As we’d frankly expected from experience of other Panasonic TVs this year, the P65VT65’s picture quality is immense. And by far the most obvious reason for this is the almost flawless depth to the screen’s black level response.
Dark scenes benefit from black colours that look as black as the screen frame around them, with pretty much no evidence – even if you watch in a blacked out room setting – of the sort of greyness that hangs over to some extent dark scenes on almost every other flat TV in town.
Even better, since the Panasonic P65VT65 is a plasma TV and so can emit light on a ‘per pixel’ basis rather than via a few external light sources, its stunning black level depth is achieved without a) crushing out shadow detail or b) having to compromise the brightness of any light areas a predominantly dark shot might contain.
The same illuminative properties of plasma technology also mean you don’t have to worry about areas of backlight clouding in the picture of the sort you often see with LCD technology. Especially LCD technology applied to screens as vast as this 65-inch one.
Given that we consider black level to be the cornerstone of all good TV picture quality, it’s fair to say that the P65VT65’s stunning black rendition gets it off to pretty much as good a start as a TV could get off to. But happily there’s plenty more good news to report, too.
Colours are outstandingly natural, for instance. Tones look rich – far richer and punchier, in fact, than anything seen on previous generations of Panasonic plasmas – but also extremely subtly rendered thanks to much finer colour blends than plasma customarily manages.
Particularly important for film enthusiasts is the Panasnonic P65VT65’s ability to deliver colours pretty much perfectly matched to the current established video standards. Couple this ability with the exceptional black level performance and the sheer size of the screen, and you’ve got as fine a mainstream home cinema experience as a TV can currently deliver short of forking out an extra £850 for the 5-inch-smaller Panasonic P60ZT65.
The P65VT65’s HD pictures look extremely sharp and detailed without looking fizzy or stressy too, and it helps immensely in this respect that the Panasonic P65VT65 doesn’t suffer with the sort of resolution loss over moving objects you routinely get with rival LCD technology.
The bottom line with the P65VT65 is that it’s capable of producing picture quality you can just get completely lost in, breaking down the walls between you and what you’re watching.
What’s more, this immersive sense is taken to a whole other dimension – literally – when you watch 3D. The way the huge screen fills your field of vision, the way the stunning contrast helps portray a richer sense of depth, the sense of detail delivered by the use of the active rather than passive 3D format, the lack of the crosstalk ghosting noise that usually troubles the active 3D system… all these strengths combine to produce as good an advert for 3D as we’ve seen.
So long, at least, as you can watch in a pretty dark room, for the only weaknesses of the P65VT65’s 3D images are that they’re not very bright and can cause you to see flicker in any ambient light that might be in your room.