Review Price free/subscription
It would be a real shame if all this striking innovation, unique flexibility and almost total future proofing wasn’t partnered by quality where it really matters, in the picture and sound departments. But happily Vivadi has worked its magic on those too.
Starting with the picture quality, the 50in plasma screen delivers impressive results that at least get close to what we’ve seen from the very best ‘normal’ plasma TVs. Straight away, for instance, our eye is caught by deep and naturally-toned black levels during scenes in our favourite movies and games. These dark areas are also unusually full of shadow detail and depth.
The picture looks vibrant, too, with bright colours radiating forth with real dynamism and richness. Even better, this is achieved without damaging the authenticity of most of the colour tones.
Viewing in HD, meanwhile, reveals some exceptional sharpness in the Saturn 50’s pictures, as it delivers all the extra texture and detailing that makes HD so special.
Add to all this admirable freedom from practically all types of noise and fluid, smear-free motion, and you’ve got pictures that really are never less than extremely enjoyable.
We’re not talking perfection, though. For instance, the latest plasmas from Panasonic and Pioneer (which we’ve also reviewed recently) can deliver even more vibrancy. And while colours are generally natural, occasional hues of green and deep red can occasionally become a touch odd.
There’s nothing odd about the Vivadi’s audio, though. Even if you’re just using the speakers built into the main console the quality is outstanding, with effortless power, dynamic range and clarity. But splash the cash on that extra surround sound speaker set and you’ll experience the sort of home cinema and hi-fi heaven only usually found on megabucks separates systems for the blue-blood audiophile set.
It goes without saying that with a price tag like £12,500, the Vivadi Saturn HD50 won’t be for everyone. But if your ship’s come in recently and you fancy a plasma TV that’s a) stylistically iconic, b) completely future-proofed to the point where it might actually outlive you, c) stuffed full of more features than we’ve had steamed treacle puddings, and d) an outstanding performer to boot, then this is the only TV in Britain, if not the world, that hits every spot.