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Panasonic TX-P65ST50B review

John Archer



Our Score


User Score


  • Brilliant 2D picture performance
  • Outstandingly good value
  • Good online system


  • Not an ideal option for a very bright room
  • Reflective screen front
  • Minor crosstalk and floating black levels with 3D

Review Price £2,449.00

Key Features: 65in plasma TV; active 3D playback; Viera Connect online service; Built-in Wi-Fi; 2000Hz Sub-Field Drive

Manufacturer: Panasonic

From the first moment Panasonic told us about it back in February, we’ve been carrying a pretty big torch for the P65ST50. Why? For the simple reason that it offers the potentially dream combination of a 65in Panasonic 2012 plasma panel design with a remarkably low price tag of £2,449.

This makes it by far the cheapest 65in plasma TV Panasonic has ever sold, and actually it’s only roughly the same price as Panasonic’s own, recently tested, but 10in smaller L55WT50. If the P65ST50 can extend the quality already greatly enjoyed on the smaller Panasonic P50ST50 to its larger dimensions, then we’ll be very happy punters indeed.

Not surprisingly the P65ST50 cuts a formidable form in your living room. It never fails to surprise us just how much bigger a 65in TV looks than a 50in or even 55in screen; the extra inches seem to tip the balance from mere living room TV into genuine home cinema room centrepiece.

Panasonic P65ST50

The glossy grey bezel with see-through outer trim doesn’t sit quite as chicly on the P65ST50 as it did on its 50in sibling, not least because the inch or so of bezel looks more overpowering at the 65in level than the bezel around the smaller screen. It also occurred to us that we might have preferred a more straightforward black finish on a TV which has every chance of finding its way into a dedicated, blacked out room, so that the bezel would become practically invisible with the lights down. But hey ho - frankly we’re far less bothered by how the P65ST50 looks than how it performs for its money.


Connectivity on the P65ST50 is fair to middling, with the chief letdowns being that there are only three HDMIs when most TVs these days manage four, and only two USBs when we’d ideally like to find three. The set does provide an SD card option alongside the USBs, though, and has a D-Sub PC port for easily doubling the monster screen up as a PC monitor.

Panasonic TX-P65ST50 1

The ST50 series is significant in Panasonic’s 2012 TV range as it marks the cheapest point at which you get your hands on the brand’s 2012 plasma panel design. As it has done for each of the past few years, Panasonic has pretty much rebuilt its plasma panels from the ground up for 2012, with a particular eye on improving their energy efficiency.

Panasonic TX-P65ST50 2

The fact that plasma TVs use significantly more power than LCD ones has long been one of their most significant weaknesses, and it’s a problem that’s been thrown into sharper focus this year by the launch of the energy rating system that now has to be shown alongside all TVs sold in the EU.

Power up

So it’s really interesting - and brave - to find Panasonic not just using the extra efficiencies conjured up by its new plasma panel design to try and score better on the EnerG rating scale. Rather Panasonic claims to have used its newfound efficiencies to enable all of its plasma models from the ST50 upwards to produce more brightness without using more power than last year’s models.

While tree-huggers might decry this decision, AV enthusiasts will likely laud it to the heavens. Especially as Panasonic has supremely eco-friendly options available in the shape of all of its A EnerG rated LED screens.

Despite all this dark talk of high energy consumption, we should stress that the P65ST50 still hits the C grade - the same grade enjoyed by the 50in ST50, and the same grade, actually, as some budget brands of LCD TV.

Panasonic P65ST50

The P65ST50 doesn’t enjoy the dual-core processing power and 2500Hz Focussed Sub-Field Drive tech - or free 3D glasses - you get with Panasonic’s flagship VT50 plasmas and WT50 LED TVs. But it does still give you 2000Hz and supports active 3D playback if you cough up (around £60 a pair) for however many pairs of active shutter glasses you need. It also boasts access via LAN or integrated Wi-Fi to content stored on a DLNA PC and Panasonic’s Viera Connect online platform.

Viera Connect

Viera Connect continues to improve as an online proposition, in terms of both its content and, in some respects, its presentation. Joining the established likes of the BBC iPlayer, Acetrax and Eurosport, for instance, is Netflix and Fetch TV (among other things), while Panasonic continues to focus on quality over quantity with the majority of its non-video apps - especially some of its games, which wouldn’t look out of place on a console.

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February 26, 2012, 3:19 pm

Low power? I'd be amazed if this thing uses less than half a kilowatt of electricity. For me this just rules out plasma technology for a TV, which is likely to be powered on for a fair few hours each day. Of course you could argue that if you can afford to spend £2k on a TV, you're not going to worry about your electricity bills, but that's not the point; my 50" LED LCD uses less than 100W...


February 26, 2012, 4:30 pm

It won't be as much as that. More like 200-300W - bare in mind it's bigger than your TV. Last year's range topping Panasonic VT30 50in plasma only just went over 200W in 3D mode.


February 27, 2012, 10:34 pm

Ed is more or less right here. Consider that the 65VT30 was rated at 500w max and the 50VT30 at 410w, a difference of less than 25%. The ST line is rated lower with the 50ST30 rated at 355w max. If we infer similar difference in power rating as the VT line and then calculate the added efficiency of the 2012 models we arrive at less than 400w max output. This would be someone watching a white screen in torch mode. Real world scenario would be 50-70% of that according to Panasonic's site and test sites.
Still a lot more than LED, but you get the added bonus of amazing picture quality and vast screen size :)

Martin 6

May 29, 2012, 6:37 pm

@Beaky69 I always thought that to get the picture quality and fluid motion handling of a Plasma on an LCD TV you have to pay about 50% more than the plasma so the cost is negated if you cycle your TV every 3-4 years at 65 inch there is no real LCD option other than a plasma. Just my opinion not based on fact!


May 29, 2012, 7:35 pm

Just think how big the BBC News logo will be when its burnt into your screen!!!


May 30, 2012, 5:00 pm

Really, the best comment regarding this 2012 monster you could come up with was a screen-burn dig for 2007 ? :-)


May 30, 2012, 5:07 pm

Love the sound of this TV and I am royally tempted. Just purchased my first LCD screen for the "snug" but this monster could be perfect to replace my 50" Panasonic that's 4 years old in the main room. Problem is that I know 55" will fit, 60" could be a push, 65".... Not sure.

Can you comment on how much "buzzing" this TV made ? Would I hear it from 10ft away ?

How much is 3D on this TV effected by sitting slightly above eye level ? I know that LCD 3D can suffer quite badly.

Any comment on how much (in real terms) this TV might be better / worse than my 4-year old 50PZ70 ? Appreciate the thoughts.


August 3, 2012, 1:44 pm

AJ, I own the 2011 monster 50VT30 so my comments come from 2012 and having the bbc news logo burnt into screen from watching the Leveson Inquiry.

Steve Clegg

December 21, 2012, 10:38 am

This TV is not for people who want to use it as a computer

I bought to replace a 52in Samsung LCD which was used as my
primary computer monitor

The picture quality on the Samsung was excellent but the
blacks where poor especially

While Windows was booting up.

However this TV flickered from the moment it was turned on
even while tuning the channels

The flicker was even worse when connected at 60htz windows

This is not a problem with the set but a general problem
with plasma sets (just Google it)

The picture quality on the TV side are excellent as long as
there is movement.

Lakshmanan Chandran

February 1, 2013, 11:06 pm

After reading lots of praises, I tested one of these at a Panasonic Brandshop... It did impress me, but no to the point making me buy it... I tried some chroma patterns from the lagom lcd test... this television did not pass the contrast & black level test


It was not able to differentiate between 1,2 & 3... They were all black...


This disappointed me the most, it couldn't differentiate between the first 8 boxes... They all looked same black to me...

I tried all the modes normal, dynamic, cinema and true cinema. With every mode tried adjusting contrast, brightness, gamma. Didn't help...

Tried playing transformers & avatar Blu-Ray, blacks were ink deep, extremely deep to the point its missing some shadow details and that explains why this panel failed to pass the contrast & black level test. why is this issue not mentioned by any reviewer?

Is this how the panel really is, or am I missing something?

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