The P65VT20 predictably retains the same excellent black level response with 3D material that we noted with the P50VT20, and also benefits from plasma’s near-immunity to motion blur. Don’t forget that any problems retaining clarity with moving objects are only exaggerated in a 3D environment.
The presence of deep black levels helps the P65VT20 build a really convincing sense of depth within its 3D world – though you do have to sacrifice a few shadow details along the way.
As noted with the P50VT20, the P65VT20’s 3D pictures aren’t nearly as bright as those of 3D LCD/LED TVs. But we don’t necessarily see this as a major problem so long as you’re able to get your viewing room pretty dark for 3D viewing. (We’d recommend this in any case where Panasonic’s 3D TVs are concerned because of the way the rather poor 3D glasses included with the TV let ambient light sneak in between your eyes and the lenses.)
The sheer size of the P65VT20’s screen also kind of hides the screen’s lack of 3D brightness to some extent, unless you’ve got a particularly vast viewing room. The P65VT20’s size additionally helps with the immersive aspect of 3D viewing, filling your field of vision.
As with the P50VT20, despite its slightly more obvious crosstalk noise and other flaws, the P65VT20 reaffirms our feeling that Panasonic’s plasmas currently produce the most watchable – especially over extended viewing periods – 3D pictures that we’ve reviewed so far. This feeling might only improve, too, following the launch at the IFA show last week of new Panasonic 3D glasses that come in three sizes and appear far better at cutting out ambient light than the current ones.
The effort the P65VT20 puts into its 3D pictures actually also pays handsome dividends with 2D material. For instance, the contrast you get with any 2D footage, HD or standard def, is truly exceptional, as inky rich black colours co-exist within the same frame as reasonably punchy and certainly natural bright whites and colours.
Motion also looks crisp in 2D mode, and the set excels at presenting the full detailing and sharpness of good quality HD sources. It’s also a pretty effective upscaler of standard definition considering the obvious challenges involved with making standard def even remotely enjoyable at the 65in level.
The only problems left to talk about, in fact, are some occasional minor dot crawl on fleshtones during camera pans, and some judder with PAL sources. You can more or less remove this latter issue if you engage the TV’s Intelligent Frame Creation processing, but not everyone is fond of this sort of motion processing.
Throw in an LCD-thrashingly excellent real-world viewing angle with all the other good stuff, though, as well as a surprisingly powerful, dynamic sound performance, and the P65VT20 is clearly another hugely lovable Panasonic plasma TV.
First and foremost, the P65VT20 is a staggeringly good 2D TV, that absolutely sings with good HD material. It also happens to be the most consistently watchable – if not very bright and not totally crosstalk-free – big-screen 3D TV we’ve seen.
There’s a part of us that wonders a little if it might be worth waiting for 3D round two next year, though. And we definitely suspect there will be a few people who might wish for a cheaper, non-3D 65in Panny plasma – say a P65V20.
But while this is all food for thought, it doesn’t alter the fact that the P65VT20 is a brilliant and huge (therefore more immersive for 3D) TV that really does represent the state of the art circa early September 2010.