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Also seeing off every other 55in-plus plasma we can think of are the 65PV500’s black levels. These register a hit for two main reasons. First, they get superbly dark, avoiding most if not all of the grey mistiness that’s common on big-boy flat TVs. Second, dark areas are portrayed with enough confidence and subtlety to make them look like fully integrated, layered parts of the overall image, rather than empty black holes.
The 65PV500’s pictures are also superbly free of video noise. High definition sources look utterly pristine, but standard definition feeds from the TV’s built-in digital tuner also look smooth and clean. This is actually quite remarkable when you consider just how large the TV is asking these standard definition images to stretch, and it speaks volumes for the quality of Panasonic’s image scaling processing.
We mentioned back there that high definition pictures on the Panasonic look clean, but can’t just leave a discussion of HD on the 65PV500 there. For the fact is that until you’ve seen a pure HD signal running on the 65PV500, you arguably haven’t seen HD at all. For as well as looking clean, the 65PV500’s HD pictures also look supremely detailed, making HD worlds – be they movie or game – look breathtakingly real and immersive.
Glorious though the 65PV500’s pictures look for the majority of the time, though, one or two glitches do occasionally rear their heads. Really deep greens and really rich reds can sometimes look a touch unnatural in tone, for instance, in a way not seen with Panny’s smaller plasma sets. Also, horizontal motion can sporadically suffer with gentle dot noise. And Panasonic’s use of two layers of glass in its plasma screens means that if you watch from a wide angle you can sometimes make out a second ‘ghost’ image fractionally offset from the main one.
Sonically the 65PV500 is fearsomely good, doing the preposterous dimensions of the screen justice with a suitably massive soundstage that’s replete with bass, treble clarity, vocal acuity and just plain, raw power.
Although its pictures aren’t quite as good as those of smaller Panasonic plasmas, they’re still in the premier league in the 55in and above market – especially when it comes to consistency with different quality sources. It’s also unusually domesticated for such a large screen, and its sound is good enough to put many separates-based home cinema systems to shame.