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The first thing to catch our eager eye is how sharp images look with an HD run-through of Serenity on Sky HD, and King Kong via the Xbox 360’s new HD DVD drive. Seeing so much fine detail on show at such a prodigious size produces an immediate sense of drama akin to staring through a (sodding big) window at a real world on the other side. Especially as the detailing is joined by the removal of just about all traces of video noise.
The P63XHA51ES also impresses by not falling foul to a couple of common plasma weaknesses: fizzing noise over horizontal motion, and colour striping. In fact, colours are presented with so much finesse and subtlety that at times you feel like you’re watching a screen with a full HD resolution rather than the 1,366 x 768 pixels the screen actually has.
Contributing still further to what is, ultimately, a sublimely natural picture are some excellent black levels, which succeed in terms of both depth and the amount of subtle greyscale information they manage to portray.
There are only two small criticisms we might level at the P63XHA51ES’s pictures. First, the tone of colours sporadically (usually during darker scenes or standard definition viewing) seems to lose some of its naturalism, taking on vaguely orange or green undertones. Second, it’s possible that in order to achieve its impressive black level talents, the TV has had to sacrifice a touch more vibrancy than some people may feel comfortable with if their living room is quite bright.
With no built-in speakers to test on the P63XHA51ES (those pictured are optional extras), we’ve now got enough on the screen to form some sort of conclusion. And this conclusion is that for all its half-bakedness in terms of connections and video-friendly features, when it comes to the ever-so-slightly important matter of delivering home cinema pictures, it’s actually something of a hero.