Pros Picture is simply amazing
Internet features work great
Cinema mode is very good
Pixel refresh speed is very good
Black levels seem very good
Setup is very easy
Remote is easy to use
Cons Sound could be better but it's fine for just watching
Summary I bought my 58 inch Samsung Plasma about a year ago and have loved it ever since so when my parents wanted a new tv I immediately thought to go with Samsung but after reading Consumer Reports I decided on this amazing Panasonic. I waited several weeks to write this review after purchasing because I was terrified of the fluctuating brightness problems. The posts about this problem on here did not get written til just after I made the purchase for my parents. I almost canceled the order before delivery but it was such a good price I decided to take a chance. I'm so glad I did!I suggest you have to check for lowest price, before you're will buy this TV at: lowest-pricing.info/TC-P65ST30
I don't even know how to begin describing the phenomenal picture that this tv produces. The first thing I did was a firmware update over wifi and I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I turned off C.A.T.S. like others suggested and I have never noticed a single fluctuation with the brightness over the past month that my parents have had this tv. I do have to mention that the audio quality out of the box was not impressive but after tweaking the audio options the volume increased dramatically and I managed to improve the quality of the audio to a very acceptable level. My own tv is hooked up to a 5.1 home theater system so I'm very spoiled with audio but my parents say that the Panasonic audio sounds great to them compared to their old 50 inch plasma so I'll leave it at that.
Although there could always be more options for tweaking the picture and sound I'd say there are plenty adjustment options on this unit. My parents living room is pretty brightly lit so the Game mode seems to be the best option of viewing modes for them. There is one mode that is even brighter than Game and that is Vivid though I've been told by a Panasonic customer service rep that you shouldn't use that mode for the first couple months of use. No need to worry if you have a brightly lit room as Game mode is plenty bright enough.
I love all the applications including Netflix and Pandora especially since Pandora lets you input several log in email addresses at once so you can switch between music accounts with a touch of a button. Pick your account and bam your music is up and running right on your tv. If I had to nit pick I'd say that sometimes (maybe once out of every 10 times) the tv gives me an error when I try to connect to the internet. All I have to do is back out and hit the button again and it connects so this is not a huge deal.
I have yet to try the 3D mode so I can't comment on that but over all the tv is fantastic. I've seen 65 inch tv's at more than double the price of this one who's picture doesn't look any better to me (in fact they often looks worse). My parents tv is connected to Dish Network and the HD quality is the best I've ever seen on any television (if you will buy the Panasonic VIERA TC-P65ST30 I suggest you have to check for best deal before you decide at: *********.blogspot.com/2011/11/tc-p65st30.html ). You can probably get a few more bells and whistles on Panasonic's highest end televisions but I doubt you'd be much more impressed with the picture quality. This is by far the best tv for the money in my opinion.
Updated on Jan 31, 2012
Pros LOWER PRICE
Cons NO THX, NO GLASSES, DOESN'T HAVE THE NEWER TECH USING ONLY 1 PC OF GLASS VS TWO
Summary I AM CURRENTLY DECIDING BET ONE OF THESE 3 SETS SO I'M PRETTY FAMILIAR W/ THE STATS. THE DETAILED SPECS THAT COME UP WHEN DOING A COMPARISON FOR THIS SERIES STATES IT IS THX CERTIFIED. IT IS NOT. JUST WANTED TO BRING THAT UP - YOU EVEN MENTION THAT IN YOUR REVIEW BUT SOMEHOW THE SPECS GOT ENTERED INCORRECTLY.
Pros Awesome colors, Awesome blacks, awesome picture clarity, realistic skin tones. Feels like you're "there" in the scene.
Cons Fluctuating Brightness, fluctuating Brightness and fluctuating Brightness. If your TV doesn't have it, enjoy it for the price not better TV. If you have it, it negates EVERYTHING otherwise great about it.
Summary Let me start off by saying 4 things first:
1) I LOVE Panasonic products. I have had their phones/shavers/Digital Cameras/and now a Blu-ray player and I love them ALL.
2) I even absolutely love the PQ on this TV as well (barring fluctuating brightness of course).
3) I'm giving it a 1-star rating with a heavy heart but with a firm observant mind.
4) I wish I never had to write this review.
The deal breaker??? - Fluctuating brightness!!!
I have read rave reviews for this TV here/other places and I agree with them PQ-wise. But IF and only IF your set has this and you've noticed this you're done. I hope this is not the case with you but it IS the case with me and few others. Not sure how many "few" people it takes to get the attention of a major manufacturer but here is my viewing experience so far. I've had this TV for 3.5 weeks now.
This TV tries to adjust its brightness A LOT. Majority of the time a scene changes between a dark scene to a (much) lighter scene/area - you can see the changing brightness - especially on the face, it'll go wayyyy brighter, then back to normal. Eventually the light will be perfect/even great hue but the "switching" drives me nuts. While dark scenes themselves look great overall - I also noticed some dark/darkness adjustment even in a night scene where the light in the scene/room was off. It happens much less often but it does. The adjustment in dark scenes are not that distracting as they are less frequent/apparent. Daylight/bright scenes - another story.
I even tried to "ignore" this by telling myself - oh well no TV is perfect and let me just "live" with it but I just couldn't. Besides - for a $2K TV to do what my $250 seven year old Sharp (CRT) TV does NOT do is simply unacceptable.
I have tried Blue ray/SD content/HD contect/netflix/regular DVDs and they all display fluctuating brightness. I grant it's not there ALL the time but boy when it rears its ugly head (which is often) - that is ALL I watch and well that is ALL I'm watching right now - not willingly I must add. I've gotten the latest firmware as well.
So why just a 1-star when the PQ/blacks are great. The brightness problem is so glaring that it handily undoes the MANY good/great/outstanding qualities of this TV. Speaking of outstanding - another great thing about the TV is skin tones - oh so natural. When I was TV hunting/doing "eye test" in stores - LED always seemed to have an edge. But man - this colors/skin tones are so realistic in this TV. I do not want to take away the great PQ of this TV - in all fairness, yet at the same time I do not want to take away the undeniably distracting viewing this TV presents to me. In fact I feel like I've been relegated to "watching" the fluctuating brightness instead of actually enjoying the experience of this otherwise great TV. I even tried telling myself - maybe I'm "looking" for this brightness fluctuation issue but no no no - it's THERE.
I'm at a loss to explain why Panasonic did not/does not notice this - that is - if they don't. They need to fix it and fix it now. I BELIEVE Panasonic can and should make it right. And I still maintain it's a great TV. I do not know if others have had the same issue or to this degree but this has been my experience. I don't know the technical details but they *should* be able to fix this with a firmware fix. I have NOT given up on them and hence have requested Amazon for another ST30. It is a great TV otherwise but you buy a TV to enjoy the programming content, NOT distractions. Panasonic - you are the top plasma maker in the market. You guys even have the entire (former) Pioneer/Kuro team working for you. Will you please make it right!!!
When I get the new TV - I will re-evaluate and post my findings. Oh by the way Amazon was 100% helpful/quick in sending a replacement. Thanks Amazon!!!