Panasonic ZT60 Plasma at CES 2013 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 366 Old 01-13-2013, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Aside from all the 4K/UHD sets, there were plenty of 1080p displays at CES 2013. Perhaps most impressive was the Panasonic ZT60, the company's new flagship line of plasmas. In a completely blacked-out room within the company's booth, a 65-inch ZT60 was mounted next to a same-size VT50, last year's flagship that was considered by many to be the best flat panel of 2012. They were both set to Cinema picture mode with no other adjustments and displaying the same content from a Blu-ray player through an HDMI splitter. Both looked very good, but it was clear that the ZT60 had better blacks—in fact, it's the first plasma I've seen that rivals the late, lamented Pioneer Kuro in terms of black level.

 

Also plainly visible was the ZT60's expanded color gamut, which is said to be 98 percent of the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiative) gamut. This was especially evident in the reds, which were much more red and less orange than the VT50's reds. I was told that, while earlier models had expanded green and blue, the red phosphor hadn't been capable of similar widening until now, and that the ZT60 and VT60 are the only Panasonic plasmas to have the new red phosphor.

 

When I expressed concern about reproducing Blu-ray or broadcast content beyond the color gamut used to create it, I was reminded that most content, especially movies, is captured using an expanded gamut that is then decreased to Rec.709 for storage and transmission. The ZT60 expands the gamut back out to its original boundaries.

 

To me, this seems to be a somewhat questionable argument, since there's no way to know exactly what color an object should be in the expanded gamut after it has been reduced to Rec.709. Also, the director presumably supervised the color timing for Blu-ray and broadcast, so the colors conform to what he or she intended for those media. On the other hand, Panasonic Hollywood Labs, the company's R&D facility in Los Angeles, has close ties with all the movie studios, so it can make a highly educated guess as to what the colors were in the original gamut.

 

BTW, Sony made essentially identical arguments for its new Triluminos backlighting, which also expands the display's gamut beyond Rec.709. And because Sony has its own movie studio, it can also make a highly educated guess about the colors when the images were originally captured.

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post #2 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 10:59 AM
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Panasonic is the New King! I said it last year when the VT50's were released and came so close to Pioneer in regards to their black levels that I knew 2013 would be the year that black levels finally topped the Kuro sets of 09. Now to get the price on the ZT.

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post #3 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 11:32 AM
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50 inch ZT60? If I'm not mistaken, did they not only announce 60 and 65 inch ZT60 models?
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post #4 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcrice View Post

50 inch ZT60? If I'm not mistaken, did they not only announce 60 and 65 inch ZT60 models?

Oops! That was a typo; I meant to write 60. However, I just called Panasonic to confirm, and they were actually 65-inchers! So I would have been in error even if I had not mistyped...will fix in the text. Thanks!


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post #5 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Panasonic is the New King! I said it last year when the VT50's were released and came so close to Pioneer in regards to their black levels that I knew 2013 would be the year that black levels finally topped the Kuro sets of 09. Now to get the price on the ZT.

Yes, it was very impressive! I'll post the prices as soon as I learn them.


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post #6 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 01:40 PM
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Hi Scott,
I preordered the 65-inch model last Friday and paid $4,100. Thanks for all you do! Love the podcast.
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post #7 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 01:44 PM
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Looks like Panasonic has a second year of winning plasma models to it's credit.

Discussions of blacks (and now reds) are great, but I think a big residual factor in people choosing LED/LCD instead of the usually better Plasma technology, is the notion of the highly reflecting screening.

As a result, I think lots of people who are shopping for a living room panel are under the impression that we can't enjoy Plasma because we have windows in our viewing room. It's be great if AVS could comment on the advances of the various anti-reflection screen coatings on TV's today.

Some of the Plasma Screens I'm seeing today at the stores seem to be reflecting LESS than my five or six years old samsung LN-T4661F LCD... I'm pretty sure that I can get a plasma - but I've kind of been brain washed by the LCD-happy salesmen...

Thanks.
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post #8 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 01:54 PM
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As one who is in the market for a new plasma, I am assuming that a 65VT50 will be able to be had for roughly 2500 or so once the ZT60's hit the market. Will the cost of getting a VT50 professionally calibrated improve the black levels to be on par with the ZT? $4100 is just too steep for me.
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post #9 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 02:00 PM
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Where did you preorder this? I can't find it anywhere. Do you know when the ZT60 will start shipping? I've seen some reports of Feb and some say April/May.

Also does anyone know the exact dimensions? Is it identical to the VT50? Need to know for a wall cutout.
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post #10 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 02:14 PM
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"To me, this seems to be a somewhat questionable argument, since there's no way to know exactly what color an object should be in the expanded gamut after it has been reduced to Rec.709."

This is a very good point and one that popped to mind immediately when I saw the "DCI"gamut "feature". Personally, I'd calibrate the set to conform to REC 709 and forget the extra colors. Mapping REC 709 colors back to DCI ranges is what we in the Computer Science world call "indeterminate" and is generally a bad thing. If they could give you an accurate LUT to plug into some color box, then I'd be interested.
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post #11 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 03:09 PM
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I ordered it from ListenUp in Denver. I was in the market for the VT50, but decided to take the plunge and be a first adopter. I just asked my local dealer to contact his Panasonic rep. It is steep, but if you saw the television I am currently watching, you'd probably ban me from this forum!
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post #12 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 03:11 PM
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I wish they would focus on long term plasma issues like image retention/burn-in and dirty whites.

It's ironic that Panny is providing an expanded color gamut, while not being able to produce a white background found on many simple tv commercials.smile.gif

Works in the traditional man cave, but not in the typical family room environment.
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post #13 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 03:40 PM
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I can't believe it but just maybe, goodbye 50" 111-FD, hello ZT60 in 65"
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post #14 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 04:17 PM
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Gunna be a great line of plamsas! Excited to see a review.

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post #15 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aydu View Post

I wish they would focus on long term plasma issues like image retention/burn-in and dirty whites.

It's ironic that Panny is providing an expanded color gamut, while not being able to produce a white background found on many simple tv commercials.smile.gif

Works in the traditional man cave, but not in the typical family room environment.

There is no such thing as pure white in the TV world. The RGB is only from 16-235 so "dirty white" is correct, "pure white" is incorrect. Besides the "dirty white" of the old days are over. Even the ST50 have accurate white, let alone the GT, VT or even the upcoming ZT.

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post #16 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 05:04 PM
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Calibration will not get black levels down to the newer set. They may improve, if brightness is set too high by default, but you can't calibrate a set into doing what it is not capable of doing.
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post #17 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by erkq View Post

"To me, this seems to be a somewhat questionable argument, since there's no way to know exactly what color an object should be in the expanded gamut after it has been reduced to Rec.709."

This is a very good point and one that popped to mind immediately when I saw the "DCI"gamut "feature". Personally, I'd calibrate the set to conform to REC 709 and forget the extra colors. Mapping REC 709 colors back to DCI ranges is what we in the Computer Science world call "indeterminate" and is generally a bad thing. If they could give you an accurate LUT to plug into some color box, then I'd be interested.

 

I'm all in favor of deeper blacks. But assuming DCI gamut is larger than Rec. 709, then why not save folks some trouble and include modes for both DCI and Rec. 709?

 

I don't get this reluctance to conform to Rec. 709 by mfrs. Why bother developing such standards when nobody's willing to conform?


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post #18 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Ferguson View Post

I ordered it from ListenUp in Denver. I was in the market for the VT50, but decided to take the plunge and be a first adopter. I just asked my local dealer to contact his Panasonic rep. It is steep, but if you saw the television I am currently watching, you'd probably ban me from this forum!

With pricing not being finalized, will you have to pay the difference if it comes out at a higher retail or is ListenUp going to take the hit?

Though I am an employee of Magnolia Home Theater, the views and opinions I express on this forum are those of my own and not my employer.
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post #19 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 07:18 PM
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With pricing not being finalized, will you have to pay the difference if it comes out at a higher retail or is ListenUp going to take the hit?

Great question and Craig's answer will provide valuable info to the community imo.
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post #20 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 07:40 PM
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With pricing not being finalized, will you have to pay the difference if it comes out at a higher retail or is ListenUp going to take the hit?
I'm sure they will work with me (and I'll work with them) as they are honest. In fact, they upgraded my unused Oppo BDP-95 to a BDP-105 no questions asked.
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post #21 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 07:54 PM
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I'm sure they will work with me (and I'll work with them) as they are honest. In fact, they upgraded my unused Oppo BDP-95 to a BDP-105 no questions asked.

Keep us in the loop Craig. It looks like they have a nice showroom and clientele.
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post #22 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 07:56 PM
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I'm sure they will work with me (and I'll work with them) as they are honest. In fact, they upgraded my unused Oppo BDP-95 to a BDP-105 no questions asked.

So you essentially made a down payment, as your final price has not been settled yet, correct? Not saying anything bad about the dealer. I have heard good things about them myself. Just wanted to clarify what the "terms" of the pre-order were.

Though I am an employee of Magnolia Home Theater, the views and opinions I express on this forum are those of my own and not my employer.
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post #23 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 07:57 PM
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...
I don't get this reluctance to conform to Rec. 709 by mfrs. Why bother developing such standards when nobody's willing to conform?

+ about a million. JVC's RS1 had a gamut quite a bit larger than REC709 and it was a real pain. It didn't have the CMS tool to reign it in either, so if you wanted good colors out of it (particularly green) you have to buy an outboard CMS! Lumagen, to their great credit, managed to shoehorn a full luminance/saturation/hue CMS into their low-end HDP and gave the upgrade away for free to current users. That saved my day. But what a pain. Why would display makers ever do this in the first place??
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post #24 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Scott,
I preordered the 65-inch model last Friday and paid $4,100. Thanks for all you do! Love the podcast.

Congrats on being among the first to order a ZT60! I'm sure it's going to be spectacular. Of course, you'll have it fully calibrated, yes? And thanks for the kind words!

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post #25 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 08:31 PM
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If the 65" is over $4,000, which I'm very disappointed to hear, then what's the guess on the 60"? Maybe $3,400?

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$4000.00 for the best TV to date is cheap. Remember what folks were paying for the last gen Kuros years ago? Thousands more for the Kuro, smaller screen sizes, and compared to the ZT60, old school technology and features.
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post #27 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 09:36 PM
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Congrats on being among the first to order a ZT60! I'm sure it's going to be spectacular. Of course, you'll have it fully calibrated, yes? And thanks for the kind words!
I'm sure I will have it calibrated once it's broken in. I have an optimal room for a plasma. I'll keep you updated.
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post #28 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 10:20 PM
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I'm sure I will have it calibrated once it's broken in. I have an optimal room for a plasma. I'll keep you updated.

I have my credit card ready...all I'm waiting on is your review now lol

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post #29 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 10:46 PM
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Panasonic has stopped putting R&D funds into Plasma TV line, and focus mainly on OLED technologies.
But there will be some new Plasma models for next couple of years before they stop selling Plasma TVs.
So I guess ZT60 will be one of the last Plasma TV model lines, but no doubt it would still look amazing compare to most other TVs on market today!

Only my Q10.
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post #30 of 366 Old 01-14-2013, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by David Susilo View Post

There is no such thing as pure white in the TV world. The RGB is only from 16-235 so "dirty white" is correct, "pure white" is incorrect. Besides the "dirty white" of the old days are over. Even the ST50 have accurate white, let alone the GT, VT or even the upcoming ZT.
Since 2008 full screen whites have become increasingly more dim. It's not that a plasma can't display stunning whites, the manufacturers just won't give them to us any more.
Here's some photo's I took comparing my old TH50-PZ850U from 2008 to the 2011 TC-P65VT30 that I returned for that very reason. I bought a gently used TH65-PZ850U instead and am very happy with it. The newer plasmas are great if all you watch is dark stuff or sit-coms and talk shows but scenes of snow-capped mountains and light blue skies or images with mostly white backgrounds don't look natural anymore to me.

Which one would you guys rather watch?

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2011 65VT30:
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