If you are looking for a reasonably-priced 60-inch TV, you are most likely going to encounter many LCD and LED displays. But there is a pretty good chance that you’ll be encountering some Panasonic plasma displays too that are a little bit more expensive. These displays may not have the most features but they boast excellent picture and audio quality making the high $2,000+ price a lot more reasonable. Some may arguably even say to simply choose Panasonic plasma displays if you purely want the best picture possible. But when price is one of the main concerns, other manufacturers have a chance to sway buyers towards their alternatives. Before you explore those alternatives, you should check out the highly competitive Panasonic TC-P60ST60 first because it aims to give you the best bang for your buck in the 60-inch category.
The Viera TC-P60ST60 is part of the 2013 lineup of plasma displays and the company is taking a new approach to their designs. The company’s glass and metal design features a chrome edge and a glass panel making this plasma TV a bit more fragile than it should be. You should invest in a screen protector if you are worried about the possibility of kids throwing an object on the screen (think Nintendo Wii). The screen is not as premium as the single sheet of glass style that the pricier TC-P60VT60 and TC-P60ZT60 use but it still looks simple and pretty thin for a plasma display. Besides, the fact that this display is 60 inches should be enough for this TV to really stand out in the living room. The black stand also adds a nice accent to the TV even though it unfortunately doesn’t swivel.
Compared to Panasonic’s two high tier models, the Panasonic TC-P60ST60 is best described as a plasma display with a reduced feature set with slightly toned down specs. For instance, it has a 2500 Focused Field Drive rather than a 3000 Focused Field Drive. However, that shouldn’t matter so much because this technology is still superior over the 600Hz Sub-Field Drive which is used in low-end plasma models. The display drive specification matters if you care about smooth action sequences and the 2500 Focused Field Drive still delivers and above-average experience.
The panel, filter and shades of gradation are the 3 other main areas that fall in the mid-range zone. With 12,288 gradation steps, you might see some minor signs of false contouring depending on the scene but gradations still appear smoother overall than the cheaper plasma displays. As for color accuracy as a whole, the Panasonic TC-P60ST60 is pretty similar to its predecessors although there is a greater level of customization with a new color management system and more controls available if you wish to calibrate.
The NeoPlasma Black panel and Infinite Black Pro filter are 2 things that you won’t see in the higher-end models because they offer something better. But don’t worry about these terms because the black levels are nothing short of amazing especially when you take the price into consideration. It is better than virtually all of Panasonic’s 2012 plasma displays. The NeoPlasma Black filter still does a pretty good job in maintaining black level fidelity even under bright lights.
The Viera TC-P60ST60 is the cheapest 60-inch 3D plasma display you get out of the Panasonic 2013 lineup. This is actually the display’s weak spot as cheaper displays offer better 3D visuals. Still, it is a nice extra feature to enjoy if you never experienced 3D before and the package already includes 2 pairs of 3D glasses.
The Panasonic TC-P60ST60 also gives you a fairly complete “Smart TV” experience with built-in wireless LAN and Bluetooth making it easy to jump right in to the network without a complicated cable setup. The VIERA Connect experience is centered on a nice home screen that allows you to personalize various aspects such as the background or shortcuts to apps. This platform has been around for quite some time and fortunately, the same apps offered in this ecosystem still work with the current models. The app selection spans different categories like sports and lifestyle if you are into that. Popular apps like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video are at your disposal if you want to enjoy online multimedia content. The Skype app is also available and it supports video calls but there is no built-in camera like the high-end models have.
Although the handy VIERA Touch Pad Controller isn’t included with the Viera TC-P60ST60, it is still possible to control the TV in a convenient way using your smartphone or tablet. The VIERA Remote 2 app is freely available at the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store and it comes with a cool feature called Swipe and Share 2.0 which lets you swipe images on your mobile device to the TV so they show up instantly there.
There is also a unique feature that lets you literally write on a Panasonic display using a touch pen which you also need to purchase separately. It is possible to save these drawings and send them to others since the TV has the built-in Wi-Fi.
The Panasonic TC-P60ST60 can be a better deal than Panasonic’s own flagship models for a lot of people. Let’s face it, not everyone is willing to spend more than $2,000 on a display and not everyone needs extra bells and whistles like an extra touch pad remote, built-in camera and voice interaction. These extras undoubtedly drive up the price so it is refreshing for Panasonic to offer a cheaper alternative without compromising on picture quality. This is why the Viera TC-P60ST60 is still one of the best displays to get at $1,699 and can be considered a superior alternative to any LED or LCD display when it comes to picture quality and black levels. Power consumption is slightly higher since this is a plasma display but the noticeable improvements in color accuracy are well worth the tradeoff.
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