Offering a nice balance between price and function, the mid-range Panasonic VIERA TC-P65ST30 hopes to appeal to budget conscious yet discriminating consumers who are on the market for reasonably priced plasmas. With a look that is vaguely similar to its more expensive cousins in the Panasonic 2011 lineup, the TC-P65ST30 definitely deserves not only passing glance but a complete scrutiny of what it offers.
Designed with softly rounded corners, narrow bezels with subtle edge-highlighting, and starkly unadorned front side, the VIERA TC-P65ST30 is obviously wasn’t built to impress unlike the head-turning displays of its
competitors. Still, the minimalist look complemented by the low-rise swivel stand and rectangular base would be just perfect for many buyers, as the subtle styling blends perfectly well with most modern home and office interiors.
The TC-P65ST30 comes with a rather dated remote, but the 2010-circa clicker has easily distinguishable keys, intuitive layout and generous backlighting. It also works exceptionally well with Panasonic’s blue and yellow menu system, also an old reliable which the company failed to revamp in time for the launching of the VIERA Connect platform. The menu serves it purpose sufficiently enough, although there is no in-depth guide to help users through other than the basic explanations the menu gives.
Touted to bring together the company’s latest short-throw phospors and cutting-edge Infinite Black technologies to ensure unparalleled black levels, Panasonic succeeds to create pitch blacks and rich shadow details on test materials, though still notches lower than those of the legendary Kuro line. The blacks rendered uniformly throughout the screen and excellent filtering of external illumination results in accurate, crisp and punchy images, but the overall picture quality is decidedly not top-of-the-line.
What sets the VIERA TC-P65ST30 apart from its mid-range competitors is its exceptional handling of both 2D and 3D materials in full 1080p/24 HD resolution. It has minimal crosstalk when showing 3D and few artifacts when rendering 2D and standard def materials. The plasma HDTV also has dejudder and motion-smoothing options, but it lacks the premium THX mode available in the step-up models.
One of the advantages of the P65ST30 is having the newly revamped VIERA Connect that promises to deliver a variety of Internet entertainment offerings. Aside from usual streaming content from providers like YouTube and Netflix, the Viera service also offers exclusive content such as free and paid game suites and Shoutcast radio service. The plasma HDTV also plays photos and 3D video clips from its SD card slot, and allows access to social networks via the Viera platform.
The VIERA TC-P65ST30 isn’t a miser on connectivity options either: four HDMI slots, one each composite and component video input, two audio line-in inputs, one digital audio slot, two USB ports and Ethernet port. Consumers must order the WiFi dongle for wireless connectivity, and a pair of compatible active-shutter eyewear for 3D viewing (though 3D eyewear from older Pannys would do).
While the Panasonic VIERA TC-P65ST30 is certainly not the best plasma there is, it does offer a great compromise between affordability and function that is sure to please consumers who are on the lookout for the best value for their money. True, the HDTV’s performance is not up to the best of plasmas, but it sure is not lackluster either.
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