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Panasonic Viera TC-P55ST50 3D Plasma HDTV Review$1,699.00
Resolution & Formats
The Panasonic TC-P55ST50 is a native 1080p display, capable of showing NTSC and ATSC formats.
The Panasonic TC-P55ST50 is cashing in on one of the advantages plasma screens have over LCDs. Even for a plasma screen, the viewing angle was incredibly wide. The peak brightness dropped a little when moving away from the center of the screen, but so did the black level, often increasing the contrast ratio to almost 200% of the original recorded value when viewing at a 40º angle.
Reflected lights will be a problem. The peak brightness is so low that any external lights definitely diminish the visibility of the screen. We noticed that bright LED lights cast a huge gray haze over the picture, obscuring most of the images depicted there. This Panasonic would be best left in a dark environment.
The 2500 Focused Field Drive (FFD) function showed us some great motion performance. There is also an adjustable motion smoothness bar, which we adjusted variably throughout testing. We ran our usual motion test and saw no blur at all. Shapes did not distort either. The only nit-picking we could do was to notice minimal jagged edges, and some faint image ripple. But that was it.
The FFD function pulses the plasma cells on and off, so that the reactivation of the cells does not lag. Pulsing cells on and off is essentially the same as adding frames. A dark screen followed very quickly by a picture is exactly what happens when a screen refreshes normally. Each time the picture comes back on, it is updated with new information. In relation to the previous frame, the difference between the two pictures creates the illusion of motion. The Panasonic TC-P55ST50 is achieving the same process but instead of rendering the second frame from top to bottom over the first frame, the entire screen shuts off and on, 2500 times per second. The result is a screen that looks and acts like it has a refresh rate of 2500Hz.
Like most plasma screens, the TC-P55ST50 has a very uniform screen. An all-black screen showed no bright patches at all. It looks like a 55-inch piece of black construction paper. For commercial breaks, credit sequences, and really dark scenes in movies, there's nothing like a plasma screen.
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