Panasonic is the only brand this year offering dual Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners in some of its TVs, and not surprisingly given its flagship status, both tuners are present and correct in the P65VT20.
While Freesat has certainly become much less interesting than it used to be now that Freeview HD is live, the fact remains that large parts of the country still can’t receive Freeview HD broadcasts. So for this year at least, there’s still a good argument for Panasonic’s inclusive free HD broadcasting approach.
This finds an LNB input sitting alongside the more predictable RF input, as well as an Ethernet socket as required on any TV that has an HD tuner.
The Ethernet’s usefulness doesn’t stop at merely opening the door to potential future interactive HD broadcast services, though. For it can also be used to hook up with a DLNA PC for multimedia file playback, or it can take the TV online to Panasonic’s ring-fenced Viera Cast service.
We’ve covered this service in depth in a recent article on the various manufacturers’ online TV services, so we won’t go into it again here other than to say that its interface is very elegant; that its highlights include YouTube, Picasa and the AceTrax movie rental/purchase service; and that it’s fair to middling by online TV standards right now.
Further multimedia support in the P65VT20 comes courtesy of two USB ports and an SD card socket. These give you playback of movie, photo and music files, as well as allowing you to record broadcasts from the digital tuners to USB hard disk drives. Um, so long as these HDDs are part of Buffalo’s JustSTore Desktop HD-EU2-UK range, which remain the only models guaranteed by Panasonic to be compatible with its recording system.
People who read our review of the P50VT20, the P65VT20’s smaller brother, will remember that we praised its 3D pictures for suffering relatively little with crosstalk noise compared with LCD 3D TVs we’d seen. This is also the case with the P65VT20 – though strangely, not quite so convincingly.
In other words, while the ghosting around certain objects in the middle and far distance in 3D mode continues to be less aggressive than it usually appears in the brighter 3D environment produced by LCD TVs, it also seems slightly more noticeable than it was on the P50VT20. Given that the technology driving both TVs is the same, we can only imagine that this is simply a product of the P65VT20’s extra size, which leaves even subtle traces of crosstalk noise with nowhere to hide.
The P65VT20’s enormity also makes it easier to appreciate the resolution difference between full HD 3D Blu-rays and Sky’s lower-res side-by-side 3D action – but this is hardly Panasonic’s fault.