Panasonic TX-P65VT50B review

Say hello to 65 inches of home cinema heaven

Panasonic TX-P65VT50 review
Editor's Choice
The Panasonic TX-P65VT50 produces 65 inches of excellent black colours

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Obviously the most instantly attractive thing about the Panasonic TX-P65VT50 is its sheer size. Its 65-inch screen will strike an ecstatic chord with anyone who's remotely serious about watching films or great sporting events.

Some people might not like the way the set's slightly wide frame doesn't seek to minimise the screen's already considerable impact on whatever room it's in, but let's be fair: 65 inches of plasma chambers and glass can't just be hung in thin air!

The Panasonic TX-P65VT50 is as strong as you would expect a flagship TV to be when it comes to connections. Four HDMIs should satisfy the needs of even the most ambitious AV system, especially since they're built to the 3D-friendly v1.4 specification.

And multimedia fans are extremely well served too, thanks to a combination of three USBs, an SD card slot and DLNA streaming via LAN cable or integrated Wi-Fi.

Panasonic TX-P65VT50 review

The Panasonic TX-P65VT50's file handling isn't totally comprehensive, but it's hard to imagine a situation where anyone would struggle to work with the video, photo and music formats that are supported.

You can also record to either USB or SD card from the Panasonic TX-P65VT50's tuners. And when we say "tuners" plural, we mean it. Unusually in today's television marketplace, the Panasonic TX-P65VT50 sports a Freesat HD tuner alongside the more common Freeview HD one.

With Freeview now available across a much greater chunk of the UK than it used to be, the Freesat tuner isn't quite as useful as it once was, perhaps. But it's still a choice we don't mind finding on a high-end TV such as this one.

The LAN/Wi-Fi connectivity on the Panasonic TX-P65VT50 inevitably additionally taps you into a selection of online content courtesy of Panasonic's Viera Connect platform. This is growing nicely into quite a rich experience, incorporating a good variety of video, gaming, social media and information apps.

Panasonic TX-P65VT50 review

Highlights on the all-important video side include Eurosport, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Acetrax and Fetch TV, while social media fans will appreciate the provision of Twitter, Facebook and Picasa.

Gamers are unusually well served too, thanks to some truly superior, console-like efforts (Asphalt 5 and Let's Golf 2) from Gameloft that leave the efforts of most other game apps looking positively archaic by comparison.

Also earning a positive notice is the Viera Marketplace - a well-presented online shop where you can buy TV hardware (joysticks, keyboards, weighing scales and even, eventually, a special treadmill to make your friends jealous) as well as premium apps.

There still isn't as much content overall as you get with the latest online services from Samsung, LG and Sony. Lovefilm is a particularly aggravating absentee. But the service is one of the most stable around, which counts for a lot.

Panasonic TX-P65VT50 review

Making all the Panasonic TX-P65VT50's extensive multimedia tools even more fun to use is the multitasking made possible by the dual-core processors sitting inside the Panasonic TX-P65VT50's enormous frame. You can have up to six different apps open at once, and switch between each one easily.

The heavy duty processors at the Panasonic TX-P65VT50's heart also play their part in its potential picture quality, promising to improve the speed at which the TV set can apply its picture processing algorithms to the image.

This should make the television's motion processing in particular superior to the versions found on other Panasonic sets, but might also reap benefits when it comes to upscaling standard definition, reproducing colour blends smoothly (the TV claims a huge 24,576 steps of gradation) and reducing noise levels.

The presence of 2500Hz sub-field driving also promises to greatly reduce the judder issues often seen with plasma TV technology, as well as boosting images' general richness and stability.

Panasonic TX-P65VT50 review

Then there's the special filter Panasonic has built into the TX-P65VT50's glass in order to deliver its best ever contrast performance. The number Panasonic attaches to this is a phenomenal contrast ratio of 6,000,000:1 - and this is a native figure, not one that's dependent on the sort of brightness-adjusting antics required by LCD TVs to deliver a good contrast performance.

The Panasonic TX-P65VT50 is, as you would expect of a flagship TV, equipped with active 3D playback. And unlike any other TV series in Panasonic's latest plasma range, it comes with two pairs of active shutter glasses included for free.

The last thing to discuss here is the amount of picture controls Panasonic has built into the Panasonic TX-P65VT50. Colour balances, gamma levels, white balance elements and even the intensity of the plasma cells themselves can all be adjusted - along with the power of the set's noise reduction and motion processing routines.

Not surprisingly this has led to the TV being endorsed by the Imaging Science Foundation, which can send an engineer round to calibrate the TV's images so that they're perfect for your room conditions.

That's not the only third-party endorsement the Panasonic TX-P65VT50 enjoys, either. It's also received the seal of approval from quality assurance outfit THX, which has also contributed a couple of carefully calibrated picture presets. The Bright Room setting is particularly helpful, and shows a welcome willingness on THX's part to acknowledge the usually quite bright real world conditions that most people watch their TVs in.

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.