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Panasonic Viera TX-P65VT20 - 2D Performance and Verdict

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic Viera TX-P65VT20

Summary

Our Score:

9

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.

Verdict

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.

Jones

September 14, 2010, 1:03 pm

Now if only I could persuade the other half to allow me one room in the house for a Man Cave...

ronesh amin

September 14, 2010, 2:54 pm

A good alternative to this TV could be the Samsung PS63C7000 which you can find for about £2000 these days which has good 2D/3D picture quality - although it is does nto set the benchmark like this TV does. But it is a good option for anyone wanting a large TV for a relatively cheap option.





Erm, not too sure where to post this, somay just add it here- has TR considered making an iPhone/Android app for its website? so that even videos are converted to be played on the appropriate OS's too? i reckon it could go down well, and will make viewing articles a little more easier on the phone. Not bothered if it costs money or is free, as long as the UI is streamlined.

mike 41

September 14, 2010, 4:49 pm

Does Panasonic tv's still come with the ugliest possible remote?

hankb6d

September 14, 2010, 6:42 pm

Seriously a TV in the price range of a decent second hand family car, it's not straight ten's across the board either LOL

Ripsnorter

September 14, 2010, 8:07 pm

This is an excellent set, but its size means the ugly and dated plastic bezel is very hard to overlook. The addition of a chrome 'go faster' stripe indicates it really is time for Panasonic to get some proper designers in house.

GoldenGuy

September 14, 2010, 11:16 pm

Agreed with the stinking design - again. Also, it's not thoughtful to ship glasses with a four grand telly. It'd be scandalous if they didn't. Since so many people are buying for a whole family, the more they ship, the merrier. It's one thing to add more controllers to a two hundred quid console. But at this price, you really want to stop spending money and just plug in and go.

Chris01 1

September 15, 2010, 3:07 am

Panasonic seems to be addicted to this type of design. I'm really left wondering what the age average of the design team is.





Apart from that, I cant for the life of me, understand why the best plasma panels rank the same or lower at times than their LCD rivals. It's crystal clear to me by now, that good plasma monitors offer a more vivid and cinematic picture than the best LCDs. And that makes sense when one considers the technology and working principle behind plasma and LCD.





Beside the KURO series, that had undoubtedly and by far the best picture among the rest of the TV industry at the time, there have hardly been any plasma panels worthy of a top rank, while plenty LCDs managed a 9 or better (10). I find it hard to believe that LED technology had such a big impact on picture quality to make us consumers overlook the serious disadvantages that come with LCD technology, when it comes to motion picture quality. Even though LED is a purer light source, the basic working principles still apply for LED TVs as they do with LCD.





I wouldn't rather see 10's all over the place. On the contrary, a top mark should be saved for something exceptional rather than something very good. What i do find strange though is the fact that there is no difference in rank between the -currently- best contenders from each category. One possible explanation is that each LCD or plasma model is competing the rest of its own kind rather than the rival technology, but I do find this ranking system missleading since it shouldn't be the technology but the result -picture quality- that is being put to the test.


Apologies for the big write up, cheers.

darkcamel

September 15, 2010, 12:42 pm

Much has been made of the 50hz motion issue with panning on other forums, but its only briefly been mentioned in the review - is this because TR thinks its insignificant?


How does this compete with the £2300 Samsung 63c7000 - I'm really looking forward to the review on this one as it appears to be much better value.

PoisonJam

September 15, 2010, 4:37 pm

TR should send me one for Christmas :)

Malderon

September 15, 2010, 6:16 pm

At this size arent you better off with a projector?

tony cole

September 17, 2010, 8:54 pm

RE USB recording i bought a 1TB HD from Staples (think it was iomega)for 50 Odd quid and it was recognized straight away by my 50" G20 so its fantastic only use it for recording HD progs and my Humax for SD

jonno50

September 18, 2010, 1:53 pm

is the 2d picture brightness of this tv better than the rather low 3d picture brightness -i wasnt sure after reading the review-it does seem to be implied

Robbie Gnome

September 19, 2010, 5:31 am

I'm a very lucky & proud owner of one of these monsters and I have to say, of all the AV kit I've bought over the years this and my projector are the two most fun and exciting to use. 3D content is very thin on the ground but this will change within a year but as a 2D Blu Ray display its almost on par with the last Pioneer panel. Only having them side by side though would show this. Avatar on Blu Ray looks AMAZING with the 24fps facility. If you have the money spare or can persuade the wife to sell a kidney GO FOR IT. Ignore all the "Oh the exclusive 3D Blu Ray tie ins is going to kill the tech" Rubbish, it will stall it but Pandoras box has been opened and the content, what there is of it, is VERY effective. Early adopters always have to pay the price to have the toys first but if you are one youll understand the physcology!!! LOL

tokyo23ku

October 15, 2011, 3:58 pm

Actually, I just purchased this TV today in Japan. I have had two projectors and 5 lamps in the last four years (I always have the set on). Total cost- more than this TV. Also, one must draw the drapes during the day, or see little or nothing.

I still love a projector for the evening, but if you are TV intensive - a projector just does not cut it.

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