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Panasonic VT60: New Reference for Image Quality & Black Levels

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 

This is an exciting month in the world of high-definition television. It's the time for reviews and shootouts and testing all the new models. May 2013 is a particularly exciting time because of the anticipation that a new plasma from either Panasonic or Samsung could beat the famous Pioneer Kuro in terms of overall image quality and, crucially, in terms of deep black reproduction.

 

The Panasonic Viera VT60 features enhanced reds and the deepest black levels yet

photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger

 

CNET recently published a review of the Panasonic VT60 under the headline, "This Panasonic TV has the Best Picture We've Seen." The surprise here is that the company's new flagship—the ZT60—was not the HDTV that dethroned the Kuro as the image-quality champion; instead, it was the step-down model, the VT60. The performance of the ZT60 is still unknown, but as long as it outperforms the model under it, 2013 will see two televisions that beat the Kuro.

Quote:
Of the six TVs in our comparison lineup, it was really a two-horse race between the Panasonic VT60 and the Pioneer Elite Kuro 111FD. While the Pioneer did some things better, the Panasonic had a more impressive picture overall due to its slightly deeper black levels and better shadow detail. So in a way, despite the fact that it's the ZT60 Panasonic is touting as a Kuro-killer, the less expensive VT60 is actually the first TV we've tested to outperform our in-house Kuro. - CNET

 

While the jury's still out on the ZT60, with the VT60, Panasonic presents a new reference for dark-room viewing. According to the new review, the VT60 plasma is superior to CNETs in-house Pioneer Elite Kuro F111. In addition to deeper blacks and superior shadow detail, the review also noted that bright-room viewing was superior with the new panel.

 

This Friday and Saturday, Value Electronics will hold its annual HDTV shootout, and the VT60 and ZT60 will both participate in the contest. If the flagship ZT60 outperforms the VT60, there will be no doubt about Panasonic's claim that its top-tier TVs are "beyond the reference." However, it appears that one can already make the same claim for the VT60. The Pioneer Kuro is no longer the king of black levels or overall image quality. May 2013 marks the beginning of a new era for fans of home theater and plasma televisions. What an exciting month.

post #2 of 64
Nice. smile.gif

A breath of fresh air finally. The fact that the kuro can still hold up, and do a few things better still, is amazing though.

The ZT60 should be even better.
post #3 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saad Ahmed View Post

Comparing this Tv with ASUS CUBE Tv, I guess Asus is the best, anyways everyone has its own opinion.

lol.

The truth shall be out everywhere about these new displays soon. As every year the samething happens it seems.
post #4 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saprano View Post

Nice. smile.gif

A breath of fresh air finally. The fact that the kuro can still hold up, and do a few things better still, is amazing though.

The ZT60 should be even better.

Let's not forget that the Samsung F8500 sets a new precedent for brightness in a plasma, it really is a great year for progress in terms of image quality. Depending on one's needs, there are now three plasma HDTV models that (likely) can outperform the Kuro in one respect or another. 

 

Friday can't get here soon enough!

post #5 of 64
Will not be purchasing either of these plasmas BECAUSE Pansonic refuses to give us this tv - with all the high end video - and not have the STUPID SPY CAMERA and all that other useless garbage stripped from it
post #6 of 64
Well, I'm in a dilemma now on what to buy. Will it be the VT60, the ZT60 or the Sony 4K Ultra HD?
post #7 of 64
What about the 101 or 500M???
post #8 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvfan11 View Post

Will not be purchasing either of these plasmas BECAUSE Pansonic refuses to give us this tv - with all the high end video - and not have the STUPID SPY CAMERA and all that other useless garbage stripped from it

I wasn't aware these have a camera built into them,

Just glue a nickel over it!
post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplerain View Post

What about the 101 or 500M???

Seeing how they measure well below 0.0005, the 9.5G's are still king. smile.gif

Other PQ aspects are still up for debate.

By the way, CNET's full black measurement for thd VT60 is 0.002. The regular 9G's are 0.001. So how does it have better BL's?
post #10 of 64
^They didn't measure it in 96 hz (that seems to be where Chad B found the lower than 9G values)? No mention of that in the review unfortunately.
post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by saprano View Post


Seeing how they measure well below 0.0005, the 9.5G's are still king. smile.gif

Other PQ aspects are still up for debate.

By the way, CNET's full black measurement for thd VT60 is 0.002. The regular 9G's are 0.001. So how does it have better BL's?


Good question! I, too, measured 0.001 fL on a 9G Kuro. 0.002 is very good, but not as good as the 9G (or 9.5G).

post #12 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post


Good question! I, too, measured 0.001 fL on a 9G Kuro. 0.002 is very good, but not as good as the 9G (or 9.5G).

CNET's policy with its HDTV reviews is to only calibrate using controls that are accessible to the consumer—no service menu adjustment allowed. CNET does not test professionally calibrated televisions. In fact, it publishes the settings used in the review so that readers can duplicate them on their own televisions.

 

Is the 9G Kuro capable of such a low black level measurement without professional calibration? If it is not, that provides a possible answer regarding what CNET sees. Admittedly, that put a giant asterisk next CNET's claim that the VT60 beats the Kuro in terms of ultimate deep black level. At least they qualify that claim by saying "that we've seen".

 

Unfortunately the original CNET reviews of the Kuros do not include numerical black level measurements.

 

Quote:
Finally, ignoring the service menu saves me time. I'm basically the only one who reviews TVs for CNET. Adding a service menu calibration would increase the amount of time spent for a review quite a bit, not least because I'd feel obligated to review the TV in both user-menu and service-menu calibrations, to accommodate users who don't want to risk accessing that menu. In a perfect world I'd have enough time to do this, as well as institute other, more in-depth evaluations that I'm sure would please enthusiasts. - CNET reviewer David Katzmaier
 

Edited by imagic - 5/7/13 at 5:04pm
post #13 of 64
The 9G kuros measures 0.001 natively. The 9.5G's measures 0.0005 and a little lower natively. No service menu adjustments needed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinnie97 View Post

^They didn't measure it in 96 hz (that seems to be where Chad B found the lower than 9G values)? No mention of that in the review unfortunately.

Oh, yeah. I forgot about those modes. What did he get with 96hz?
Edited by saprano - 5/7/13 at 5:46pm
post #14 of 64
I believe 0.0008.

EDIT: I checked the review and his meter was incapable of reading the level (too low). The wait for the 96 hz NA black level measurement continues. wink.gif
Edited by vinnie97 - 5/7/13 at 5:54pm
post #15 of 64
I'll still take a good LCD any day of the week. I came from a 8G Kuro and the current batch of plasmas both Samsung and Pana don't even come close to looking Kuro-good. I don't care what anyone says about black levels... I had a VT50 for a couple of weeks and I was very disappointed with it's dim brightness, high frequency flicker, poor white levels and dithering.

1000
post #16 of 64
The VT50 isn't from the current batch of panels. My Kuro has dithering, too.
post #17 of 64
On an unrelated note I think I will sell one of my cars so I can get the ZT60.
post #18 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1000 View Post

I'll still take a good LCD any day of the week.

I agree. biggrin.gif
post #19 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvfan11 View Post

Will not be purchasing either of these plasmas BECAUSE Pansonic refuses to give us this tv - with all the high end video - and not have the STUPID SPY CAMERA and all that other useless garbage stripped from it

Then suck it up and buy a ZT60. The ZT doesn't have a camera and will have even higher end video!
post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinnie97 View Post

I believe 0.0008.

EDIT: I checked the review and his meter was incapable of reading the level (too low). The wait for the 96 hz NA black level measurement continues. wink.gif

This is what i found:
Quote:
Black level was measured in a dark room after a few minutes of running the screen wiper. It measured a superb .00146 in 60Hz mode, and was too low for my meter to read (presumably below .001 fL) in 96Hz mode. In 60 Hz mode, the modified ANSI contrast ratio was 12,067:1 (.00165, 19.91 fL). Peak light output with a 100% full field was an unspectacular 12.12 fL in PB mid, 12.22 fL in PB high. For that test I have obtained readings from a low of around 5 fL from an LG to 23.4 fL from the Samsung F8500.

Yeah so we can assume it gets below 0.001 in 96hz mode. The shootout should have a clear number.

But i don't like that Samsung and Panasonic have to turn on a setting to get the best blacks. It was explained to me why this is done but still. I would rather a display do things naturally.
post #21 of 64
I'm thinking of maybe.. just maybe moving my 65ST60 into the master bedroom, and replace it in the living room with the 65VT60.. biggrin.gif / confused.gif
post #22 of 64
All be damn glad I lived to see the day. Way to go Panny!! Its kinda bitter sweet tho since this is there last plasma model run ever!! Can't wait for shootout to really see if its up to Kuro standards. Wish I could afford a VT60 for my living room but I already have a 50 in 9th generation Kuro there. Think id rather buy a new projector for my theater. Still loved to get one of these.
post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvfan11 View Post

Will not be purchasing either of these plasmas BECAUSE Pansonic refuses to give us this tv - with all the high end video - and not have the STUPID SPY CAMERA and all that other useless garbage stripped from it

LOL

The FBI can spy on me for all I care if the plasma can best my Kuro.
post #24 of 64
And we still don't have the VT60 here in Australia yet, went into JB Hi-Fi today. They don't even have a date for them yet! I really want to see one in action.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvfan11 View Post

Will not be purchasing either of these plasmas BECAUSE Pansonic refuses to give us this tv - with all the high end video - and not have the STUPID SPY CAMERA and all that other useless garbage stripped from it

Put a piece of duct tape on the lens? Don't hook it up to the net? Do you use an internet capable mobile phone with a front facing camera? A webcam built into your laptop?

I hear aluminium hats are also good for your nerves too.
post #25 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by saprano View Post

The 9G kuros measures 0.001 natively. The 9.5G's measures 0.0005 and a little lower natively. No service menu adjustments needed.
Oh, yeah. I forgot about those modes. What did he get with 96hz?

So cnet prematurely hail VT60s blacks? Is it because KRP 500M (Pioneer 101) is unknown to them?
post #26 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvfan11 View Post

Will not be purchasing either of these plasmas BECAUSE Pansonic refuses to give us this tv - with all the high end video - and not have the STUPID SPY CAMERA and all that other useless garbage stripped from it

Quote:
Originally Posted by stickboy2k View Post

I wasn't aware these have a camera built into them,

Just glue a nickel over it!


For 500 more, get a ZT, no camera, no CIA/NSA spying bs, but you get all the good stuff in the panel and processing, done cool.gif
post #27 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris5028 View Post

On an unrelated note I think I will sell one of my cars so I can get the ZT60.

I was thinking of selling one of my kidneys on the black market in order to make it happen tongue.gif
post #28 of 64
I agree with 1000, and I will take my 60" es8000 led-lcd over any plasma (and kuro) that i have seen.

That said, i did see the Samsung F8500 in 60" next to a vt50 in the Magnolia room and it DESTROYED the vt50 so...is the vt60 improved enough to bridge that gap? It will be fun to watch that horse race. IMHO its all about zt60 vs f8500 in plasma land.

Fyi, IMHO the kuro was great, the best image in its day but was always a tad overrated and never worth the bucks. I'm sure this makes me unpopular to say.

Its not just about black..

As an operations manager by day, i never care about popularity.
post #29 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bladerunner1959 View Post

I agree with 1000, and I will take my 60" es8000 led-lcd over any plasma (and kuro) that i have seen.

That said, i did see the Samsung F8500 in 60" next to a vt50 in the Magnolia room and it DESTROYED the vt50 so...is the vt60 improved enough to bridge that gap? It will be fun to watch that horse race. IMHO its all about zt60 vs f8500 in plasma land.

Fyi, IMHO the kuro was great, the best image in its day but was always a tad overrated and never worth the bucks. I'm sure this makes me unpopular to say.

Its not just about black..

As an operations manager by day, i never care about popularity.

 

For many viewers, screen brightness is an important feature to have in a HDTV. I commend the home cinema enthusiasts who reserve a darkened room for a properly calibrated display. There really are a number of variables which can affect an individual's perception of which technology is best, or rather most suitable.
 
The Samsung F8500 probably qualifies as a game changer. Ultimate deep black does not stand alone as a measure of image quality. Great quality is achieved through a combination of factors, and I have come to see that both plasma and LCD can be thought of as the "best" depending on the viewer's needs. But Samsung's new offering apparently offers the best of both worlds, so long as you can afford it.

Edited by imagic - 5/8/13 at 6:02am
post #30 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bladerunner1959 View Post

I agree with 1000, and I will take my 60" es8000 led-lcd over any plasma (and kuro) that i have seen.

That said, i did see the Samsung F8500 in 60" next to a vt50 in the Magnolia room and it DESTROYED the vt50 so...is the vt60 improved enough to bridge that gap? It will be fun to watch that horse race. IMHO its all about zt60 vs f8500 in plasma land.

Fyi, IMHO the kuro was great, the best image in its day but was always a tad overrated and never worth the bucks. I'm sure this makes me unpopular to say.

Its not just about black..

As an operations manager by day, i never care about popularity.

Of course it's not just about black. I don't know who ever said the kuros were only good for blacks. They're not, they're good at alot of things (not perfect of course). Black is always talked about because it defines a picture. And pioneer was the only one who got it that low in 2008.

And your opinion shouldn't make you "unpopular". You don't think the kuro was that good there's nothing wrong with that. But there are many reviews and peoples opinions over the years that back up it's "popularity".

(didn't know TV's even had a popularity contest)
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