Q I'm just an average TV viewer interested in getting a new TV. I have read many testimonials on the Panasonic ST30 plasmas and want to buy one. I'm wondering when is the ideal time to buy one for the lowest price.

A Go for it now.

If you need a flat-panel television, the Panasonic ST30 series plasmas represent one of the best values in electronics today.

Earlier this year, I wrote that at $1,100 ($900 street price), the 42-inch Panasonic ST30 plasma was the TV I had long wished for, but never dared dream would become reality. I love it because it allows viewers to experience high-end picture quality at an affordable price, not the thousands of dollars that high-end sets usually command.

In addition to the breathtaking picture, it has 3-D capability, an SD card slot for playing pictures and movies from digital cameras, and a wireless Internet connection for streaming video from Netflix, YouTube and other online sources.

At $900 it is a bargain, but recently the 42-inch TC-P42ST30 has been on sale in stores for $699.

Panasonic ST30 series plasma televisions are available with screens from 42 to 65 inches, and in each size they are class leaders. In today's economy, they represent a unique opportunity to pamper yourself with the best, without feeling guilty for spending too much.

Get a better antenna

Q I discontinued cable TV and bought an RCA ANT1400R digital antenna. I live in a residential neighborhood and the broadcast towers are clustered about 6 miles away. My TV and antenna are located next to a window that faces the broadcasting towers.

I like the sharpness of the picture, but why does it have frequent pixelation and freezing?

A The antenna is probably the weak link in the chain.

No matter the cause, you are not receiving a consistent, solid signal. When the television loses signal lock, you see freezing, breakup and pixelation. The signal is what it is, but the antenna is something you can change, and the one you have is a marginal performer.

Try a Winegard SS-3000 antenna. It sells for about $60 and is reputed to work well in residential and urban areas. Point it out the window toward the towers and don't forget to rescan for channels after you connect the new antenna to your television.

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