Panasonic has come a long way in recent times when it comes to providing calibration tools for its TVs, so that the P65VT30 now offers full colour and gamma management, and enjoys the endorsement of both the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and the THX ‘quality assurance’ group. As usual, the THX endorsement leads to the provision of a THX picture preset, while there are night and day preset slots available for the ISF engineers to use if you pay them to come round.
For the most part, the P65VT30’s picture quality is every bit as good as we’d expected/hoped it would be. The star of the show is its outstanding contrast. Dark scenes look simply gorgeous thanks to the beautifully deep, rich black levels the TV can produce, yet because this black level reproduction doesn’t rely on the entire screen being dimmed as is the case with most types of LCD technology, the deep blacks coexist with really vibrant colours and brilliant whites.
Plasma’s self-emissive technology also means that dark scenes contain much more shadow detail than is customary with flat TVs, and films look gorgeously cinematic.
Colours look vibrant and natural meanwhile, with natural skin tones, rich blues, reds that largely avoid the orangey tone of plasmas of the past, and greens that look bright and well balanced rather than lurid and dominant as can still happen with less accomplished plasma TVs.
Also mesmerising is the amount of detail in the set’s HD pictures. Seeing HD sources writ as large as 65in with absolute precision and effortless detailing is a treat you’ll never grow tired of. And of course, this being a plasma TV, there’s no motion blur to worry about.
You can watch the set from almost as wide a viewing angle as you like without fear of contrast or colour loss too, and standard definition pictures survive the journey up to 65in surprisingly well, thanks to some clearly superior upscaling processing.
All this and we haven’t even mentioned 3D yet, despite this being in many ways the P65VT30’s tour de force. The sharpness of its full HD 3D Blu-ray pictures is incredible, and it’s underlined by the size of the screen to provide a potent reminder of why the active 3D format was developed.
Contributing immensely to the sharp feeling of the 3D pictures, too, is an almost complete absence of crosstalk ghosting noise. Colours look exceptionally natural in 3D too, avoiding both the muted and over-cooked looks sometimes seen with 3D pictures.
As a console gaming monitor the P65VT30 is nothing short of jaw-dropping, in either 2D or 3D mode. Being able to experience the sharpness and something approaching the scale of a top quality projected image while gaming without the hassle that accompanies projector use is nothing short of joyous. And the screen consistently measured under 30ms for image lag too, so at no point did we find our gaming performance feeling sluggish or unresponsive.