I think these are all extremely minor issues that will only disturb the most unforgiving of videophiles. If pushed, I'm still not sure I can pick a winner this year. Perhaps I'll have a clearer sense after the event on Sunday.
But perhaps you might be just as undecided after Sunday!
Maybe, but since I have a 50VT65 already, I'll likely say job done and leave it at that.
I'd need to leave the event convinced the Samsung is a clear winner before making any change. If it's a tie I'll stick with what I've got.
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
I'm going to the Leicester event on Sunday, so I'll report back.
I spent half an hour with the F8500 today and I was very impressed. It beats the latest Panasonics in some areas, but can't quite match the VT65 for black level.
Subjectively assessed, I found the F8500 more capable in terms of motion. (Panasonics resolve more detail during camera pans, but there's a fluidity to the Samsung's 50Hz images that arguably all Panasonics lack).
There's also a precision to the F8500's images that's appealing. The ZT65 bests the F8500 in terms of black level, but the differences between the two seemed very small, admittedly under shop lighting. (I switched both TV's out of Dynamic mode and into THX/Movie mode respectively).
I left the store wondering if I'm a Samsung man after all. If you rarely watch TV in a dark room, there's a very strong case for buying the Samsung.
I will have to try the Samsung in those modes.
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.
The Samsung doesn't have a THX mode (I was referring to the Panasonic there), only a Movie preset.
Switching the Samsung to Movie mode and turning motion processing options off made a lot of difference. It really is an excellent TV and Samsung has made quite a leap forward this year, as evidenced by the HDTV Shootout result.
Quick update after the Leicester event.
Without going into great detail, the VT65 looks the best option this year. Differences between the ZT65 and VT65 are negligible. In my view, a 65" VT makes more sense than a 60" ZT. I think most people there agreed.
The Samsung F8500 gives the Panasonics a good run for their money, producing a sharper and cleaner image, but the difference in black level is apparent and the Panasonics edge it.
If you own a 9th generation Pioneer or KRP, you won't notice much of an upgrade. The Pioneers still beat the Panasonics for black level, though the Panasonics have a cleaner image and drag up more detail.
If I owned a 9th generation Kuro or KRP, I'd keep it, unless I wanted a bigger screen. The Panasonics offer a few advantages, but are still behind the Pioneers in other areas.
Just for Son_of_SJ -- I couldn't choose which material we watched. We watched some of The Dark Knight Rises, and I didn't see any brightness pops. I'm sure they're evident with some material, as widely reported.
Finally, I got to see LG's 84" 4K LED in action. I didn't like it so much; and 1080p content upscaled to 4K looked like, well, 1080p content on a 1080p screen. In other words, the upscaling process works well, but with so little native 4K content around, I couldn't see the point.
Thank you very much for the quick report, strapped for cash! You've provided enough detail to anwer my main questions. From the specifications, I suspected that it might be very close between the ZT65 and the VT65. You were also in a position to comment on the black levels, which is a fairly big point with me for any new telly that I might buy, so the 65VT65 is the best that I can do.
Interesting that the last generation Kuro still rules for absolute black levels, and are still competitive with the new Panasonics overall, four or five years after the last Kuros first went on sale. I never thought that I would ditch mine any time soon, so this confirms it. That makes the comment on AVForums ZT review "Time to put those Kuros on eBay guys" sound like not such wise advice. One person on the AVForums actually sold his faultess Kuro 5090 in anticipation of the new Panasonic plasmas. Bet he now wishes he hadn't (unless he wanted a bigger screen).
Thanks again for the report, strapped!
Click here to read about my system
Differences between the ZT65 and VT65 are negligible. In my view, a 65" VT makes more sense than a 60" ZT...
...The Panasonics offer a few advantages, but are still behind the Pioneers in other areas..
Evening strapped, can you expand on the above a little?
Am an interested party as you know, but still no delivery date on the ZT65. Had previously ruled out a 65" but if the differences between the ZT and the VT are that marginal then there's always room for thought.
Keeping in mind there's still no burning reason to change the 5090 other than the "nice to have" of a larger screen size (am sitting here as I type thinking 'if its not going to be better, why am I changing??').
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
So when Panasonic advertised the ZT65 as "Beyond the reference", with that reference being to the ninth generation Pioneer Kuro, it now seems that that was not entirely true!
Do people maybe get too 'cuaght-up' when it comes to black levels ?
I have my old Pana in my bedroom (px70, old lounge tv) ) and use it at times for pc and the very odd bluray watch... blacks look brilliant tbh.
The tv downstairs in the lounge is the Sammy in my sig... blacks look brilliant..... what's with all the talk about black levels then ? People don't get a certain tv because some gaget show that it has a slight advantage on its scale do they ? IF this IS the case then it must be time to ....
Lounge : Samsung PS51E6500, Sony BDP S790, Virgin media XL, Onkyo TX-SR508,
Tannoy Arena 5.1 with stands.(http://www.techradar.com/reviews/audio-visual/hi-fi-and-audio/hi-fi-and-av-speakers/tannoy-arena-96472/review)
Bed : Panasonic PX70 and a Sony BDP-370 Blu ray Player.
So far :)
Whether the VT65 is "better" than the 5090 is quite subjective. If you believe, as many do, that black level is the only (or at least most important) aspect of picture quality, then it's difficult to look past Pioneer. The 6090 on display arguably just shaded it, but we weren't watching in a completely dark room. I didn't get to see the KRP, as it wasn't set up yet and I had to leave (family do). However, since the KRPs could produce blacker blacks than the ninth gen Kuros, I assume the argument for keeping the TV if you're a lucky owner becomes even stronger.
Both VT65 and ZT65 produced a cleaner and more detailed image than the 6090; but overall the differences between all calibrated plasmas on display were relatively small. Personally, I wouldn't trade a Pioneer in for a new Panasonic or Samsung because you'd be getting more of the same rather than a noticeable leap in quality. If you want a larger screen, however, and I understand entirely that many do, the Panasonics start to look attractive. So does the Samsung F8500. What it's missing in terms of overall black level (which to be honest isn't much) is made up for by a cleaner picture than both the Pioneers and Panasonics.
The ZT65 looked marginally more detailed and stable to than the VT65 under very close scrutiny, but the differences were so marginal that I'd struggle to justify the extra money.
Again, it depends how you want to look at it. If we're only talking about black level, I agree that the ZT isn't "beyond reference." Indeed, the numbers told us this before the TVs were lined up side-by-side.
Taking all aspects of image quality into account, it's incredibly difficult to pick between the Pioneers, the latest Panasonics, and the Samsung F8500. Each has their unique selling point and I wouldn't argue with anyone picking one TV over the others.
In short, the only way to decide is to see the TVs in action yourself and decide what's most important to you. The competition has never been closer.
You are a wise man! I'll wait until I see the latest Panasonics and the 64" Samsung F8500, but at present I'm inclining towards a 65VT65. Mind you, I was in John Lewis yesterday and saw the 51" Samsung F8500. It was showing only a demonstation feed, but I have to say, even under shop lights the picture did look good, really good. It's just a shame about the stupid stand!
Sounds like you had a good day, nice one. I agree Panasonic's have more detail and a cleaner image, I found with some Blu-rays this made their blacks look better too. With the level and how it looks I am talking about two different things here. I found some the Pioneer had the edge in picture quality and some my GT50 had the edge.
How did they all perform in the brightness department? Cheers. I guess they were all calibrated too?
Interesting review of the ZT here (apologies if its been posted before, only just come across it), which includes references to the VT:
In short, they reckon the only discernible difference is that the ZT maintains its contrast better in bright rooms, and that in a dark room there's nothing between them.
Does that chime with anyone's experience who went along yesterday?
I was in John Lewis yesterday and saw the 51" Samsung F8500. It was showing only a demonstation feed, but I have to say, even under shop lights the picture did look good, really good. It's just a shame about the stupid stand!
I like the stand! Though I understand certain objections. Unless you're wall mounting, you need an AV rack at least as wide as the F8500.
All TVs were calibrated. In my view they were all plenty bright enough. Another way of putting this is to observe that all TVs were capable of producing brighter pictures that I'd ever want or need.
Incidentally, the figures I posted for the ZT a while back are only true of the EBU picture mode. The TV struggles in terms of brightness using this picture Preset, but calibrated using the Professional modes, the VT and ZT are just as bright as each other.
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