Panasonic Viera TC-P55ST50 Plasma TV Review
The Panasonic TC-P55ST50 is a large plasma TV, displaying 1080p HD images with 3D and internet connectivity.
In step with the plasma TVs tradition, the ST50 tested with an impressively deep black level. Keep in mind, that's for the realm of TVs in general, not for plasmas. In fact, its black level is the same as the previous year's ST30 model.
The next most impressive thing about the ST50's performance—and this was truly impressive—was its color gamut, which I discuss in more detail below. In short, it's very accurate.
A plasma's trademark darks
Because of its deep black level, the ST50's contrast ratio was over 3500:1, which is well above average. Black level is important for many reasons; for instance, it allows for watching in the dark, or in dim lighting, without marked discrepancies between the true lack of light and the TV's "imitated" lack of light, i.e. shadows or night scenes. Many movie buffs agree that watching in the dark is the best way. Black levels provide richness and more "space" for darker hues and shades to work with, meaning a wider spectrum of shadow tones that the TV can display. More on how we test contrast.
The ST50's color gamut proved incredibly accurate.
A color gamut is a visual representation of all of the colors a display can produce. For almost all displays, there is a national or international standard for what their color gamut ought to be. Our color gamut test works to determine how well the TVs we review meet the international standard for a high-definition television, as dictated by rec. 709.
In other words, when we see a result like the one gathered from the ST50, we get a little excited. We haven't tested every TV ever made, but in our experience, a color gamut this accurate is exceedingly rare. The ST50's gamut lines up almost exactly with the ideal sRGB—the only point that it missed was white, and it missed by an almost negligible amount. This is a very impressive result and means you can expect a rich and wide array of colors that are both accurate and evenly represented. More on how we test color performance.
Curious as to the rest of this TV's time in our lab? Just browse the gallery for more information.
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