Panasonic TC-P55ST50 3D Plasma HDTV Review$1,699.00
Apps & Internet Features
There is no internet browser on the Panasonic TC-P55ST50. Sometimes we feel a lack of a browser is an unforgivable omission. If you are already connected wirelessly to a network, why prevent users from going online? This limited access reminds us much of the first days of the internet, presented by AOL, where you did not have full access to the world wide web.
On the other hand, if you don't have the controls to make a browser useful, then you shouldn't even bother. The TC-P55ST50 remote is not innovative enough to control a continuously more dynamic web pages with hosts of links and clickable pictures. The remote for this TV has not varied from the original blueprint of remote controllers, while the functionality of a television has changed drastically.
Preloaded are all of the premium streaming apps, like Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video, an oft overlooked app in the Smart TV market. There are some extra apps here to show you what is available, as well as those that have paid to be foregrounded on your new TV. It seems Rupert Murdoch has winkled his way onto the front page of the Viera Connect menu with his Wall Street Journal app. Wonderful.
At the end of the preloaded apps, there are some blank spaces to help you load new apps, and organize the ones you already have.
The Viera Market is both an app store and a real marketplace where you can buy physical items that will be shipped to your house. The app offerings are pretty standard. There are some crappy games, original content that we are unsure as to who makes it or how it gets into any app store, as well as useful apps from news sources and weather apps.
Other Internet Features
Ah, social networking and television, the two go together like fried eggs and butterflies. This is one of those trends that television companies are trying to push real hard on consumers. In some ways it makes sense, you can tweet and facebook post about what you're watching without ever having to leave your screen. On the other hand, it is a shameless way to combine television shows and free marketing from people sitting on the couch. There are those that are addicted to posting all the time, there are those that may be able to work while watching TV with this function, and there are still others that we have not accounted for that may love this feature.
The USB port handles media easily. When you plug in a USB drive, the TC-P55ST50 detects the content right away. When you open up the media menu, you can choose between video, music, or photo. Selecting one of these categories has the TV search the drive for media files contained in folders, and puts the results in one big pool for you to select. For photos, you can play a slideshow, control the transition of the slides, and add music for full effect. Panasonic does not list the supported file types, but it was able to read whatever we threw at it.