Panasonic 2013 Plasma HDTVs Revealed

January 7th, 2013 · 10 Comments · 3D HDTV, News, Plasma

Panasonic ZT60 Plasma

Ranging from 42- to 65-inches, Panasonic’s 2013 plasmas will be offering a number of improvements, plus the usual “more features at lower prices,” like built-in cameras, more connectivity, and so on.

Perhaps most interesting is a new top-of-the line plasma series, the ZT, to slot in above last year’s award-winning VT Series.

All the info on all 16 new models after the jump.

Look for the new models to start rolling out in February. Let’s start at the low end.

The X60 Series has two screen sizes, the TC-P42X60 and the TC-P50X60 (the middle number is the size, in inches diagonal). Both models are 720p, and feature the 600 HZ Sub-Field Drive. These models are not 3D, and have two HDMI and one USB input.

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Stepping up from there is the S60 Series, with five screen sizes: TC-P42S60, TC-P50S60, TC-P55S60, TC-P60S60, TC-P65S60. This is likely similar to, and an expansion of, last year’s U50 Series. These are not 3D, but are 1080p. Like the X60, there’s a 600 Hz Sub-Field Drive and 2 HDMI inputs (plus 2 USB). All have built-in Wi-Fi, but only a scaled-down version of Panasonic’s VIERA Connect service, called Online Movies. If the S60 performs as well as the U50, expect some good value in this range.

Panasonic  ST60 Plasma

The ST60 Series is the lowest end of Panasonic’s 3D line. There are four models, TC-P50ST60, TC-P55ST60, TC-P60ST60, TC-P65ST60. Last year’s ST50 was one of the best performance/value combos available in plasma, so hopefully that continues here. The 1080p ST60s have Panasonic’s Infinite Black Pro Panel with 2500 Focused Field Drive, the full VIERA Connect suite including a web browser, Swipe and Share 2.0 (more on this in a second), 3 HDMI, and 2 USB. Unlike last year’s model, the ST60 comes with 2 pairs of 3D glasses.

Swipe and Share 2.0 is a new feature that allows iOS and Android devices to send and receive photos to/from the TV with a “swipe of the finger.” I’ll presume setup is required before that functionality works. All the models from the ST up have this feature.

Panasonic VT60 Plasma

Gone is the GT series, so the next step up is the VT60 Series (above). Does this mean the VT is the new GT? Probably, but we’ll know when we start getting the then in to test. There are three models in the series, TC-P55VT60, TC-P60VT60, and the TC-P65VT60. All have built-in cameras, Infinite Black Ultra panels, 3000 Focused-Field Drive, and are THX Certified. ISFccc with Advanced Calibration seems like a great boon for calibrators. There are 3 HDMI and 3 USB inputs.

At the top is the ZT60 Series (shown at top) with two sizes, the TC-P60ZT60 and the TC-P65ZT60. Interestingly, there’s no 50-something inch model. Numerous improvements are claimed for a
“Beyond the Reference” level of picture quality. These include front glass that’s attached directly to the plasma panel, a new red phosphor (that allows a wider color gamut), Studio Master Panel glass, and a new panel driving method that is claimed to have even better black levels and contrast. Since last year’s VT50 had some of the best black levels and contrast we’ve seen, this is a strong statement. There’s also voice control and most of the features found in the VT50 Series.

Also check out Panasonic’s new LED LCDs.

 

Geoff Morrison @TechWriterGeoff
Geoff’s book is now in paperback (and, ahem, also makes a great gift!)

 

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • John L

    You stated the ZT60 series has a new red phosphor. How red was it before? Don’t the LCD panels have the right “red” automatically since it is produced by a passive filter? You have also claimed that a high contrast ratio is good to have but don’t film based material have lower contrast ratios therefore watching film on a LCD panel or a Plasma panel should show no difference?

  • Matt Hargett

    Does the VT60 still support 24fps native content? I’d be very interested to know the apples-to-apples improvements/changes between the VT50 and VT60.

  • vic

    I agree with Mike… I don’t like silver bezels, it should have been black instead.

  • Mike

    Too bad they put a silver bezel around the otherwise solid looking ZT. Why must manufacturers continue to do that?

  • vic

    There seems to be some confusion over the new ZT line, is it available in 65” and 60” (as stated here) or 65” and 55″? Pnanasonic’s site only mentions a 65″

  • chew

    Sorry not impress,no 4k in plasma,1080p already peak out,im keeping what i have vt-30

  • Scoop

    Could we have a bit more about the improvements, at least at the top of the line?

    I realize you can’t give specifics if they don’t release them, but did you guys press them at the press conference for numbers on black levels, color reproduction, brightness, etc.?

    Could we at least get a best-guess from having seen these things about whether they represent a major improvement, a small-but-real improvement or nothing much?

    Geoff: No specifics were given, but Panasonic has a solid track record of year-on-year improvements, and given how amazing the VT50 was, the ZT60 should be interesting indeed.

  • Thom

    Sad to see they are not pushing the boundaries of size and making an effort for a larger unit. I would be VERY interested in a 75″+ size. Oh well. LCD just isn’t for me, and a projector is out of the question for the room.

  • Sam Khoury

    It’s nice to see that Panasonic went down to 5 model lines for their plasmas. I was just telling my friend the other day that they had too many in 2012 and I thought 5 would be the right amount.

    1) Entry level 720p series – X60
    2) Entry level 1080p series – S60
    3) Mid level 1080p series with 3D – ST60
    4) Mid/high level 1080p series with 3D and additional features – VT60
    5) Top of the line series – ZT60.

    When you have too many model lines you confuse customers and in 2012 there were too many model lines. To refresh everyone’s memory there were 7 – VT, GT, ST, UT, XT, U and X.

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