Buying a 65-inch TV used to be a dream a few years back because of their insanely huge prices but nowadays, it is possible to take one of these huge displays home for a price under $2,000. These kinds of displays aren’t so rich in features but it is nice to see how affordable high-end technology has gone. Panasonic is one of the few companies that make this dream possible by focusing on a category of displays that a lot of other companies have dropped – plasma displays. The Panasonic TC-P65S60 is one of the most affordable 65-inch displays right now and could be enough to attract budget movie lovers despite the dialed-down specs. If picture quality is more important, there is still the Panasonic TC-P65ST60 which manages to sell well below $3,000. But demanding videophiles that require spot on color accuracy and other flagship-class specs should consider the high-end Panasonic TC-P65VT60.
It appears that Panasonic isn’t giving the same design love to the TC-P65VT60 as the treatment that Panasonic’s LED models get. Panasonic’s 2013 lineup of LED displays look very pure and elegant. As for the Panasonic TC-P65VT60, it is basically a huge 65-inch screen that happens to be very thin because of the “one sheet glass” approach and has impressively thin bezels. The stand and base that support the huge screen does look a bit unique giving the TV a bit more personality but it would be nice if Panasonic made the TC-P65VT60 a bit more stylish to show that plasma displays are still in and better than ever.
Panasonic doesn’t want people to view their high-end displays as mere plasma displays. The TV components like the panel and filter have fancy names like NeoPlasma Black 3000 and Infinite Black Ultra. Unlike other technologies that are simply there for the marketing, these enhancements are actually a huge deal and effectively separate the Panasonic TC-P65VT60 from the cheaper TC-P65ST60. These are the technologies that really push the boundaries when it comes to black levels, smooth motion and color accuracy. These enhancements make the TC-P65VT60 THX 3D certified just like the Panasonic ZT60 models which are Panasonic’s flagship plasma displays. THX 3D certification also means that the Panasonic TC-P65VT60 can deliver a good 3D experience complete with sharp imagery and minimal artifacts. THX went through hundreds of tests to give this display the approval. 2 sets of active 3D glasses are included as well. Although the Panasonic TC-P65VT60 is a plasma TV, it is still eco-friendly as its lead and mercury-free panel has a 100,000 hour panel lifespan and is Energy Star compliant.
If you look closely at the design of the TC-P65VT60, you will notice very thin speakers on the left and right of the TV. This was Panasonic’s approach in integrating speakers without making the TV thicker. What is so amazing is how these thin speakers actually sound. They are quite loud complete with bass and actually have range since they are spread apart. A surround sound mode can be also enabled to make movies sound as if you have a real 5.1-channel sound system installed.
The Panasonic TC-P65VT60 is also a very capable smart TV capable of accessing the local network and Internet without an Ethernet cable thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi. Panasonic’s past TVs come with VIERA Connect which is the platform for these online features but they still deserve a mention since virtually all competing TVs come with some sort of set of Internet features. Panasonic’s smart TV experience starts with the My Home Screen which is quite nice because it is easy to understand. You can add shortcuts to your favorite apps, add some widgets to make the home screen more dynamic and customize the wallpaper. There are a number of streaming apps to choose from if you are into services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video and you can easily check social networking updates through the Facebook and Twitter apps. The web browser app is also useful if you need to check out other sites. The dual-core processor with Hexa Processing technology really helps in optimizing the performance of this interface and its apps.
The included VIERA Touchpad Controller offers a better way to utilize the VIERA Connect features. The circular touchpad makes app navigation easier and the built-in microphone allows voice interaction as well. It understands basic voice commands and even has text-to-speech support. Your smartphone or tablet can function as a remote control as well if you install the VIERA Remote 2 app (compatible with iOS and Android). This app comes with plenty of features allowing you to adjust the settings of the TV right from the app. It can also be used to put photos and other content right on the TV by means of swiping through the Swipe & Share function. This mobile app also makes things like text input a lot easier so you won’t have to buy a separate external keyboard. If your mobile device doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi but has built-in Bluetooth, you can still pair the device with the TV so you can stream music without any extra attachments or special apps.
Panasonic’s flagship ZT60 series offer better picture but the TC-P65VT60 and other VT60 models uniquely feature a built-in camera. This means that you can immediately use the TV’s Skype app to engage in video chats with other Skype users. You can also use the camera’s face recognition capability to have the TV apply your personal home screen settings once your face is recognized.
Both the TC-P65VT60 and TC-P65ZT60 are massive TVs that are made for videophiles to appreciate. But the ZT60 model is the better choice if you need that stellar picture quality regardless of the ambient lighting. But if you are fine with dim lighting, the Panasonic TC-P65VT60 can be a perfect choice. It has far better color accuracy, deep black levels and VIERA Connect features than the cheaper ST60. Thanks to Panasonic’s technologies, the TC-P65VT60 will be a very difficult TV to beat until 4K and OLED displays become more widely available and affordable.
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