The P60ZT65B is a 60-inch TV expressly designed by Panasonic to be quite possibly the last word (and last stand?) plasma TV picture quality. At its heart is a new Studio Master Panel that uses special manufacturing techniques to deliver levels of contrast and colour accuracy never previously seen on any other TV ever. Including Pioneer’s legendary KURO plasma TVs. It's also known as the ZT65 for short, and it's only available as a 60-inch.
We haven’t chucked in that KURO reference just to be sensationalist, either. Panasonic is so confident about the abilities of the P60ZT65B that during its 2013 European convention in Nice it actually had the balls to do a head to head demo of its new set running alongside a final-gen KURO. No small boast given Pioneer's Kuro TVs, the last the company made, have held the crown for picture quality for years now.
But then to be fair, the P60ZT65B does kind of need to deliver the goods on account of its eye-watering £4,000 price. This makes it a fair chunk of change more expensive than any other 60-inch and even 65-inch TVs out there, including Panasonic’s own high-end P65VT65 - read our review of the 50-inch Panasonic P50VT65.
From the moment you get the P60ZT65 out of the box, though, it sets about remorselessly making you feel convinced that your £4k is money well spent. For starters the TV is accompanied by an Owner’s Box containing a Golden Club Card showing both a ‘part number’ and the printed signature of your TV’s head engineer.
The part number is a reminder you that you’ve managed to get your hands on what is actually a limited edition TV, while the engineer’s signature is to stress the point about just how specialised a production process has gone into making your new TV a reality.
You’ll further find that your Golden Club membership earns you regular email newsletters that help you to get the most out of your frighteningly sophisticated TV.
When you first turn the TV on, meanwhile, the words Studio Master Panel appear on the screen, written in a fancy calligraphic font that practically screams ‘ooh, get you’.
To some extent the P60ZT65’s design underlines the set’s opulent status, too. Its whole 60-inch screen and bezel are tucked behind a single sheet of glass, with a flash metallic trim running around the outside edge. The set is also heavy to shift, suggesting that its build quality is uncompromising.
However, before we start trundling the P60ZT65 down any catwalks, it’s aesthetically no rival for Panasonic’s own, staggeringly svelte LCD TVs, partly because its bezel is startlingly wide by modern TV standards, and partly because its black colour scheme feels a touch old school. That said, the black finish is very well suited to the sort of darkened movie ‘den’ a TV like this may well be destined for.
The P60ZT65 continues its opulent theme with its connections too. While they’re not any more prolific than you might find with any high-end TV (in fact you only get three HDMIs when you might have expected four), they are all coated in gold. As well as being suitably blingy, this means the connections won’t fall prey to the oxidisation degradation that afflicts normal TV connections over time.
Familiar as we are with Panasonic plasma TVs through the ages, it’s immediately obvious as we first examine the P60ZT65’s panel that it’s not the got the usual twin layers in it; instead the glass sheet and plasma panel are bound together.
Achieving this has been no small step for Panasonic; in fact the process is so tricky that Panasonic has had to track down special heated compression chambers in order to make the bonding process work properly.
It’s chiefly because of this specialised manufacturing process that Panasonic has released the P60ZT65 on a Limited Edition basis.
Why go to so much trouble to remove the air gap? Well, first of all no air gap means no more double imaging, where you can see offset copies of bright objects when watching other Panasonic plasmas from somewhere down their sides.
The Air Gapless tech should also result in greater brightness and even deeper black levels than those witnessed on Panasonic’s imperious VT65 series. Or even Pioneer’s still-awesome final KURO plasmas.
If this turns out to be true, of course, then the P60ZT65 will be set fair to become any serious home cinema fans’ TV of choice almost by default.
The P60ZT65 is, of course, a fully Smart TV, sporting Panasonic’s excellent new My HomeScreen interface to help you and individual members of your family set up your own personalised ‘home pages’ of content links. You can also access a solid online platform in the shape of Panasonic’s Viera Connect, stream files wirelessly from DLNA PCs, play back multimedia files from USB sticks, and record from the built-in Freesat HD and Freeview HD tuners to USB hard drives.
Naturally, the P60ZT65 is also compatible with Panasonic’s latest Viera Remote 2 app for iOS and Android devices, which offers a startlingly simple interface for controlling you TV from your smart device, or sharing media between your smart device and the TV screen. This sharing extends to streaming what’s showing on the TV to your second device for second-room viewing.
For more details on Panasonic’s Smart TV system, you can read our Panasonic 2013 Smart TV review for more details.