Panasonic

Hands On Panasonic’s 2013 VT60 Series Plasma HDTV

March 26th, 2013 · 11 Comments · 3D HDTV, News, Plasma

Panasonic Plasma TCP55VT60

Last week we paid a visit to Panasonic’s US headquarters to get our first post-CES look at Panasonic’s TC-P55VT60 plasma. Panasonic reconfigured its plasma TV line-up for 2013, making the VT series the next to top-of-the line of its new 60 series. In descending order it’s now the ZT, VT, ST, S and X60 series. We also had a chance to compare side-by-side its 2012 VT50 plasma against the VT60.

The VT includes numerous picture and feature advances over the 50 series. Read the details after the break.

Plasmas emit light via a voltage pulse within on each sub-pixel (red, blue, and green). When a voltage is applied to the electrodes within, UV light is emitted, which in turn causes the phosphors within to emit red, blue or green light. Combined as a single pixel white light is created. One of the improvements is a shorter peak firing time for 2013. Last year it was 1/2500th of a second (Panasonic called it 2500 Focus Field Drive). This year it’s a 3000 Focus Field Drive or 1/3000th of a second per pulse. Panasonic claims this creates better motion sharpness and permits more gradations of black to white. The VT60 is spec’d at 30,720 steps, up from last year’s VT50’s 24,576.

The VT60 panel includes a new red phosphor for deeper (less orange) reds.

Due to our short time with this new plasma we relied on the default THX mode settings for our evaluation and comparison (we checked the settings for accuracy using our HD signal generator). Please note, Panasonic’s product manager referred to this sample as a pilot production model. The results may differ when we receive a unit from its normal production run.

With a TC-P55VT50 side-by side we observed deeper blacks on the VT60.  Unfortunately, the room could not be completely darkened, likely inflating our meter reading of .002 ft. lamberts for black on the VT60.  In our visual comparisons using the Skyfall Blu-ray disc, the VT60’s image had better contrast with brighter whites and deeper blacks.  In a simple terms, it had more “pop”. Reds were also redder when compared to last year’s VT50.  There is a DCI color mode for a wider color gamut, however we stuck to the HD (Rec. 709) color mode for our evaluations.

The VT60 also has a new signal processing for claimed improved performance with all resolution sources including streaming Internet video such as YouTube or Amazon Instant. We checked out the HD performance and confirmed it passed all the signal processing tests on the HQV HD test disc.

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Features

The VT60 has 3 HDMI inputs down from 4 last year. It also has 3 USB jacks as well as Wi-Fi. There are numerous controls for picture settings as well as modes for THXand ISF calibration modes. New for 2013 is a Color Management app for Andriod and iOS devices. The app features a CIE color diagram and provides the ability to change the color points of the primary (red, blue and green) and secondary (cyan, magenta and yellow) colors, gamma and other picture criteria. If it works as well as it looks, this app could be really a nice aid in calibration (of course you will need an accurate color meter to find verify the settings).

Viera Home Page 580

The user interface (shown above on the 2013 WT60)  is all new for 2013.  Its “Home Screen” provides live content as well as customization for up to 5 users. You decide what you want to see on the portal screen such as weather, favorite channel content etc. The built-in HD video camera enables face recognition to determine the user as well as Skype video calls. In addition, you can leave a video message to a family member.  A notice will appear on the Home Screen the next time the TV is powered up.

There is also an optional touch pen that permits writing notes on the screen or captioning photos.

Voice interaction is used for searching by speech for content. For example you can say Ahna O’Reilly movies and the list will pop-up. There is a touchpad remote control as well as a standard unit included. In addition to apps, movie and music content via Amazon, Netflix and other sources, the VT60 has a web browser and a text to audio function, that will read to you printed text.

The VT60 also permits photos and video to be transferred from the TV to a tablet/phone or visa-versa. The Panasonic VT60 is compatible to both iOS and Android devices.

We have requested a sample ASAP and will perform a full review under more controlled conditions as soon as we can.

 

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11 Comments so far ↓

  • nelson

    Samsung plasmas are junk. Seriously..i had a pn58c8000 that died in less than 3 years with moderate use. Just replaced it with a VT60. No comparison… blacks are much deeper…color pops more.

  • BadSantaKQ

    @JonThomasDesigns:

    Good question (F8500 vs ZT60).

    My answer is based on being a new plasma tv owner (1st one btw, having converted from being a faithful LCD person since early 2000s) and based upon extensive research into the matter.

    I consider myself an educated shopper and always do read through a high volume of professional as well as Customer reviews before I formulate my own conclusions.

    I will admit, I have yet to do ANY research into the F8500 and ZT60 models and how they compare. HOWEVER, having just purchased my beautiful PN60E6500 Samsung 2012 plasma 7 weeks ago (and based on my extensive research before making the purchase a few weeks before that), I have come to understand that the general consensus between the never-ending battle of Samsung vs Panasonic is this:

    Both are strong performance-wise in different areas but the real distinguishing factors seems to repeatedly come down to these two factors:

    Buzzing noise eminating from the units
    vs
    Image Retention.

    This is ultimately why I chose to go Samsung. I would MUCH rather have to deal w a slight buzzing/humming noise than to experience IR!. Besides, I use a DD 5.1 home theatre system for ALL my sources so I never even hear the buzzing! IR on the other hand, I cannot live with as I see this as a much bigger negative.

    I would imagine this distinguishing difference would still apply for these 2013 models? I would image that Panny’s still are more prone to IR than Sammys and, vice versa, Sammys tend to have a louder buzzing sound than Pannys.

    If this is in fact still the case, I say: YAY to buzzing… NAY to IR! Sammy is my bet ;)

  • JonThomasDesigns

    I know its a little early , but if you had to pick Between the Samsung’s F8500 and the 65″ Panasonic ZT60 today which would you choose ? I’m in the market : )

  • dakmart

    @chew — The F8500 is by all accounts an outstanding TV that happens to have the misfortune of being marketed in the same year as the ZT60, which has been compared to the late, great Pioneer Kuro. The inevitable shootouts between the F8500 and ZT60 ought to be very interesting.

  • starx

    HDGuru, between VT60 and F8500 which is brighter on Torch Modes?

    We will have to wait for review samples to make any determination. Plasma brightness is ultimately constrained by the Automatic Brightness Limiter or ABL (this issue also affected CRTs test results too).

    The power supply within the plasma can deliver only so much power to the panel. If we read a full white screen it will not be as bright as a white window say covering 25% of the screen area with the rest black.

    Generally only snow covered landscapes and more or less ice hockey fall under this issue so we choose to measure every display with a 100 IRE window pattern. We expect samples of these HDTVs soon and will include max brightness in our review.

    HD Guru

  • Karmadude

    @chew
    Are you getting paid to promote Samsung? IMO there seems to be many either paid, or just Biased fans flooding these places and forums with all this bs like “Samsung is better” and its so FOS! It’s so obvious what you’re doing. Making new accounts on forums just to put Samsung on a pedestal that will come crashing down fast when its just about 1 year old while the Panasonic will be Livin La Vida Loca for many, many years to come IMO and I’m not even a Panny or Samsung guy.
    I have never seen so many people who feel the need to promote this brand. They must have had a horrible year in 2012 for LG to take their # 1 spot for the 1st time in 7 years! Lmfao!

  • chew

    To Crogan i think you go look at one before you make comment the 8500 Samsung look better than vt-50 at the store i went too,im not Samsung man

  • Andy Sullivan

    Will the increase from 25,000 to 30,000 have any effect on IR potential?tial?

  • Vaughn

    HDGuru, did you receive any new intel on the vt60 release date while you were there?

  • crogan

    @chew The F8500 is not even in the same league as the VT60 / ZT60, wait and see.

  • chew

    Good review thanks for all the specs on the vt-60,but i have to see it for myself and also i did see the Samsung 8500 Plasma i was very impress, so who’s going to have bragging rights

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