Panasonic TX-P50ST30B review

A decent 50-inch 2D plasma TV that can be upgraded to 3D later

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The TX-P50ST30B might seem like good value in terms of features, but when it comes to ultimate picture quality we found it slightly disappointing.

Let's start with the 2D-3D mode, which we used while watching Doctors on BBC HD. Whatever was in focus seemed to be slightly divorced from the background, sometimes impressively so, but mainly it looks plain odd – and the background flickers to a distracting extent.

Back on 2D, the TX-P50ST30B's contrast levels are not quite up there with the best Panasonic plasmas. Despite this panel sporting an anti-reflective coating to boost perceived contrast, we weren't completely blown away by the dingier scenes in our test disc, Despicable Me on Blu-ray.

We are being harsh – the black levels on the TX-TX-P50ST30B are more realistic and natural than on any LCD TV we've seen this year, and that includes pricier LED-backlit sets. If anything, our criticisms of the TX-P50ST30B should point you towards Panasonic's pricier GT30 or VT30 plasmas, not an LCD TV.

Where the TX-P50ST30B doesn't compare all that well to LCD is in ultimate detail. This has been the case for sometime, and although the difference between Frozen Planet on BBC One and BBC One HD from the Freeview HD tuner is discernable enough – and even more so between a DVD and a Blu-ray disc (though Resolution Enhancer upscales DVDs very well indeed), Full HD sources do lack the crisp, fine detailing of a top-of-the-range LCD TV.

The trade-off, as well as much more believable blacks, is a livelier colour palette, another of plasma tech's specialities. Although the TV arrives pre-loaded with some highly watchable settings (not something a scorching LCD often does), the lack of fine-tuning here rears its ugly (ish) head; during Life's Too Short we noticed a tendency for overcooked skin tones and the odd bit of colour banding.

Personally we don't care to much for the IFC mode; there is some judder in Blu-ray discs, but the false fluidity introduced by IFC on its mid-to-high settings can look plain odd – and that's saying nothing of the slight artefacting around moving characters and objects.

A slight flicker in the panel is often discernable, but especially so when watching 3D. Viewed through Panasonic's TY-EW3D2MA glasses, our well-worn Avatar test disc is clean and nicely immersive. It's bright backgrounds and moving objects that cause the flicker, though there's none of the irritating double images and crosstalk of earlier 3D efforts. If you can stretch to the 3D glasses, they're a worthy upgrade.

Tech Specs

Product TypePlasma TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Analog TunerPAL
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyViera ST30
3D Type3D
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size127 cm (50")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
Weight with Stand (Approximate)30 kg
Operating Power Consumption355 W
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand779 mm
Width with Stand1204 mm
Depth with Stand335 mm
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
Teletext Memory1000
3D ConversionYes
Motion Interpolation TechnologyIntelligent Frame Creation Pro
Enhanced Refresh Rate600 Hz
Height744 mm
Width1204 mm
Depth69 mm
Sound SystemVirtual Surround Sound, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS
Product SeriesST30
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Colour Depth68.7 Billion Colors (12-bit)
FeaturesWeb Browser, Web Content Access, PC Streaming, Child Lock, Teletext, Picture and Text (PAT), Media Player
Product ModelTX-P50ST30B
Product NameViera TX-P50ST30B Plasma TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTXP50ST30B
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The viewing experience has never been so lifelike and compelling as it is with Panasonic's 3D Technology. The fast switching phosphors used in the Neo Plasma panels and an original light-emitting process minimise crosstalk (double images) to deliver clear 3D images and ensure comfortable viewing. This technology also helps to improve 2D picture quality.

Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)26 kg