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Panasonic TC-P58S2

We haven't had a chance to fully test this product yet, but we've assembled this helpful overview of relevant information on it.

Panasonic’s VIERA S2 line brings 58 inches of Full HDTV and 1080p resolution to the living room. Redesigned panel cell structure and NeoPDP filter provides clear, bright images while also reducing power consumption.The Panasonic TC-P58S2 features a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio and 600Hz Sub-field motion.  It meets the Energy Star 4.0 requirements and should last up to 30 years without losing brightness. A built-in SD card reader allows users to view slideshows of JPEG images with VIERA Image Viewer. Two built in 20 watt are built in to the bottom of the TV along with 3 HDMI ports.

Features List:

– 58 Inch Plasma Screen

– 1080p resolution

– 2,000,000:1 Contrast Ratio

– 600Hz Sub-field motion drive

– SD Card Reader

– 3 HDMI ports

– Two 20 watt speakers built-in

– Meets Energy Star requirements

What inputs should I look for?

A final consideration when buying a new HDTV is what you can connect to it. Make sure there are ample HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) ports to connect multiple components, such as a cable/satellite receiver, video game consoles, DVD/Blu-ray player, camcorder, and so on. At least three or four such ports is a must. A convenient bonus is when the TV also offers a USB port to connect a Flash thumb-drive or external hard drive full of music, photos and videos, or a SD or Memory Stick card slot that lets you insert a compatible card that contains photos and videos. If you think you’d like to connect your computer to the television for big-screen web surfing, look for one with PC connectivity. Many TVs today offer these additional features.

Do I need a 120Hz set? What about 240Hz?

This popular LCD TV-based technology helps reduce motion blur. Pronounced “120 hertz,” 120Hz technology essentially doubles the speed at which frames are displayed, from 60 frames per second to 120 frames per second, resulting in a clearer moving image, especially in fast-action video sequences.

Since the screen can display more frames than a movie actually has, many TVs will artificially generate in-between frames where they don’t exist to make motion look smoother. Some people find the look more fluid, while some people think it looks artificial and odd. Fortunately, all TVs that offer it also offer an option to turn it off, if you don’t like it. We recommend testing it in person to see the effects for yourself before deciding whether or not you should pay extra.

Check out our article 120Hz and 240Hz Refresh Rates Explained for more on motion smoothing.

What is a LED backlighting?

Traditionally, LCD TVs have used compact fluorescent (CFL) tubes placed behind an LCD panel to provide the backlighting that literally lights up the screen. More modern LED TVs replace these tubes with clusters of light emitting diodes – LEDs.

When LEDs are placed at the edges of the screen, as CFL tubes traditionally were, TVs can be made significantly thinner, and LEDs use less power than fluorescents. The most inexpensive LED-lit HDTVs take this approach.

However, the biggest advantage to using LEDs is realized when they light the screen in a grid from behind. Sophisticated electronics vary the intensity of every LED in accordance with action on the screen, making dark areas of the image darker, and bright areas brighter. This effectively increases the contrast ratio compared to uniform lighting. Although it also increases costs, many people believe this type of LCD is the first to truly rival plasma on black levels.

Read more about LED backlighting and the differences between both techniques in our guide to understanding LED backlighting.

What are widgets?

Many of the top television manufacturers – including Sony, Sharp, Panasonic and Samsung – include Ethernet jacks on the back of their premium televisions for high-speed Internet connectivity (or in some cases, have integrated Wi-Fi for wireless connections). TV viewers will then use the remote to select “widgets,” graphicalicons on the screen that plays relevant (and customized) content ranging from YouTube videos and Flickr photo galleries to local weather, news, sports updates and stock quotes, usually delivered by Really Simple Syndication (RSS). Even more exciting is the partnership between Netflix and various TV companies, such as LG and Sony, allowingtelevision viewers to access tens of thousands of movies on-demand, many of which are in high-definition.

Should I worry about viewing angle?

Absolutely. All LCDs will distort when viewed from extreme angles, but the degree of distortion and the angle it starts to occur at varies from TV to TV. If you plan to pack a dozen people in front of a single TV for entertaining, viewing angle will make a huge difference for the unlucky few who get scattered off to the sides. Most manufacturers will state viewing angle in degrees (for instance, 160) in the specifications for a TV, but be warned: methods for measuring this very subjective figure vary, and we can guarantee most companies opt for the most generous figures. When possible, try to evaluate it yourself in person, or read hands-on reviews that can offer anecdotal evidence, rather than relying on easily-manipulated numbers.

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