Right then. It’s Christmas, we’ve had a long, hard six months of reviewing TVs for you – it IS a tough job, honest – and we think we’ve earned the right to spoil ourselves a bit for this last TV review of 2006. Cue the delivery to our eager door of Panasonic’s new 65in plasma TV: the Viera TH-65PX600.
If this new screen successfully combines its sheer enormity with Panasonic’s traditional plasma talents, it could revolutionise our gaming and TV viewing experience this Christmas. Even the Queen’s Speech might become watchable, for heaven’s sake!
The 65PX600 starts well by doing its best to appear as unobtrusive as a 65in screen is ever likely to. The screen frame has been kept reasonably trim, and the gloss black finish feels solid, luxurious but subtle rather than flimsy, garish and distracting.
Things get even better with the set’s connections, as we uncover not one, not two, but three HDMI inputs. This shows a real dedication to the high-end home cinema cause, allowing you to simultaneously attach, say, an HD DVD player, a Sky HD receiver, and a PS3.
Panny hasn’t skimped on other jacks either. A D-Sub input provides analogue PC support; a component jack permits connection of analogue progressive scan and HD sources like the Xbox 360; there are three Scarts; and you even get an SD card slot for direct viewing of JPEGs from SD cameras. One final jack worthy of note is a Common Interface slot, which is used for adding subscription services to what’s clearly a built-in Freeview TV tuner.
Reinforcing the 65PX600’s ‘serious’ AV credentials further is its affinity for 1080p. For starters, the version of Panasonic’s Viera V-Real engine it carries has been specially modified to upscale any signals it receives into 1080p HD for showing on the screen. Potentially even more significantly, though, its HDMIs are all capable of receiving native 1080p feeds from HD DVD/Blu-ray/upscaling DVD players.