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The Infinite Black plasma panel on the TX-P50ST30B measures a mere 42mm deep, which is about as thin as plasma tech allows.
It shelters not just a Freeview HD tuner, but also the improving Viera Connect online hub. There are actually around 15 apps pre-loaded (automatic firmware updates keep it fresh and ever-changing), though the only must-haves are BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Acetrax (movie streaming) and Skype – though making voice or video calls is only possible if you buy a separate TY-CC10W HD mic/camera from Panasonic.
Elsewhere on Viera Connect there's a marketplace with more apps and even a few pay-for games, an interesting dimension that's bound to expand.
The set's ins and outs are exceedingly generous. The back of the TV plays host to three HDMI inputs, one of which is Audio Return Channel compatible. There's also a Scart, a set of component inputs, optical digital audio for routing sound to a home cinema, a set of analogue audio ins and outs, Ethernet LAN, and a USB slot. It's only the latter that we have any concern about; its back-facing design means a thumbdrive – unless it's a tiny design – will poke out enough to cause an issue if the TX-P50ST30B is wall-mounted.
Close-by, the side panel is almost as stuffed, with slots for a SD card, USB (given a label that suggests it can be used to take recordings from Freeview to a hard disk, but it cannot), a composite video input, a headphones slot, some more analogue phono inputs and a Common Interface module.
The only hardware hissy fit we'll throw is about the TX-P50ST30B's lack of a Wi-Fi module (Panasonic's DY-WL10 can be bought for around £70), and those missing 3D specs, which just seems mean. Unfortunately, the extra cost for a Wi-Fi dongle is confounded by the fact that home networking isn't an option on the TX-P50ST30B – so the likes of MKV and DivX files are restricted to the USB slot only.
Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and Space.com. He also edits two of his own websites, TravGear.com and WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),