The Panasonic TC-P42ST30 is one of three distinct lines of plasma TV’s for 2011. Panasonic has created the ST, GT and VT lines with the ST name representing the value offering. This is Panasonic’s most affordable 3D model ever. You can get 3-D at very close to 2-D price levels. Even better, the advances made in 3-D technology has improved the television picture overall.
For 2011, the Panasonic 3D plasma TV’s have been given increased black levels and brightness, plus faster response times and reductions in crosstalk. The 42-inch TC-P42ST30 is the smallest of the ST line, a replacement for the G25 from 2010. This entry level 3D unit is full-HD 1080p in glorious 3D. The reason plasma technology has returned to popularity in recent years is the superior picture. You can really see a difference in the rich, deep colors on the TC-P42ST30.
Returning for 2011 is the Infinite Black Panel which brings up luminous efficiency and at the same time minimizes pre-discharge. The end result is more elegant blacks at all brightness levels on the TC-P42ST30 with an added bonus that it helps conserve energy.
The TC-P42ST30 has plenty of horsepower with 600Hz Sub Field Drive for 2011. For all you gamers and sports fans, this feature provides a great benefit: fast action on the screen will not suffer from burn or lag. Between the frames of the TC-P42ST30 video signal, Panasonic fires pixels at rapid speed, allowing the TV to effectively refresh at a higher rate. Footballers from Manchester United look crisp and clear as they advance down the field. Hockey fans have no problem following the puck on the P42ST30, even if they are behind 4 points in the Stanley Cup.
Even more than sporting events, gaming demands a lot from a TV like the P42ST30. Half the fun of playing “Dead Zombies 2” is battling wave after wave of zombies. And let’s be honest, zombies are strong! When you have a screen full of zombies coming at you and you are repelling them with propane tanks and other crazy weaponry, some plasma screens find it hard to keep up. The TC-P42ST30 had no problem.
One thing you’ll notice right away is the TC-P42ST30 cabinet looks similar to the familiar clean lines of an Apple iPod. Unlike other models with extended bezels and chunkier designs, the TC-P42ST30 has an uncluttered, crisp look. Forsaking extraneous flourishes for a minimalist approach, Panasonic has created a cabinet that emphasizes the viewing experience.
One of the benefits of a 42-inch screen is being able to get an expansive feel without the real estate. The P42ST30 will comfortably fit in most rooms including the kitchen depending on the space available.
If you’ve ever had to wrestle with giant industrial banding or supertight packing staples when unboxing a TV, you will enjoy opening the TC-P42ST30. Panasonic has made opening their containers simple by integrating plastic clips that flip back, making it easy to slide the box off the unit.
Once you have the TC-P42ST30 on the stand or on the wall you may want to optimize it with an optimizer DVD. Make sure to connect an HDMI cable from the back of your set to either a home entertainment center receiver or your cable/satellite TV box.
Be sure to turn off the P42ST30’s speakers when connecting the set to a home entertainment center that has surround sound. Also, do not connect the TV or any of the components to the power strip or outlet until all cables are hooked up.
Panasonic has long held market leader status in HDTVs. Their domination of plasma is no different. The black levels on the TC-P42ST30 are rich, inky and have deep retention in different scenes on-screen, whether a dark subway or bright seashore. TC-P42ST30 Picture quality is enhanced by short- throw phosphor technology, which provides a quick decay time to the phosphors when illuminated. This was introduced to all HD models last year, and Panasonic has improved on the short stroke technology by thirty percent for 2011.
The TC-P42ST30 is full HD 1080p 3D. That means your eye is getting full 1080p resolution on every frame, unlike some brands that need to sacrifice resolution when displaying full 3D. One pair of 3-D glasses is included with the P42ST30. Additional pairs will have to be purchased separately.
The P42ST30 comes with two-channel stereo output sound. A nice touch is that the sound bar has been tucked under the cabinet along the bottom. The speakers come out a bit in back but since it is hidden you are not aware. This configuration also allows you to use the room itself as part of the speaker system, reflecting sound along the back wall and floor.
The sound bar is a great option if you have neither the space nor self-motivation to set up six different speakers. It is a compact profile providing good spatial separation during dialogue scenes and sports broadcasts.
One quick tip- if you run into a situation where background sounds are much louder than the main sound during sporting events or television dramas, you can rectify this situation by going into the settings and disabling surround sound.
One of the benefits of the TC-P42ST30’s Infinite Black Panel is that it not only enhances the screen picture, but it actually reduces energy consumption. Similar to 2010, all Plasma TV’s exceed 4.0 Energy Star Standards.
Additional Features and Connections
Panasonic has re-christened the Viera Cast Internet service–for 2011 it will be known as Viera Connect. For the TC-P42ST30 the company has retained many of their previous features like Netflix, Pandora (music), Twitter, and Skype and added in new ones such as Cinema Now, Hula Plus and sports like Major League Baseball TV.
The P42ST30’s Viera Connect will also have an app store similar to smartphone vendors. There will be paid and free options, and if you are a programmer, complete developer kits. None of the Panasonic TV’s has Wi-Fi built-in, but you can purchase the USB dongle sold separately.
With the TC-P42ST30, Panasonic is offering a top quality 3D plasma at almost 2D prices. With a versatile screen size and easy set-up, the P42ST30 should prove to be one of the year’s top sellers. A very attractive cabinet and superior sound make the decision to purchase a TC-P42ST30 a no-brainer.
• “I recently bought and returned a TC-P42GT25 due to dissatisfaction with the performance of the 3D and other issues. I decided to give this new series of Panasonic plasma tv’s a shot to see if i could be convinced that 3D is worth while.
I’m happy to say i am satisfied with the this new set. Most of the issues i had with last year model were resolved with this new television. It has a brighter display and much less cross-talk issues which makes playing video games in 3D much more enjoyable, especially on the PS3. 3D movies like Resident Evil Afterlife are crystal clear.
I bought this set primarily for video games. I needed a full featured, smaller, bedroom sized 3D hdtv that did not break my bank account, and this fits the bill perfectly. “ – JoPython (USA)
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