They say that money can’t buy you happiness. But having just spent a few days with Panasonic’s TH-85VX200, it’s clear that money sure can buy you one hell of a home cinema experience.
The 85VX200 is a plasma TV sporting a mind-blowing 85in screen and all of Panasonic’s latest picture technology - including, rather excitingly, active 3D playback. And it costs £42,000. Er, oh.
But frankly, with the screen already set up (by a professional two-man installation team, with zero input from us. Booyah!), the small matter of finding 42 grand couldn’t be further from our minds. We just want to find out what this genuine AV monster is capable of.
After all, we’ve already reached the broad conclusion that 3D’s effectiveness is directly proportional to the size of the screen you’re watching it on. So clearly the potential for watching 3D on an 85in screen is mouthwatering - even if you’re not naturally inclined to give a monkeys about the whole current 3D hoohah.
It’s not just the sheer size of the 85VX200 that’s got our AV spine tingling, either. For we’ve seen enough 3D LCD and plasma TVs to know that for now, at least, plasma tends to offer a superior 3D performance, thanks to its much faster response time keeping a firm lid on the 3D ghosting phenomenon known as crosstalk. Actually, the 85VX200 goes even further to tackle crosstalk than Panasonic’s outstanding VT20 ‘mainstream’ 3D plasma series. For it’s equipped with two potentially crucial innovations: an ultra-high speed plasma cell drive system, and 3D motion vector prediction.
The first of these features is pretty self-explanatory, and produces a claimed 75 per cent improvement in the 85VX200’s response time. The 3D motion vector analyses motion from front to back and back to front in a 3D frame, as well as motion across the frame, in a bid to ‘get ahead’ of the action and thus reduce crosstalk further.
The 85VX200 also steals a march on its more mainstream siblings by carrying 30-bit colour processing - a boost in power that could deliver subtler colour blends and enhance the part colour gradations play in creating a convincing 3D effect.
And there’s more. For the fact that Panasonic sells the 85VX200 via its 'pro' line of products, aimed more at commercial buyers than domestic consumers, means the 85VX200 doesn’t have to work within the same ultra-tight power consumption limitations that bind the brand’s normal consumer TV models. So it has the potential to run much more brightly when viewing 3D - a key point when you consider how much active shutter 3D glasses tend to reduce the picture’s brightness.
We guess people with a particularly green turn of mind might not be impressed by this. Especially as the 85VX200 actually carries electricity-burning cooling fans that kick in when the screen is driven hard to get the best 3D results. But given our love of pure picture quality, we guess we’ll have to try and offset our carbon footprint in other ways!