Panasonic TX-P65ST50B video review

John Archer



Read the full Panasonic TX-P65ST50B review

If the £3500 needed for Panasonic's flagship 65in TV, the P65VT50, is too rich for your blood, then the thousand pound cheaper P65ST50 may be just what the doctor ordered. With the same enormous 65in screen size, you get all the same visual impact and view filling splendour as you do with the flagship model, and all the core features are there too. It has Full HD active 3D, you can record TV to USB drives and there's a host of online features too. But inevitably some corners have been cut. The most immediate difference is the chassis design. Whereas the VT50 has a flat, bezelless design, the ST50 has an inch or so thick grey bezel that projects about a 1cm from the front of the screen. It's not overly obtrusive but certainly isn't as elegant. As with most plasmas, the overall thickness of the panel isn't all that slim either but this is only a fashion concern rather than any thing practical to worry about. A few savings have been made when it comes to connections too. You only get three, not four, HDMIs, two, not three, USBs, and it doesn't include a Freesat tuner. All minor issues for the majority but factors worth bearing in mind. At least all the connections face either down or out to the side so wall mounting isn't an issue. Perhaps the most important missing feature, though, is the Infinite Black Ultra filter as used on the VT50 series. Filters are used to block out ambient light to ensure the screen has as good a black level response as possible, and while the ST50's filter is very good, the VT50 is that bit better making it better to view in rooms that aren't completely blacked out. The key to the ST50 range, though, is it's as cheap as you can go while still getting Panasonic's 2012 generation plasma panel, with all lower range models using previous generation technology. The latest tech is more power efficient which allows Panasonic to boost the image's brightness significantly over previous generations without drawing crazy levels of power. The result – a truly stunning picture, in the vast majority of conditions. Being a plasma it also has flawless viewing angles, copes with fast moving images without issue, and has no issues with inconsistent backlighting. It really is a stunning watch. It also holds its own in 3D mode, though you don't get any glasses included, so you'll need to factor in £60-£80 per pair for those. The overall interface is very easy to get to grips with and is fast too, though not quite as nippy as the VT50 series. You also get a decent selection of online features so you can easily watch a youtube clip or catchup on iPlayer. The remote isn't all that fancy considering this set's two and a half thousand pound price but it gets the job done. So there we have it, the Panasonic P65ST50. You won't get better pictures at this screen size and for this price.

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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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