated television that CNET (and others) has ever tested: the Panasonic Viera TC-PST60 series. Best Stuff for Men also endorses it. Because, you know, television is good.