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The V-Real element has delivered some impressive results on previous TVs when it comes to reducing video noise levels, boosting colours and rescaling sources to suit a panel’s native resolution. IFC, meanwhile, calculates and then adds in new intermediary frames of image data in a bid to make motion in the picture more fluid and crisp, and has again previously impressed (notwithstanding one or two caveats we’ll come to later).
It’s well worth adding that the 46PZ85 uses a combination of what Panasonic cryptically calls ‘an advanced panel structure’ and a newly developed screen filter to produce a larger than usual colour space, taking in 110% of the HDTV colour standards.
Other bits and bobs within the 46PZ85’s well-constructed onscreen menus include four levels of noise reduction and an unusual amount of audio flexibility. The latter comes in the form of both a ‘Simulated Surround’ mode and the impressive third-party BBE ViVA system, which adds a ‘3D’ soundstage element to the standard BBE’s already-established talent at making TV audio sound more natural and wide ranging.
Getting into the nitty gritty of performance, when the 46PZ85 is happy with what it’s being fed, we’re pleased to report that it’s every inch an award-winning product.
With HD courtesy of 30 Days of Night on Blu-ray and Gears Of War on the Xbox 360 (the original one – I’ve been getting a bit of practice in ahead of the new one coming out!), the 46PZ85 absolutely purrs.
Particularly striking considering this is a plasma rather than an LCD TV is the image’s extreme sharpness. You can make out individual flakes in 30 Days of Night’s snowstorms, weaves in the vampire’s clothing, and every last pixel of the outstanding background textures that make Gears of War still arguably the finest looking game on any next-gen console to date. Basically, all the lovely, minute stuff that we love so much about the HD experience.
Rather less surprising given Panasonic’s record – but no less gratifying – is the 46PZ85’s black level response. An endlessly dark horror film like 30 Days… will repeatedly highlight flaws in any TV with even the slightest black level problems, but it seldom catches the 46PZ85 out at all. In other words, when something in the picture is supposed to be black, that’s generally exactly how it looks on the 46PZ85, with precious little of the greying over problem associated with rival LCD technology.