I thought it might be interesting to give my observations of the ZT60 that I saw tonight at the Engadget show (thanks Robert & Wendy for the invite, MUCH appreciated!). I apologize if some feel this is inappropriate in this thread, but I know there must be others besides me that are looking at both the 8500 & ZT60 for their next display. So here's what I saw and I disagree on a few points with digitaltrends:
From what they showed, unlike digitaltrends, there's no way I could say definitively 'best TV ever'. Not in that setting. It may be true, but then again it may not be.The only comparison was to a Pioneer Kuro that sat alongside the ZT. Would have been nice to have an F8500, the real competition today to the ZT60.Black Levels
-Although the speaker said the black levels matched the Kuro, it was very clear to me the black levels were still a bit better on the Kuro. No question. Robert agreed. But the Kuro's blacks had the common Kuro 'red tinged blacks' whereas the ZT was neutral. My Kuro also had a bit of a red tinge with its blacks. Don't get me wrong, there wasn't a big difference, but I thought it was pretty funny that he said the blacks measured the same and yet it was clear the Kuro blacks were better and showed, I thought, quite clearly on fades to black as well as a couple of other scenes. I spoke to a couple of other people and everyone agreed. I even thought my Elite had better black levels than anything I saw here. Again, the ZT60's black levels were excellent, they just didn't appear quite as dark as the Kuro's.Shadow Detail
-Where the ZT60 was clearly better was in shadow detail. The ZT extracted detail in shadows that were essentially invisible on the Kuro. Very nice.Color
-So here's another point and it's all too common in these manufacturer A/Bs (and why Robert's shootouts are SOOO much better!). I thought my Pro 151 looked better than the Kuro they had in this comparison. The colors on the ZT60 looked very saturated by comparison to the Kuro. But why did it seem the Kuro's colors were somewhat DEsaturated. Never saw that on mine. Hmm. Saturation and colors on the pale side were never a characteristic of my ISF'd Pro 151. I don't think this aspect of the A/B was accurate, at least not IMO. I think the press, depending on what they want to see, can be fooled more easily than some of us.
impressive were the reds compared to the Kuro and the prior gen Panasonics. They were probably
the best reds I've seen. But even there, without seeing other displays next to it like the 8500, there's no way I could say definitively 'best reds ever in video'. They were 'redder' than the Kuro, but again, I'll bet the bank the Kuro was not properly adjusted. But my gut reaction were these were really excellent reds. Best ever? Maybe, but I wouldn't swear to it. The ZT60 can utilize the DCI color space. This broadens the color palette, but doesn't conform to Rec709. But it does look good. Colors are deeper and richer. They're just not accurate per Rec709. But if you had DCI type content, it could be utilized.Motion Handling
-The motion handling was excellent and obviously better than the Kuro. Their demo for this consisted of 'stitched' still pictures, rapidly panning across the screen. But, I could see they were playing 60p material, not 24p, at 38mps (a very high bitrate you don't see on broadcast). The material at 60p was not particularly demanding for motion and I asked if they had any 24p content like a Blu Ray, so we could see a more demanding test of motion handling. He said he had only the material on the hard drive. So the test tells us nothing about how it will handle 24p motion. I can see it handles 60p better than a 4 year old Kuro, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything relative to 24p, let alone more modern displays.Brightness
- I asked how it compared in brightness to the previous generation of Panasonics since that's been a key advertising point. He didn't know the answer. I thought that was a bit odd. Demoing the premiere display in your line, that advertises greater brightness than any previous Panny model, yet we have no idea how much brighter? There was certainly nothing in the A/B that indicated anything about its brightness capabilities. The lights were turned on after the dark room demo to show that it can handle bright room light. The only problem was, there were only a couple of lights that resulted in an ambient lighting that was considerably dimmer than a typical Magnoloa.
I don't mean to sound cynical, but I approach A/Bs of this type, a bit skeptical. I certainly thought this was a beautiful display that was a real head turner. But is it better than an F8500? If so, how much better and in what areas? Is it even as good as an F8500? I can honestly say that none of these questions were answered for me. Maybe for digitaltrends, but not for me. I'll wait for Robert's shootout for a more accurate A/B. Or in the case of the shootout, an A/B/C/D/E/F/G...........
At any rate it's still certainly in contention for me along with the 8500. Nothing changed as the result of tonight...for me.