2014 will mark the end of an era as Panasonic recently announced that they will stop selling plasma displays by March 2014. This won’t sit well with people who are fans of fantastic image quality at a low price and while OLED looks to be the true successor, it is still a pricey technology. Fortunately, this roadmap means that plasma TVs are expected to drop down significantly in price. A quick look at the Panasonic TC-P60S60 is an early indication with its $1,299 price tag. Remember, this is a massive 60-inch TV we are talking about here and while the design is quite bland and features are stripped down compared to higher-end Panasonic VIERA models, there is still plenty to like in this large budget-oriented model.
The TC-P60S60 doesn’t have the sleek style that many midrange and high-end LED displays have but the large 60-inch display should still impress. In fact, the Panasonic TC-P60S60 should blend with other black home theater equipment in the living room since the frame is fully black with some faint silver accents on the top and bottom edges. The bezel isn’t super thin but it pretty much meets the standards of today’s budget LED displays. The stand has a generic design that matches the display quite well although it is unable to swivel.
Panasonic’s flagship TVs are known for their limited set of HDMI ports and that would be fine for lower-priced models. Unfortunately, the TC-P60S60 is a bit more crippled with only 2 available HDMI ports. You will have to buy an HDMI switcher or AV receiver if you hope to hook up multiple gaming consoles and set-top boxes. It also lacks the SD card slot but still features 2 USB ports.
While the design looks quite bland for a 60-inch TV, the Panasonic TC-P60S60 has plenty of nice things under the hood that make the TC-P60S60 a better overall package than other sub $1,500 TV. It may lack the fancy panel and filter technologies like NeoPlasma Black and Infinite Black but the standard panel and 600Hz sub-field drive still delivers above-average picture quality. Since this is a plasma display, black levels are so deep that it puts most LED displays to shame. Shadows look very detailed and other colors show up pretty accurate including the skin tones. Viewing angles are excellent and can also take on most of the midrange LED models. In fact, ordinary consumers may find this display just fine leaving the more expensive plasma models to real videophiles. But if your room has a lot of lighting, you might want to spend a little bit more on a higher-end Panasonic plasma TV as the TC-P60S60 doesn’t perform well in these conditions. While the Panasonic TC-P60S60 should beat the average 120 Hz LED TV in video processing, there isn’t a dejudder option available so fans of the “soap opera” effect will have to settle for a pricier display. 3D functionality is absent from this display as well.
The TC-P60S60 may lack in connectivity options but at least this TV has a built-in wireless LAN to enable easy wireless connectivity to the home network. However, it is important to note that the VIERA Connect experience is only limited to online streaming. It lacks the cool desktop-like My Home Screen interface that the more advanced Panasonic TVs have but that might be a good thing for people that don’t really care about using their TV for surfing the Web or navigating through a complicated interface just to stream content. The TV still has streaming support for major sites including YouTube, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Vudu HD Movies, Amazon Instant Video and CinemaNow. Other sites like Pandora and Spotify are unfortunately left out but you can always hook up an HTPC or laptop to the TV.Connecting a computer to the TV not only provides a better Internet experience but also gaming experience although this will cost you an HDMI port.
If your connection isn’t so fast, you also have the option to enjoy movies, music, photo slideshows and other media stored on a flash drive. With DLNA compliance, the Panasonic TC-P60S60 can also stream media stored in DLNA-compliant computers (basically any Windows 7/8 computer).
Android and iOS smartphones and tablets with the free VIERA Remote 2 installed can still work with the TC-P60S60 over Wi-Fi. This is great because it is one of the better features of the VIERA Connect experience as the app lets you adjust various settings like the contrast and color. Even the app’s Swipe & Share 2.0 functionality works with the Panasonic TC-P60S60 letting you swipe photos or media on your phone’s display towards the TV so they immediately appear on the screen.
The Electronic Touch Pen accessory is supported as well although you have to cough up $79. This could be a worthy investment if you want to use this 60-inch TV for presentation purposes.
The TC-P60S60 does meet the Energy Star specifications but only the 5.3 version making modern LED TVs still more energy efficient. But at least this TV features a mercury and lead free panel for eco-friendliness and long panel life.
The Panasonic TC-P60S60 is Panasonic’s most affordable 60-inch plasma display right now and a possible price drop could make this TV a rarity in the upcoming months. If you frequently watch under dim lighting and don’t need the extra “Smart TV” features and connectivity ports, the TC-P60S60 is an excellent consideration in the 60-inch category.
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