Sound Advice: Panasonic's 3-D TV is a top pick

  • Article by: DON LINDICH , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 16, 2011 - 10:56 AM

The Panasonic ST30 series 3-D plasmas are the spectacular yet affordable televisions I have long wished for but never dreamed would actually become reality.

Q Have you tested the Panasonic ST30 Series 3-D plasma you mentioned previously?

A The Panasonic ST30 series 3-D plasmas are the spectacular yet affordable televisions I have long wished for but never dreamed would actually become reality.

Yes, I have been testing the 42-inch TC-P42ST30. Available for less than $900, if you shop around, it is affordable but still has the Infinite Black 2 Panel that until now was only featured on the most expensive Panasonic TVs. This energy-efficient panel is Energy Star-qualified and offers high-end picture quality that rivals or exceeds any television on the market, regardless of price. The ST30 screen's anti-reflective coating allows it to work well even in brightly lit rooms or rooms with lots of windows.

Included wireless Internet connectivity allows you to stream content from Netflix, YouTube and other sites, as well as shop and read news and weather forecasts. It is Full HD 3-D-capable and can convert any 2-D content to 3-D at the press of a button. The SD card slot plays pictures and movies from your camera or camcorder.

This feature-loaded 3-D television strikes me as being obsolescence-proof. Given the gorgeous picture, you will want to watch it for a long time.

The only thing I missed is the THX picture mode found on the pricier Panasonic GT30 and VT30 models. Since it doesn't have the THX picture mode you absolutely must spend time tweaking the picture to get the ST30 to look its best. I have posted my picture settings on my website (www.soundadviceblog.com) so if you buy an ST30 you can try my settings to see if they work for you.

Panasonic ST30 series plasmas are available in sizes from 42 to 65 inches, and in each size they represent the standout value on the market. It kills me to know that every day, people across the country spend the same amount or more buying LCD and LED-LCD televisions that are much inferior.

A regular reader said it best in an e-mail he recently sent me. Last year I recommended that he buy a Panasonic G25 plasma, a 2010 model comparable to the ST30 but without 3-D capability.

"Thank you for recommending the Panasonic plasma TV around Christmas last year," he said. "I've had some time to log some hours and the picture is phenomenal.

"I really couldn't tell much difference between this set and our Sony LCD at first. Now there is such a noticeable difference with the plasma, I wish I could justify replacing the Sony with a plasma. I feel fortunate to have two fine TVs, but the difference is very noticeable."

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