The Panasonic TC-PST60 provides picture quality that challenges the very best of this year's plasma TVs, but costs lots less. The catch? It's not a great performer in well-lit spaces. Still, if you can watch TV with the lights turned down a bit, the TC-PST60 will make you and your wallet very happy. The TC-PST60 series includes the 50-inch Panasonic Viera TC-P50ST60 (Est. $1,000), 55-inch Panasonic Viera TC-P55ST60 (Est. $1,350), 60-inch Panasonic Viera TC-P60ST60 (Est. $1,500) and 65-inch Panasonic Viera TC-P65ST60 (Est. $2,200).
For the price, simply spectacular. The Panasonic TC-PST60 produces videophile-grade picture quality that's on a par with last year's top-of the-line plasma TVs, and that doesn't fall very far short of this year's spectacular performers, including the very expensive Panasonic TC-PZT60. Blacks are every bit as good, experts say. Color performance is also excellent, though reports indicate that if you push the panel's brightness too high, things can veer off to the red side. That, and reflection-fighting abilities that are only okay, means that you'll want to view the TC-P50ST60 in rooms with no more than moderate lighting. All the traditional benefits of plasma -- including wide viewing angles and great screen uniformity -- can be found in this set. The only notable concern is that the set exhibits significant input lag, making it a problematical choice for those who are serious fast-action gamers.
Very few cut corners. The Panasonic TC-PST60 has most of the goodies found in the company's more upscale TVs. Compared to the flagship Panasonic TC-PZT60, which costs twice as much, you lose only a touchpad remote and voice-recognition features. In addition, the smart features are powered by a somewhat weaker processor, which does make them a tad sluggish under some circumstances. However, this set includes the full Viera Connect smart TV platform, which is robust and well regarded even though it is outshone by the smart platforms offered by some other makers, such as Samsung. There is active shutter 3D as well, and two pairs of glasses are included, but reviews of 3D performance are mixed. Though an integrated camera (for Skype and more) is included in some Panasonic TVs (such as the step-up TC-PVT60), it's an extra-cost option here, as well as on the company's flagship plasma model.
Traditional, but attractive. Chrome edging adds a touch of class to what's otherwise a very traditional-looking plasma TV. The black base is non-swiveling. The remote is a standard clicker; it has a few shortcut keys related to its apps and streaming features, but is non-illuminated. Connectivity isn't especially abundant, but the three HDMI inputs should be enough for all but the most extensive home-theater setups. The SD card slot is a nice plus.
In a word, unbeatable. Critics love the picture quality of the TC-PST60 and appreciate its good feature lineup. However, when they get sight of the price tag, most are simply stunned. CNET's David Katzmaier is blown away to the point where he says that if value is any consideration at all, you should simply buy the TC-PST60 and be done with it. On the strength of its picture quality and selling price, it earns CNET's first 5-star rating for any TV set. Other critics might not be quite so over the top, but admiration for the TC-PST60's value given this set's level of performance is nearly universal.
The Panasonic TC-PST60 earns an Editors' Choice award and the first 5-star rating given to a TV -- ever. "I'll cut to the chase: if you value picture quality, don't have money to burn, and don't game seriously enough to worry about input lag, you should buy the Panasonic TC-PST60," Katzmaier writes.
Review: Panasonic TC-PST60 Series Review: Affordable TV with Amazing Picture Quality, David Katzmaier, June 4, 2013
2. Reviewed.com Televisions
Reviewed.com Television calls the TC-PST60 "a superbly performing plasma series at a great price," but docks the set a few points for its Internet features, which Neikirk says are a "letdown." That doesn't stop the site from granting an Editors' Choice award to this plasma TV.
Review: Panasonic Viera TC-P65ST60 Plasma TV Review, Lee Neikirk, April 21, 2013
The Panasonic TC-PST60 earns honors -- a Highly Recommended award -- following this comprehensive but very technical review. Picture quality gives Panasonic's high-end sets a run for their money, and that makes the TC-PST60 "one of the best value-for-money TVs we have seen to date," Larsen writes.
Review: Panasonic ST60 Review, Rasmus Larsen, April 23, 2013
4. Sound & Vision Magazine
Sound & Vision makes it four-for-four in the TV honors department by giving the Panasonic TC-P60ST60 a Top Pick award. Picture quality is "superlative," while value is called "world-class." The biggest negative is 3D performance that is only "so-so."
Review: Panasonic Viera TC-P60ST60 3D Plasma HDTV, Rob Sabin, May 24, 2013
HDGuru.com doesn't give out Editors' Choice or similar awards, but it does grant the Panasonic TC-P65ST60 that it tests a perfect 5-heart score. Allowing that Panasonic's higher-end plasma TV holds the promise of even better image quality, Merson writes: "the TC-P65ST60 sets a benchmark for HDTV performance with excellent color, high quality signal processing/upconversion, deep inky blacks and detailed motion resolution."
Review: Panasonic TC-P65ST60 Plasma HDTV Review, Gary Merson, April 22, 2013
ConsumerReports.org includes the Panasonic Viera TC-P60ST60 (and, separately, the Panasonic TC-P55ST60) among the current plasma and LED/LCD sets it evaluates. Testing is done, and TVs are rated and ranked. However, discussion is brief.
Review: Panasonic Viera TC-P60ST60, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Around 190 owners have weighed in on the Panasonic TC-PST60 in its various screen sizes (reviews for all are grouped together here), and most are extremely pleased. A handful complain about various issues, including unhappiness with Panasonic's customer service or the input lag (for gaming). Still, 5-star reviews outweigh all other grades combined by a wide margin, and the plasma TV earns an overall mark of 4.5 stars.
Review: Panasonic Viera TC-P60ST60, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2013
BestBuy.com offers several screen sizes of the TC-PST60, but the 50-inch Panasonic Viera TC-P50ST60 gets the most feedback -- more than 220 user reviews at last glance. User satisfaction is very high and 97 percent say that they would recommend this plasma TV to a friend. Other screen sizes get a little or a lot less feedback, but happiness is similar.
Review: Panasonic - Viera - 50" Class - Plasma - 1080p, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of October 2013