Turning to 3D, the P65ST50‘s extra brightness means 3D pictures look much punchier and more vibrant than they have before on a Panasonic plasma TV. This makes them more engaging, and also makes the sense of depth in the image more immediately easy to appreciate.
Also excellent is the P65ST50‘s reproduction of 3D motion. For with the set’s 24p mode set to its Mid level, the judder problem that generally affects plasma 3D playback almost completely disappears without, crucially, the processing generating significant amounts of unwanted side effects.
It’s not all totally plain sailing, though. Even with the brightness boost Panasonic has created this year, the P65ST50’s 3D images aren’t as eye-catchingly bright as those of most LCD TVs, and just occasionally the extra work the plasma cells are having to do causes a slightly dotty appearance in very dark areas.
The extra 3D brightness vs previous Panasonic plasma TVs also appears to cause an increase in crosstalk. This only shows up under pretty extreme circumstances, most notably the lantern sequence in Tangled with its small bright lanterns floating against a night sky. But it definitely seems more noticeable than we remember it looking on any Panasonic plasma before.
To be clear, the crosstalk only appears rarely; it’s not the ever-present phenomenon it is on so many LCD TVs. And you can greatly reduce its impact if you use the TV’s Normal 3D setting rather than its Dynamic one. However, we suspect many people will find the drop in brightness and colour vibrancy connected with shifting to Normal too heavy a compromise.
With crosstalk only rarely cropping up, the biggest issue we’d have with the P65ST50’s 3D performance is a curious brightness ‘jumping’ effect that comes into play when watching dark 3D scenes. It’s not rapid or consistent enough to be considered actual flicker, but it is noticeable enough to be distracting. Odd.
Before getting on to how the P65ST50 sounds, we really must add a word about the set's scintillating performance as a gaming monitor. Its contrast and sharpness join forces with a highly respectable sub-35ms input lag figure to make it possibly the most accurate and engaging screen for gaming we've tested so far this year.
The P65ST50’s audio quality is decent. It’s not as powerful or full of range as we might have ideally liked it to be from such a huge and robustly built TV, but the mid-range is open enough to avoid sounding harsh under all but the most extreme circumstances, voices always sound clear even during action scenes, and the soundstage produced is ALMOST big enough to keep the colossal pictures company.
The P65ST50 is a hugely desirable - not to mention just plain huge - TV. The idea of being able to get our hands on such a supreme movie-playing machine for under £2,450 is enough to make us come over all unnecessary.
Certainly if you’ve got a nice, dark, designated home cinema room for it to live in, we have no hesitation whatsoever in urging, nay pleading with you to go and get your hands on a P65ST50 right away.
It’s possibly a more considered purchase for someone looking for a TV to live in a bright living room, and regular 3D watchers might be perturbed by the curious floating black level issue noted during our tests.
But overall the deal here is that you’re getting 65in of more or less ‘pro’ standard, beautifully cinematic pictures for less money than you’d end up spending on many rival - and inferior - 55in TVs. And that’s a deal we suspect many people will rightly find impossible to resist.