For all the P65VT30’s general brilliance, though, its screen does suffer a few annoyances. One is that 3D pictures still look a touch dark, despite the extra brightness the NeoPlasma screen brings to the table - a situation not helped internal reflections and let light in around their edges that Pansonic plasmas tend to suffer from.
Next, our review sample showed a few issues with image retention. Very bright objects occasionally left a momentary ghost of themselves behind if there was a sudden cut to a very bright screen, and perhaps more alarming, we could clearly make out the words ‘John Lewis’ ghosted into the image if there was a large wash of blue or white on screen. We don’t know if our test screen had done service as a demo unit in a John Lewis store for a while before coming our way, but certainly someone somewhere has left the logo onscreen for rather too long.
The logo had almost faded away by the time our testing was done, but this meant it had stuck around for the best part of three intensive days of use, despite using the provided ‘screen wipe’ anti image retention tool a number of times. If nothing else this provides a salutary reminder of the care you need to take to avoid screen burn during the first few hundred hours of a plasma TV’s life.
Another issue is the brightness jumping that occasionally happens, where the overall brightness of the image shifts up and down quite noticeably from time to time, as if the screen doesn’t quite know how to best present the image on screen.
There’s also some very slight colour striping at times, and our test sample displayed an odd flaw whereby bands of shadow could spread right across the screen to the right of particularly bright parts of the image - such as, for instance, the white text in the menus of Call of Duty on the Xbox 360. Fortunately, this issue is seldom noticeable during normal video viewing.
Finally on the list of flaws is a situation where 50Hz PAL material judders slightly - sufficient to cause a brief double image if the material you’re watching has small, very defined edges in it, such as the lines on a football pitch.
While each of these numerous issues can prove slightly distracting whenever they appear, though, we mention them mostly because we need to stress that even the P65VT30 isn’t absolutely perfect rather than because they combine to stop Panasonic’s flagship TV from being a great home cinema screen.
Wrapping up the P65VT30’s mostly imperious performance is a pretty good effort by its speakers, which manage to sound much more potent and better-rounded than those of most flat TVs - even if there is still room for improvement in the bass department.
With the P65VT30, Panasonic has delivered the single most ‘serious’ home cinema television money can currently buy. Yes, you might spot the occasional irritation along the way, but for the vast majority of your viewing time the biggest problem you’re likely to have is the puddle of drool that keeps appearing at your feet.