Of course, all this 1080 talk would only get you so far if the screen only had a 1,366 x 768 native resolution, like most plasma TVs. But we’re chuffed to discover that the 65PX600 is actually Panasonic’s first ‘full HD’, 1,920 x 1,080-resolution plasma TV. So all those lovely 1080p signals don’t have to be downscaled again before the TV shows them. Marvellous!
As Pioneer discovered with its 50in PDP-5000EX, fitting 1,920 x 1,080 plasma cells into a screen is far from easy. So it’s no surprise to discover that Panasonic has had to develop a completely new microcell discharge stabilisation technology and a faster driving system to make its new full HD 65incher work.
Elsewhere, the V-Real processing we mentioned earlier is doing rather more than just upconverting incoming signals. It’s also working its usual magic on a plethora of image elements, including colour saturations and tones, contrast and motion. It’s aided and abetted, furthermore, by the latest incarnation of Panasonic’s near-legendary Real Black Drive system for boosting black levels; an unusually sophisticated user-adjustable colour management system; and something called Motion Pattern Noise Reduction, which apparently detects areas of a picture that could cause noise, and addresses them before any noise can appear. This preventative approach, reckons Panasonic, is a much more effective way of dealing with noise than just smoothing it out retrospectively.
And so to the moment of truth. Have the technical demands of the Full HD resolution forced Panasonic to compromise on its usual plasma qualities for the 65PX600? Not a bit of it.
Focussing first on what’s familiar from Panasonic heroes gone by, black levels are simply outstanding, with their sheer depth and the level of subtle shadow detailing they retain providing a salutary reminder of how LCD struggles to match plasma in this key picture area. Dark films like Alien and dark HD games like Gears of War all benefit immensely from the sense of depth and scale this black level prowess permits.