Panasonic TH-65PZ800 65in Plasma TV - Panasonic TH-65PZ800

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic TH-65PZ800 65in Plasma TV

Summary

Our Score:

9

As usual with Panasonic's top-flight sets, it's not just the 65PZ800's pictures that have plenty of high-spec feature support. The TV's audio comes courtesy of Panasonic's Smart Sound Speaker system, which uses separated tweeters and woofers to produce what I hope will be a cleaner, wider, more dynamic soundstage. There's also SRS TruSurround XT processing to deliver a pseudo surround sound effect from just the TV's onboard speakers.

It was as I kicked off my tests of the 65PZ800 with the sort of HD material such a huge, high-spec screen deserves - the Blu-ray of No Country For Old Men - that the strained black I was moaning about earlier started to slip from my mind. For as soon as I clapped eyes on the shots in the desert where Moss finds the large group of dead bodies, I was well and truly lost in a pain-free home cinema wonderland.

The 65PZ800's picture really does seem to be firing on absolutely all cylinders. Fine detail levels, for instance, are extraordinary. We've always maintained that the impact of HD pictures expands in direct proportion with the size of screen you're watching. Yet even knowing this scarcely prepared me for the way the 65PZ800 picks out details right down to the individual pixel level - even during scenes with lots of motion - with a clarity and accuracy that's truly mesmerising.

What's more, this extraordinary clarity does not come accompanied by grain or overstressed edges as we sometimes find with very detailed plasma pictures. In fact, the 65PZ800's HD pictures are notable for their purity and freedom from any kind of overt noise, at least if you're sat a sensible distance from the screen.

We make this viewing distance observation because if you stick your head up close to the screen you can see subtle pixel ‘buzzing', particularly in dark areas. But the 65PZ800 keeps this common plasma issue so well reined in that you're hardly ever troubled by it under sensible viewing conditions.

The next aspect of the 65PZ800's pictures to impress is their black level response. Panasonic plasmas have long excelled in this area, easily staying ahead of the rest of the flat TV pack until those naughty Pioneer kids came along with their fancy KURO technology. But the profundity and naturalism of the 65PZ800's black levels goes way beyond anything Panasonic has achieved before on such a huge screen.

There's practically no greyness in dark scenes at all unless it's there in the source, for instance. Also shadow detailing is outstanding, giving dark scenes a terrific sense of scale; and there's practically zero of that vague green toning that characterised plasma technology for so long. It was while dedicating myself to logging and exploring every element of the 65PZ800's black level prowess that I got embroiled in the Gears of War 2 session I mentioned at the start of the review… It's a tough job, but somebody etc etc.

Mentioning the absence of any underlying green during dark scenes back there brings me neatly into an examination of the 65PZ800's colours. And again the news is very good indeed.

961

November 13, 2008, 7:43 pm

As a Panny guy who has been frightened off by the warning at the start of the manual about no warranty against screen burn, what is the latest position regarding Sky News logos etc?

Orinj

November 13, 2008, 9:40 pm

I also have a Panasonic plasma screen (TH-50PZ70). My advice would be not to watch Sky News.





Failing that, provided you have run the set in (i.e lowered the brightness and contrast settings to half what they should be) for the first 100-200 hours you should be fine.





Note that there is a difference between screen burn and 'retention' the latter of which may occasionally appear but is soon removed after a few seconds and can be reduced by switching over to an un-tuned analogue channel.

961

November 14, 2008, 12:12 am

Thanks for that. However, you will understand that if I pay this sort of dosh for a tv I'm not a happy bunny to have to "not watch" Sky News (or a load of other channels with high visibility dogs)


You are quite right, but it is the reason why I am having to stick (unhappily) to lcd

Orinj

November 14, 2008, 4:11 pm

961, there are numerous channels with hideous on screen logos these days so I wouldn't expect you to avoid them all especially if they are your main viewing channels. The problem of screen burn is almost non-existent nowadays.





With modern plasma screens you may get a little retention but from the better manufacturers this is becoming less and less of an issue. So long as your TV isn't on the same channel for hours on end you should be fine with a plasma, especially if you have run it in from new.

Jamesd0015

November 14, 2008, 10:03 pm

Question: Why would you buy a brilliant TV like this to watch the news on?





Honestly!

Victor Ian Clark

November 15, 2008, 5:53 pm

I have been waiting for a 32" set with integrated HD freeview and full HD resolution but I am dissapointed with the style of the new Panasonic it is nearly 2" wider than the previous 32" models and the thick bezal is ugly. The lack of 100hz is odd but Sony seem to think 100hz is not needed at 32", their top end expensive full HD sets do not have this. So is it needed? Would a 32lzd85 with a HD freesat box give a better picture than a 32lzd81? I had Sky for a while but it is a rip off and in Wales you are restricted to the regions you can receive by Sky. You have to have freeview to get Granada here.

Premfab

February 6, 2009, 12:55 am

I saw this in a shop next to a Pioneer LX6090. It is stunning - this is from a Kuro owner and fan !!!!

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