Panasonic Proclaims Higher Picture Quality and Kuro Like Blacks for its 2011 Plasma TVs
Last week Panasonic personnel met with members of the press to display and discuss its 2011 HDTVs, disc players and home theater systems. We took the opportunity to learn more about plasma performance improvements with a Panasonic engineer and product manager on hand for the event. The changes are dramatic especially regarding the lowering of minimum black levels now claimed to be reduced down to the levels of the legendary Pioneer Kuro plasmas (more below) and other performance improvements.
Panasonic changed the name of its plasma panels from Neo PDP to Neo Plasma. Along with the name change comes a number of claimed refinements in its plasma tech.
By improving the electrode structure Panasonic achieved a 15% increase in luminance efficiency providing equal image brightness with less power. Higher speed phosphors also increase energy efficiency along with a reduction in decay time resulting in sharper images when viewing 2D and 3D content during motion sequences.
The slimmer rib structure produces a wider aperture meaning a higher percent of surface area is lit up with the 2011 models.
The improved louver structure of the anti-reflective filter provides better ambient light rejection and deeper black levels (more below).
As part of our TV test regimen, HD Guru measures motion picture resolution using the industry standard 800 pixels per second. The 2010 models tested achieved full 1080 line (per picture height) at this speed. Panasonic’s improvements in its 2011 Neo plasma panels (found in its S, ST, GT and VT series products) will provide full motion resolution with 50% faster motion, (1200 pixels per second) see photo.
2011 Panasonic 3D Neo PDP models (ST30, GT30 and VT30 series) have reduced crosstalk than the 2010 models by changing the sub-pix firing sequence from lowest then highest level to highest then lowest level. See photo above (note: the 2010 Panasonics have the lowest crosstalk [ghosting] of any 2010s we tested)
HD Guru spoke with a Panasonic engineer regarding black levels of its new 2011 series. We were told the 2011 ST series models has black that are at the same level of the 2010 G series which came in .008 ft lamberts.Ã‚Â The new GT30 models have a black level that the same as the 2010 VT series, which we measured at .004 ft lamberts.Ã‚Â The new VT30 models, due to ship this May, will have levels about half of the 2010 VT series, which should put them up against the minimum sensitivity with accuracy of our Konica-Minolta LS100 light meter and into legendary Kuro levels.
Rising Blacks and Floating Blacks
The 2009 V series had rising minimum black levels confirmed by tests performed by CNet’s David Katzmaier A small number of persons on some TV forums claim “floating blacks” occur at times on earlier Panasonic plasmas during changes of average picture brightness levels. HD Guru has not seen this on any Panasonic plasma tested to date.
Due to pending litigation, Panasonic US would not comment on these topics, however, in a meeting last week of European journalists with Panasonic executives, Andrew Everard of whathifi.com (link) writes Panasonic has eliminated the issue with their 2011 models. Here is the quote Ã‚Â ” Oh and by the way Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and for those who obsessively niggle at these things on forums worldwide Ã¢â‚¬â€œ both the rising and floating black problems have been addressed, and are sorted in 2011 models. There’s now no black level shift to compensate for stabilising brightness levels after initial use…”
Kuro Level Black Levels
To date, the Pioneer Kuro plasmas (discontinued in 2009) hold the record for the deepest blacks of a plasma display. Backing up the statement from the Panasonic engineer at the New York City press briefing above regarding black levels, Everard reports from Japan the response from Panasonic’s Mitch Mitsuda regarding if the Panasonic plasmas can reproduce deep blacks like those seen in a 2008 Pioneer press demonstration, Mitsuda said “We can reproduce that in 2011 models’ Ã¢â‚¬â€œ pause Ã¢â‚¬â€œ ‘in a pitch black room’.
Pricing and Availability
Here are the latest retail pricing and release dates for the 2011 Panasonics. For more information on the 2011 Panasonic plasmas, see our article here (link).
Full HD (1080p) 3D Plasma:
- TC-P65VT30 (65-inch class-64.7Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$4299.95-Available May, 2011
- TC-P55VT30 (55-inch class-55.1Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$2799.95-Available April, 2011
- TC-P65GT30 (65-inch class-64.7Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$3699.95-Available May, 2011
- TC-P60GT30 (60-inch class-60.1Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$2799.95-Available May, 2011
- TC-P55GT30 (55-inch class-55.1Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$2199.95-Available March, 2011
- TC-P50GT30 (50-inch class-49.9Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$1899.95-Available March, 2011
- TC-P65ST30 (65-inch class-64.7Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$3299.95-Available May, 2011
- TC-P60ST30 (60-inch class-60.1Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$2399.95-Available May, 2011
- TC-P55ST30 (55-inch class-55.1Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$1799.95-Available February, 2011
- TC-P50ST30 (50-inch class-49.9Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$1499.95-Available February, 2011
- TC-P46ST30 (46-inch class 46Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$1299.95-Available February, 2011
- TC-P42ST30 (42-inch class 41.6Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$1099.95-Available February, 2011
1080p FHD Plasma:
- TC-P60S30 (1080p-60-inch class-60.1Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$1899.95-Available May, 2011
- TC-P50S30 (1080p-50-inch class-49.9Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$1099.95-Available February, 2011
- TC-P46S30 (1080p-46-inch class-46Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$949.95-Available February, 2011
- TC-P42S30 (1080p-42-inch class-41.6Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$799.95-Available February, 2011
720P HD Plasma:
- TC-P50X3 (720p-50-inch class-49.9Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$799.95- Available February, 2011
- TC-P46X3 (720p-46-inch class-46Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$699.95-Available March, 2011
- TC-P42X3 (720p-42-inch class-41.6Ã¢â‚¬Â measured diagonally)-$599.95-Available February, 2011.
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