Many customers out there are having a difficult time choosing the right type of HDTV these days, with the many options of LCD televisions. Plasma TVs have been around roughly the same amount of time, but they are only popular for their larger screens. Choosing a plasma television has its fair share of advantages over LCD televisions and the main one being that plasma televisions can have a better picture quality on a larger display.

Simple yet stylish interface

Simple, yet stylish interface

Panasonic has used this feature to their advantage and launched the VIERA TH-P65VT20D, a humongous 65-inch television that boasts of good blacklight levels, VIERA Cast and last but not least, the very much in demand, 3D compatibility.

Design and Build Quality
To say the VIERA TH-P65VT20D is big is an understatement; it’s monstrous! The 65-inch plasma television is designed for those with really big rooms and who have enough of space to view it from a proper distance. Being a plasma television, this is more bulk as compared to some of the LCD TVs we have seen recently. But, this is all due to the different technologies used in the different types of displays. This HDTV has a glossy finish and a rather large bezel. Though this TV is stylish looking, it is not one of the best looking ones we have seen in recent times. It is intimidating though because of its size.

Quick access side connectors

Quick access side connectors

Quick connectivity options are located on the left side of the television, these include two USB ports, an HDMI port, a SD card and analog AV connectors. In addition to this, there are also controls for switching between the different inputs of the television as well as adjusting the TV display settings like brightness and contrast. The main I/O connections are seen at the rear of the TV. Though these may be located at the back, they are positioned quite close to the side connectors so these too can be somewhat easily accessible. The rear connectors are mainly for component and composite connections. There are also three HDMI ports, an S-Video port and a D-Sub port for connecting to a PC. There is also a Digital Audio Out connector and an Antenna connector which can be used to connect to a standard cable TV. Another interesting addition to this TV is the Ethernet port located at the rear for connecting to VIERA Cast which is Panasonic’s Internet service.

The bundled up 3D glasses are active, stylish and have a futuristic look and feel to it. They are bulkier than some of the glasses in the market and not everyone’s going to like that. Cell batteries are used to power these glasses and are not rechargeable. The build quality of these glasses is impressive. The glasses come with a cord so it can be put around your neck. There are also two attachments to fit on your nose so that  wearing the glasses is comfortable.

Ethernet port located at the top of all the connectors

Ethernet port located at the top of all the connectors

The remote control of the television is well designed. Though it is a slim remote control the buttons are bold. There are quick access buttons on the controller for VIERA Link, VIERA tools and SD card which come in pretty handy when switching between modes.

The stand is really big and it would have to be, to be able to support a television of this size. The base of the stand  is approximately two feet in length and a foot and a half in depth. The base is basically a rectangular flat panel and like the television, it too has a glossy finish. The entire television is really heavy and it would require at least four people to lift it to attach the stand. The stand unlike most televisions does not have a swivel feature. This is one option which we missed as trying to access the rear connections became a cumbersome process due to the weight of this television.

Features
The full HD Panasonic VIERA TH-P65VT20D has some interesting features with the chief being the size of the television itself. Being 65-inches, it is a huge television and only a plasma television would be able to offer these picture qualities as of now in these sizes. Other interesting features of this television are the upscaling of 2D content to 3D, a high contrast ratio and the Panasonic VIERA Cast which helps one to watch Panasonic’s Internet content using a DLNA connection. The television also has a display resolution of 1080p.

VIERA Cast with YouTube and Wow TV

VIERA Cast with YouTube and Wow TV

The 2D to 3D rendering option is a feature becoming quite common in high-end televisions, these days. Many major manufacturers are enabling this feature and offering different modes to view 3D content. We found that the Auto mode was the best option to watch 3D content.

Features Contd.
The Panasonic TV had a high contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1, showing that plasmas have way better black levels as compared to LCD TVs. The interface in VIERA TH-P65VT20D is pleasant looking with all the widgets at the bottom of the screen. Each of these widgets is denoted by an image to describe their function on the widget itself. These widgets include the options to enter VIERA Link control, photo, video, music, 3D, VIERA cast and media server. Through the SD card slot videos, photos and music can be viewed. From the USB port, one can connect a FAT32 drive. However, NTFS drives are not supported thus limiting the add-on storage capacity for viewing media content. We tried connecting four different drives with various capacities, but it did not connect. A message showed up saying that a USB device was connected, but it did not read it.  While viewing pictures a pleasant background music is heard, which adds to the essence of  this HDTV's features.

Ethernet port located at the top of all the connectors

Ethernet port located at the top of all the connectors

Being a Smart TV, this TV can access the Internet to view Panasonic’s VIERA Cast. For Indian audiences, this feature is somewhat limited as there are only a few channels available such as real time access to a Weather channel, Skype, YouTube, Picasa and Wow TV. Skype can be used, but one has to purchase a compatible camera separately otherwise this feature remains redundant. Wow TV is an interesting channel where one can stream full length movies across different genres for a fee or watch small previews of a particular film for free. We also tried the Weather channel and it worked accurately and also in the process of testing we discovered that there was a wide variety of areas to choose from, thus showing the weather of the city one is in. While watching YouTube, the videos played back well and there were no playback issues even after watching multiple video clips.

The settings of this television can be easily tweaked with a remote control as well as the side controls. Overall, the features of this television were quite impressive.

Performance
While testing this television we hooked it up to a Philips Blu-ray player using an HDMI cable and an error popped up on the screen stopping all functions of the TV. The Philips player continued to run, but nothing was showing up on the screen. We tried to make changes using the remote control and by using the manual functions at the side of the screen, but to no avail. We then connected it to an LG Blu-ray player and it worked brilliantly.

A lot of flicker noticed

A lot of flicker noticed

Video playback from the Blu-ray player was a treat to the eyes. The colours rendered were crisp and accurate and the black levels were very high. This television cannot be watched at a really close distance and upon close examination the images looked very slightly pixelated. Overall, playback of the video was amazing. The speakers were really good and even at half volume, the sound quality was good. Jarring was noticed only at very high volumes. Watching Blu-rays on this television will surely be a memorable experience.

Viewing .AVI files, the image output was also really good, as was the case with YouTube videos and Panasonic’s Wow TV using the Ethernet port. The 3D conversion, however was disappointing and apart from the Auto mode, we were not able to view the 2D to 3D converted videos. The remote control performed really well even at a distance of more than twelve feet. Overall, the out of the box settings were the best and there was no actual need for any calibration or tweaking of brightness and contrast levels.

Colours not rendering well

Colours not rendering well

We ran the DisplayMate test to check the true picture quality of this television with settings adjusted for it to look its best. In short, we were not too happy with the results. There was a constant flicker appearing on the screen but  the black levels even after adjusting the brightness were really good. In the color reproduction test, colours were good, however, in greens and pinks, there was colour bleeding noticed. Grey levels are bad and a lot of flickering was noticeable on the top bar. In the pattern test, the last pattern was unnoticeable. All colours are washed out in the first few squares Colour bleeding was noticed in blue and pink in the colour intensity test. In the colour registration test in the centre of the screen the green vertical lines look almost white. However horizontal lines look normal with the green registering well.

In the white level shift test there was a division noticed in the bars with a grey line which was not supposed to be there. In the text colour combination test, all the colours looked faded.

3D and full HD!

3D and full HD!

Verdict
The Panasonic VIERA TH-P65VT20D is priced at a maximum retail price of Rs. 3,79,000. This is a really costly piece of technology, which does deliver some stellar performances, as far as 2D playback is concerned. The ability to play movies through a flash drive, as well as having above par audio quality is something which can be quite enticing. The best feature of this television is the size, that is a thrill in itself. The bundled up active 3D glasses, in addition to looking nice are also really comfortable. This is something we don’t really see with glasses of this variety. The thing that comes into question is the price, 3D rendering and the ability to not support NTFS drives. We feel that at such a high cost, Panasonic could have worked out the latter two issues easily, since there are televisions priced at much lower offering these features.This television would be the most ideal for people who have a big enough house and are looking to invest in a really large screen television. The bottom line is besides being big, it does not offer a lot more in terms of features or quality as compared to LCD televisions that cost a lot lesser.

Publish date: July 16, 2011 5:06 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 8:11 pm

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