Panasonic TH-85VX200 review

The ultimate 3D display is as expensive as it is vast

Panasonic TH-85VX200B
Out of the price range of us mere mortals, the TH-85VX200B is a showcase of what Panasonic engineers can do when let of the pricing leash

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Panasonic th-85vx200b

If you own a TH-85VX200B and haven't already tooled yourself up with a 3D-capable Blu-ray player and Sky HD receiver, then do so immediately, for it is mind-blowingly good in three dimensions.

First of all, of course, there's the sheer size of its images. Having the world of Avatar splayed across an 85-inch screen enables you to get lost in the action more completely than any other 3D system bar a projection screen.

Of course, an 85-inch screen leaves no hiding place for crosstalk noise, so it's just as well that there's practically none to speak of from any source.

There is no overstating how important this is to the success of the TH-85VX200B's 3D pictures, as it makes them look instantly more natural, more watchable over long periods of time, more detailed and sharper.

Also very important about the TH-85VX200B's 3D pictures is their brightness. For this screen is capable of kicking out some pretty serious light levels, which proves invaluable in combating the quite marked brightness-reducing impact of Panasonic's active shutter glasses. As a result, colours look palpably richer – especially during dark scenes – than they do on Panasonic's consumer 3D screens.

This might perhaps have something to do with the TH-85VX200B's 'Pro' status not requiring the screen to be as tightly limited in terms of power consumption as Panasonic's consumer TVs are.

The overall result of the practically absent crosstalk, enhanced brightness and sheer size of the TH-85VX200B's 3D image is a mesmerising experience that should convert all but the most die-hard 3D detractors.

One little oddity in 3D mode, when the screen is working unusually hard, is that there's quite a bit of green dotting noise over black parts of the picture when you take your glasses off, but as these all but disappear with your glasses back on, it's nothing to get hung up on.

If you can drag yourself away from the TH-85VX200B's unprecedented 3D images, you'll discover some outstanding 2D pictures. This is especially true with HD sources, as the screen's inherent sharpness joins forces with a terrific contrast performance in reproducing every solitary pixel of detail from favourite Blu-rays. And you can appreciate these details and HD's inherent crispness all the better on an 85-inch scale.

The TH-85VX200B also delivers outstanding black level response, possibly getting even slightly deeper, in fact, than Panasonic's VT20 consumer screens. What's more, these inky blacks are not in the least bit forced or hollow; thanks to the screen's surprisingly good brightness output, even the darkest corners contain the sort of shadow detailing necessary to give them a sense of depth that fits naturally with the depth apparent – even in 2D mode – during bright scenes.

Motion looks more natural without Panasonic's Intelligent Frame Creation processing in play than it does with Panasonic's consumer models, too, and colours are punchy, subtly blended and, above all, natural.

You might expect standard-definition pictures to look pretty shoddy when asked to fill a full HD 85-inch screen, but such is the quality of the TH-85VX200B's video processing that it scrubs up acceptably well. There's a slightly soft look to things, but tones remain accurate and noise is well suppressed.

Add to the list of great TH-85VX200B picture features a much wider viewing angle than you'd get with any LCD TV and a completely consistent black level right across the screen's enormous area and you really do have a terrific AV experience.

While undoubtedly brilliant the TH-85VX200B is not quite perfect, though.

The wonderful 3D experience, for example, is very nearly undermined by Panasonic's dismal glasses. As well as cutting out more brightness than most, they are too narrow, meaning many people will have to perch them right at the end of their nose so that they 'fit' over the screen properly.

This makes them uncomfortable to wear and worse, it allows ambient light in your room to get between the lenses and your eyes, reducing the impact of the 3D experience.

Another more general issue not connected with the 3D tech finds small colour seepage around very bright lines during camera pans when watching 50Hz sources – though this goes if you employ the Intelligent Frame Creation system.

Another issue is that pictures can look a touch 'fizzy' if you sit too close to the screen, especially if you've got the brightness set high. High brightness settings – which are really only recommended for 3D viewing – can also cause the screen to emit a slight hum, presumably because some cooling fans are kicking in. Anyone using an external sound system alongside their TH-85VX200B is unlikely to notice this, though.

Another 'issue' that's not really the TH-85VX200B's fault is that the sheer size of its screen does highlight the quality 'gap' between full HD 3D as delivered by suitable Blu-rays and lower-resolution 3D as delivered by Sky's platform. But that's not to say that some of Sky's broadcasts don't still look very compelling in 3D, especially given the other strengths the screen portrays.

The TH-85VX200B additionally struggles to produce a really convincing pure white colour (instead there's a rather warm, yellowish tone to bright whites).

Don't get too caught up on the various flaws, though; the TH-85VX200B's overall performance should render you largely indifferent to the glitches.

John Archer
AV Technology Contributor

John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.