Cool, thanks, will give it a go
Lounge: Panasonic TX-P60ZT65B (calibrated), Pioneer SC-LX75, Denon DPB-2012, Sky-HD1TB, PS4, Xbox 360, Apple-TV, Atacama Equinox AV stand, Monitor Audio Silver RX8, RXC, RX-FX, RXW-12. Kitchen: Pioneer XC-HM81, Monitor Audio Bronze BX2. Bedroom: Samsung UE37D6510, Samsung BD-C5900, Sky-HD, Pioneer N-50, Rotel RC-03 (pre-amp), Rotel RB-9708X (power-amp), Mordaunt-Short MS914
Hey, look what's appeared:
Main AV Setup: Panasonic 50VT65 TV, Pioneer Bdp-lx71, Pioneer Vsx-lx70, B&W FPM Series, B&W PV1, Optimum AV300 AV Stand, QED Silver Anniversary XT Speaker Cable & Chord Silver Plus HDMI Cables. Gadgets: iPad Air & iPhone 4S.
4 star review for the ZT was obvious given whats been said already about how close the VT and ZT are in performance.
Doesnt make that a bad telly - just expensive
Meridian G61R, HD621, Bryston 9BSST
Optimised Audio PC - J River / JPlay / Custom Full Linear Power Supply
Panasonic 65VT65, Marantz UD7007, HIFi Racks Podium Reference
Monitor Audio GX100, GXC150, Apex A10, BK XLS400 (set with hard knee house curve)
JCAT USB and Sata, Graham Slee Spatia (SC) Graham Slee Lautus Digital / Analogue IC x 9
Doesnt make that a bad telly - just expensive.
I made a similar argument in the "your opinion" section of the review.
How do you feel about the VT65 now? As you originally planned to buy a ZT, did you make the right decision? (For what it's worth, and having seen both TVs calibrated side-by-side, I think the 65VT65 was the right call.)
On another subject, I'm taking delivery of a pair of 3D3s with the new firmware tomorrow, so I'll have a day to play with them before Jules gets here. TPS will also update my existing glasses' firmware for free, assuming I'm happy with the new 3D3s. I'll let you know what I think.
Hardware: Panasonic TX-P50VT65B (calibrated); Cambridge Audio Azur 651BD; Yamaha RX-A810; Teac PD-H600; PS3; B&W 601 & 600LCR (series 3); Q Acoustics QAV (rear)
Furniture and Accessories: BLOK Classix 3000 Oak AV Cabinet; Atacama Nexus 6 (atabite metal filled); 3D3 A1112
Read the review, have to be honest and say I don't recognise the criticism about "lack of dynamic contrast" - mine is still running and so isn't calibrated yet, but am now running in THX cinema mode (with some tweaks to settings) and there's no issues i can see with lack of contrast relative to my old Kuro.
Also, as the review itself says and as other reviews have noted, the panel performance is very similar to that of the VT range this year, and WHF's own review of the VT made no mention of such an issue; a cynic might suggest they were trying to find fault for the sake of it, to stand apart from the other reviews to date...
No arguement with the key finding though, that given the closeness of the performance the VT is probably a better option from a "bang for bucks" perspective.
First the Oppo review, now this!
Here's what they said about the VT65:
"Let’s cut to the chase: we can’t fault this screen – it’s simply beautiful, and delivers a captivatingly immersive viewing experience.
Detail is sky-high; there are layers upon layers of subtlety here that give the picture a lovely sense of depth and insight. Picture definition, too, is accurate without edges being over-sharpened, and the overall clarity on offer is remarkable.
MORE: Panasonic 2013 TV lineup
The picture is smooth and clean, too: the VT65’s talent with contrast shines through in hard-to-render dark scenes: black levels are velvety deep, with whites punching through. Shadows are never lost, while textures of different materials are fully conveyed.
Hard to reconcile with this for the ZT:
"The caveat, however, is not insignificant. Put simply, the ZT65 isn’t as dynamic as we’d like when it comes to contrast. We’ve devoted a fair bit of space here to eulogising the Panasonic’s facility with black tones, and there’s no doubt that the white shades it delivers are clean and detailed too.
They don’t punch as resolutely as they should, though, and consequently there’s not as much distance between ‘blackest black’ and ‘brightest white’ as we’d like."
It does concur with what other people have said, with that the higher up the range you go the less dynamic the Panasonic are, but if that is the case how can they still be the best? And was WHF expecting it to go brighter than the VT65? Because I am guessing it is not duller?
It'd be interesting to know which picture mode WHF reviewers used. (Perhaps several, though I'm guessing "Normal," as this seems to be WHF's favourite preset when testing Panasonic plasma TVs.)
Of course if the TV was tested using the EBU preset, everything the review said holds true. Switching to another preset would have revealed contrast and brightness performance on par with the VT65 (though not quite on par with the GT60). However, measured ANSI contrast, as reported in several reviews, is almost identical across models, though the ZT65 edges it in terms of MLL.
In my view, all these points are moot, since all of the abovementioned televisions produce brighter images than enthusiasts would ever want; and let's face it, the ZT65 is aimed squarely at the enthusiast market. The overwhelming majority of ZT65 owners will get the TV professionally calibrated (or perform advanced user calibration), and will situate the TV in an appropriate, light controlled environment.
I'm not basing what I say on review data, either. I've seen the TVs side-by-side, fully calibrated, and brightness and contrast levels looked identical.
The "too expensive for little gain" argument is valid. Individual consumers will have to decide if it's worth paying the extra; many have concluded that it's not. I'm not so sure about the "not bright or punchy enough" claim, however.
That's not so true this year. Inevitably, a more aggressive filter means the TV has to work harder to produce brighter images; this is why the VT65 has fans and the GT60 doesn't. Panel size has some influence as well, as the larger the screen, the more power hungry the TV becomes.
Last year's GT and VT plasmas had a luminance cap in Professional modes, but that cap has been removed this year. In other words, the ST50 could go much brighter than the GT50 and VT50, but there's hardly any difference between this year's models.
I honestly don't get why people want brighter images than the VT65 and ZT65 can produce. I can set my VT65 to uncomfortable contrast levels and certainly wouldn't look to approach the maximum contrast setting. 3D is another matter entirely, but I don't think the ZT65 was marked down on that basis alone. Very high contrast levels have a detrimental effect on picture quality anyway, as whites are clipped and the picture becomes unstable.
Would echo that, was watching 'Bait' last night streamed on Apple TV (let's leave the debate about the film itself for another time), and the brightness of the image in the early scenes in the supermarket aisles was so pronounced I incurred the wrath of Mrs M for bringing up the settings menu and dialling down the contrast - hard to see how there could be a pronounced need for more under normal viewing conditions. Can't comment on the 3D performance as haven't tried that yet, but that wasnt the main motive for purchase anyway; basically wanted a larger screen than my 50" Kuro, with equivalent or (if possible) slightly better PQ, that would be good for another 4-5 years (as long as I've had the kuro), and on that criteria I'm pretty happy so far.
I think your getting their review wrong - Every WHF review and star rating is bang for buck - for only 5" less size you get almost as good for £1400 less - considering both at retail prices. Thats a lot of money - thats half of the cost of the 55VT. Thats causing them to rate it down to 4 star - bang per buck. However as I said that doesnt make it a bad TV - not by a long stretch. They can be brutal in the star ratings at times
I am glad that I bought the 65" - it doesnt even seem big to me anymore and its only been 2 weeks, so I always say to people buy as big as you can as you will always want bigger and the bigger it starts the longer it will be with you most likely. I am sure I would have been happy with the ZT just as much though.
I set contrast to 29.5 ish FTL - which is the max apparently the ZT Does so that would have been fine for me.
I have seen other reviewers run silly high contrasts on 65VT reviews - they must want retina burn - however maybe that is what the WHF team like - a really bright image thats give the image false pop if you ask me.
Totally understand, and would accept, the WHF criticism (and loss of a star) on the value for money front - this is subjective of course, but if the VT gives 90% of the performance for 60% of the cost its hard to argue. Just take issue with the inconsistent position around contrast perorrmance though, given that both sets run basically the same panel - how can one be praised for having whites that really "punch through" while the other is claimed to have a serious drawback in the failure of whites to punch through?
As I noted above, the punch-per-pound argument is entirely valid; but if this was the basis for the star rating, why not place this observation up front in the review? As it reads currently, comparison with the VT65 is almost an afterthought. Far more is made of the ZT65's apparent lack of dynamic contrast.
In other words, I'm not sure the star rating is based exclusively on "value," as reviewers voice other complaints quite strongly and thoroughly.
Would agree with their point about speakers though, why any manufacturer would include speakers on a TV of £2k+ is a mystery (arguably £1.5k+), as surely anyone buying a TV at that price point will have some form of separate speaker system - why not omit the speakers and either drop the price point or include more picture processing/panel manufacturing standards for the same price point?
Manufacturers might believe that doing so is maintaining profit margins, but if your targeting a specialist customer base then why not give them more PQ for the money, rather than make them pay for redundancy in terms of components they'll never use?
If premier screen manufacturers are struggling for volume then maybe some alternate thinking might be in order.
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