Panasonic TC-P50S60 (TCP50S60) Review

50" 1080p Wifi Plasma HDTV

by , Reviewer

Positives

Panasonic TC-P50S60
  • Picture performance is outstanding in a dark or dimly lit room
  • Off center viewing is great, something plasmas always get right
  • Black levels, color reproduction are excellent in this value TV
  • Clarity, clear HD Images

Negatives

  • Placing the TV in a bright room leads to washed out images
  • The number of usefull inputs is pretty low (2 USB ports though)
  • Sound Quality is lacking
  • There is a general haze in Standard Def pictures

A 50 inch plasma TV is pretty small in comparison to the majority of plasmas available, but it fits nicely into the S60 lineup. The TC-P50S60 is not the most feature heavy Panasonic plasma, but it has just what most want out of a budget set. The 1080p display provides some of the best picture quality you can find in the price range, while the built-in wifi with limited online features dish out just enough internet functionality.

Picture Quality Rating: 8.6/10

The 1080p display shows HD content at its best on the TCP50S60. This is a great addition to the lineup considering that Panasonic's non-3D full HD plasma last year was on the bottom of the list. If you aren't on the 3D or LED bandwagon, this is the TV for those seeking the best HD picture for their money.

Black Level and Contrast

An Infinite Black Pro panel isn't found on the S60 like the ST60 series above it. Black levels and contrast that are not as strong as a result. Don't rush to any conclusions yet. Even though they are not as strong, they are still considered excellent when compared to budget models. The S60 is especially strong when compared against low end LCD and LED displays.

Panasonic TC-P50S60
Deep blacks are seen on the Panasonic S60 series. Color is also another strong point as seen in the example here. In a bright room, screen reflections tend to stand out more than desired

600Hz Sub-field Drive

600Hz sub-field drive is really just the name of a plasma TV's refresh rate. Manufacturers needed a way to describe the feature against LCD and LED refresh rates. Plasma TVs have historically had a better time with refresh rates over LCD and LEDs. The reason is simply the display technology in plasma sets. The 600Hz sub-field drive in the TC-P50S60 handles fast action and side to side panning like the best of them. It lacks the 2500 focused-field drive of the ST60, but 600Hz is enough to handle the needs for most. There is little to no visible motion lag with fast action (at least not that the human eye can detect).

Features Rating: 7.9/10

Connectivity Features and Online Movies

The TCP50S60 includes networking features like DLNA for access to the home network. This allows for quick and easy sharing of content through the built-in wifi of the TV. The Viera Link feature allows the user to control other Viera Link devices, like a blu-ray player, with the S60 remote. This is very handy if you have numerous Panasonic devices and you want to lighten the remote load on the coffee table.

Online Movies is a feature that holds the middle ground between a full Viera Connect platform and no internet functionality at all. It basically offers access to the top online content providers like Netflix, Hulu, and others like it. Think of it as connecting a Roku box. It is a very useful compromise for not implementing the full blown Viera Connect suite.

Panasonic TC-P50S60 Touch Pen
The optional Electronic Touch Pen is also available on the S60 series. The pen allows you to add a pesonal touch to photos and video by writing directly on the screen. The result can then be shared using the Swipe & Share 2.0 features. 2 pens can be added for $80

Inputs

Panasonic sheds the input selection as we go down the lineup. The S60 series has two HDMI connections and two USB ports available. Two HDMI spots may be too few for some, but that is nothing an A/V receiver can't fix. This is an especially easy solution if you already have a home theater system of some sort. The two USB ports shouldn't be a problem since wifi is built into the set, which frees up a spot from those wifi dongles.


Sound Quality

Sometimes there is hollow (tunnel-esque) effect that turning the volume up does not remedy. Sound is generally OK from the sound system that has 2 X 10 watt speakers. The standard modes are Standard, Music, Ambience, User. The Natural Surround mode isn't bad for movies but we prefer the simple Standard mode with everything else off. Treble (+6) and bass (-5) which helped slightly.

Appearance and Design

I was pleasantly surprised by the design of this TV. It looks and feels more expensive than I though it would. The frame is about an inch and it has silver trim bars top and bottom. Depth is 2.5 inches except for the bottom of the panel which is just over 3” to accommodate the speakers.

Panasonic TC-P50S60 Design
This shot shows the design of the S60 series. The silver trim only runs along the top and bottom of the screen. That small touch sets it apart from the ST60 series plasmas

Value/Bang for the Buck Rating: 9/10

It's hard to beat the S60 in the value department. For around $699 the TC-P50S60 is a great deal if you don't mind sacrificing the best picture or 3D compatibility. General picture quality is outstanding for the money, unless a bright room will be the home for this plasma. The Samsung PN51F5300 is the equivalent Samsung plasma, but I'd go for the S60 for picture, appearance and performance. A close in price LED TV is the Toshiba 50L2300U is bout the same price but cant compete on picture quality unless it's in a very bright room.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10





Jack Burden Jack Burden has been reviewing and writing reviews in the consumer electronics category for 7 years with CEAG. He considers grayscale gradation, film patterned retarders, and focus field drives to be fun topics. Read more about Jack

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