The short answer to the above question is that the Panasonic P65VT65 is basically ‘a home cinema fan’s dreams come true’. The VT65s are Panasonic’s flagship plasma series for 2013 – unless you’re well-heeled enough to add to the equation the limited edition £4000 Panasonic P60ZT65 – and this 65-inch model is the largest model from VT65 range. Which if you read our review of the Panasonic P50VT65 is probably all you need to know.
If you’ve never had a 65-inch TV in your living room before, you can’t appreciate just how big such a beast looks compared with the much more common 55-inch screens. The extra 10 inches step over the boundary from mere ‘TV’ to genuine ‘home cinema’ screen in terms of the experience you get while watching it. Yet it’s still a home cinema screen that, unlike a typical projector system, you can still just about accommodate in a relatively normal living room environment - and which you can watch without having to completely black out your room.
Compared with the super-slim frames around most of today’s high-end LCD TVs, meanwhile, the Panasonic P65VT65’s bezel is a strikingly wide affair, adding even more visual impact to that vast screen acreage. It has one good excuse for its frame width, though, for unlike the vast majority of other flat TVs, the P65VT65 tucks front-facing speakers into its bezel. Also, tucked behind the centre of the upper edge, there’s a built-in camera for Skyping.
There’s no denying, though, that despite the application of a shiny metal trim to the frames extremities, the P65VT65 is aesthetically the poor relation to Panasonic’s stunning-looking 2013 LCD TVs. But then if you’re seriously considering buying a P65VT65 you’re likely much more interested in AV quality than you are in mere good looks.
As behoves any high-end modern TV, the P65VT65 is very much a ‘smart’ TV. Among its connections are three USBs and built-in Wi-Fi to support video, photo and music multimedia playback, and the network connections also enable you to explore Panasonic’s Viera Connect online platform.
For detail on this we refer you to our earlier article on Panasonic’s latest Smart TV platform, but in summary, it’s an attractively presented and very stable online system, but could do with adding more key video streaming services beyond its current Netflix, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport, YouTube and DailyMotion support. Certainly the ITV Player, LoveFilm, 4OD and Demand 5 would all be well worth Panasonic striving to get onboard as soon as possible.
Where the Panasnonic P65VT65 is almost beyond reproach in network terms, though, is with its My Home Screen interface. This multi-hub affair does a sublimely good job in conjunction with Panasonic’s impressively in-depth onscreen instructions of helping you find and organise content. You and your family members can even set up, very straightforwardly, personal content pages, containing links to just the apps and content each individual cares about.
At the P65VT65’s heart beats one of Panasonic’s new NeoPlasma Black 3000 panels. Key features of these panels are a 3000Hz-like driving effect delivered via a combination of Panasonic’s sub-field driving technology and some high-powered frame interpolation technology. The P65VT65 also boasts Panasonic’s finest built-in light filter for boosting contrast (finest, that is, if you discount the ‘air gapless’ technology on the premium ZT65 model).
As we’ve come to expect from high-end Panasonic plasmas, the P65VT65 is supported by both the THX and ISF organisations. The THX support proves that the TV has met the stringent video playback standards demanded by their test labs, and has resulted in two very useful THX picture presets.
The ISF support shows that the P65VT65 has enough picture calibration tools in its arsenal to be professionally calibrated by an ISF engineer. In fact the set goes way beyond ISF’s requirements with the extent of its colour management, white balance management, gamma management and picture processing controls.
You can even calibrate the TV’s pictures without obscuring them with the TV’s menus, courtesy of a calibration option on the Viera Connect 2 app Panasonic provides for users of iOS and Android devices.
This app additionally provides an exceptionally simple interface for sharing external multimedia between your smart devices and the TV, or for sharing what you’re watching on the TV with your smart device. In fact, since the P65VT65 carries twin Freeview and twin Freesat tuners, you can even watch one show on the TV while someone else watches a different one on a tablet.