As I sit here chained to my PC in a darkened room for yet another day's hard labour watching TV (!), it suddenly occurs to me that my back is ruddy killing me.
This is actually not all that surprising when you consider that a few hours ago I was involved in setting up a 65in plasma TV. Ouch. What is surprising, though, is that until a moment ago I'd actually forgotten about my aches and pains. Not because I'd dosed myself up on pain killers, but because I'd been so entranced by the awesome spectacle that 65in TV had been presenting me with. Especially once my nice new copy of Gears of War 2 somehow got involved…
The monster TV in question is Panasonic's TH-65PZ800: the biggest proper TV Panasonic sells in the UK (though a 103in version is available ‘Stateside', infeasibly enough). And man, is it a whopper.
Seriously, unless you've had a 65in TV in your living room, it's hard to fully convey just how much such a vast screen dominates a room (unless you happen to live in a mansion). This isn't a problem if you're after a screen for a dedicated home cinema room, but living room users will probably wish its design was a bit more exciting. For essentially it's just a football pitch of a screen surrounded by a very sturdy, really quite wide glassy black bezel that merely exaggerates the screen's size.
There's an attempt to add a dash of panache in the form of a silvery arc along the TV's bottom edge. But this is so minimal in the context of such a large bit of kit that you barely notice it.
Strolling around to the TV's rear (there's no mere ‘peering round' with a TV of this size!) reveals a pretty healthy set of connections. Kicking things off are four V1.3 HDMIs, complete with Deep Color and x.v. Colour compatibility. But among the other regular stuff there's also a D-Sub PC interface, and an SD card slot capable of playing AVCHD video as well as JPEG stills.
The 11th-generation Panasonic screen at the 65PZ800's heart sports just the sort of specifications we love to find on our TVs. Its resolution is a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080, and its contrast ratio is quoted at a massive one million to one via dynamic contrast processing, or 30,000:1 native.
There's plenty going on under the 65PZ800's processing hood too. For starters you get Panasonic's Intelligent Frame Creation, which interpolates extra frames of image data to fill in the blanks in a 50Hz source. This should radically reduce the slight motion juddering we've sometimes noted as one of the only truly significant weaknesses of some past Panasonic's plasmas.
On a slightly similar note, the 65PZ800 also has 100Hz processing, and a 24p Real Cinema function that adjusts the frame rate interpolation to suit 24fps Blu-ray playback.
Then there's Panasonic's Digital Cinema Colour, a wide colour gamut system claiming to deliver 5,120 steps of gradation and cover 120% of the conventional HDTV colour standard. This allows the screen to approach the level of colour expression found in commercial Digital Cinemas - hence the feature's name.