The colour problems noted earlier are mostly restricted to standard definition again – especially low-quality standard definition, such as outdoor news broadcasts. With this sort of material, skin tones tend to look a bit over-cooked, reds can look a bit orange, and some shades of green can look radioactive. Especially if you make the mistake of sticking with the Normal picture preset you might imagine to be the best option for basic TV viewing.
Thankfully – very thankfully – all of the problems just detailed vanish in the blink of an eye when you switch the TV to play back a Blu-ray disc and select the TV’s Cinema or THX presets.
Colours, for instance, suddenly become remarkably natural and consistently totally believable, with even tricky low-lit skin tones no longer giving cause for concern.
It does no harm to the image’s sudden new-found colour precision, either, that the Cinema preset introduces new Gamma adjustment options as well as fine-tuning of the high and low red and blue elements of the white balance.
The image’s sharpness levels and detail presentation also snap into focus to mesmerising effect with Blu-ray sources, revealing all the customary minutiae we love to see from our HD sources without – and this is key – detail being over-egged to the point where images look unnaturally noisy and forced.
If you use the Cinema preset with the 24P Smooth Film mode selected, you can also remove almost all judder from Blu-ray images, further improving their clarity. This mode can, it has to be said, also produce some minor and sporadic processing glitches, but for me these are less distracting than the judder that sometimes materialises during camera pans.
With this in mind it’s perhaps surprising that the THX mode doesn’t actually allow you to turn Panasonic’s motion-compensation circuitry on. But on reflection this does make sense, for THX’s driving interest is to have the TV reproduce images so that they look as close as possible to how they would have looked in the cinema. And the fluidity visibility with the 24p Smooth Motion mode active does not by any means replicate the 24fps experience of a celluloid film experience.
For that reason there will understandably be many purists who stick always with the THX preset – and I’d have no argument with that whatsoever. All I’d say is that the de-juddering option opened up by the Cinema mode at least warrants a trial run before you completely dismiss it.
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