I owned The VT60 65" for almost 60 days before returning to best buy. It was a great TV for blu-ray movie watching in a completely pitch black dark room.. The shadow detail and blacks are still a notch above the F8500 in that type of environment but in all reality for my viewing environment day/night the F8500 is alot better. My living room has alot of big windows even when the blinds were closed the light coming in could easily be seen on the VT reflecting back with a mirror like reflection and would cause the picture to wash out due to the windows/light.. The whites on the VT were always dirty and to me not accurate and vibrant especially during the day. I am sure the ZT60 is a great set due to the same type of filter technology that is used on the F8500 however it has already been proven that ZT is less bright then the VT which would not help my situation . For me the F8500 looks best with kevin Miller settings using Movie, Warm 1 for day and Warm 2 for night at 17 cell light . Increasing the brightness on the F8500 to a cell light of 20 does not ruin the picture but to me only decreases the blacks slight but giving it LED type pop. Since the F8500 has a higher light output then the VT/ZT it also looks alot better when gaming and gives video games a LED like picture with amazing contrast , sharpness while maintaining great viewing angles. I had the chance to plug in settings at Pauls TV show room i mentioned above on the F8500 and used THX bright room on the VT and not only was the F8500 looking better then every LED on the floor and F8000 65/75" LED but clearly shows that the filter was better on the F8500 on any TV on the floor as well.
When i first bought my VT60 I used both vibrant settings on the F8500/VT which was not clearly the way to make a determination when purchasing a TV. Unfortunately I made my determination by reading reviews on here and CNET and did not take into consideration samsung smart hub or filter. I did not know the VT/ZT60 had 2 fans . The F8500 has a slight buzz when you stick your head behind the tv but isnt as bad as my old 60" ST30 which was louder . When the volume is off I can browse the smart hub without hearing fans like the VT60 which to me was not annoying but like a white noise but was noticeable and feel that to enjoy smart hub or any kind of smart tv device your tv should be close to silent. When you are watching Tv on low at 3am who wants to hear a white noise fan .. not me anyway.
We are in 2013 and I think Panasonic should of had this resolved a long time ago that TVs need to be silent. Smart hub on the F8500 to me is way more advanced when it comes to applications and menu layout/functionality vs any Panasonic plasma. Applications are easier to use and look better believe it or not which made them more enjoyable to use vs the panasonic viera hub. Overall The VT60 smart functions were clunky compared to the F8500 and look forward to seeing more apps come available on the F8500 in the future. The panasonic app store is a joke and I have made the decision to sell my new apple tv even though I own a ipad 4th gen.. The samsung smart hub app on my android phone is alot better then Panasonic app and will just leave it at that..
I had a chance to use both the VT60 camera and the F8500 and I can tell you that F8500 camera looks clearer, brighter and picks up where you are in the room better then the VT. Maybe because my camera sits 6ft from the ground I dont know but the F8500 camera did the job correctly and performed better. I am very happy with the camera on the F8500. The remote on the F8500 is alot better then the VT60 the touch pad is easy to use when browsing through the guide or smart hub. The remote flawlessly linked up with my Denon receiver and comcast box to control both devices. The VT/ZT60 remote is a joke and I did not use the microphone function at all. The F8500 is microphone software is smarter and reminds me of google android microphone smart software on androids jellybean. The motion control is freak en awesome innovation and for me works flawlessly with so many ways to control a TV its a nice improvement over the pansonic line.
I also use a USB hard drive directly connected to the F8500 to watch any type of movie, Divx, MKV, AVI, MPEG , MKV with DTS and it decodes them all flawlessly again. It is so awesome to see the movie preview in a box and once again the panasonic smart hub or whatever it is called is a joke and does not work properly with movie files. I did like the VT60 stand since my center speaker is now having to be pushed off to the side due to the stand design on the F8500 but this is just a minor set back . The positive on the F8500 bezel design is the titanium gray bezel which blocks out any reflection unlike the VT/ZT60 which is clearly like a mirror like glass that made my situation worse especially with recess lighting. Dont get me wrong the pansonic bezel looks great and the build quality looks cooler and richer but for my situation I needed more light to be adsorbed as this TV was not in a basement or an apartment with little windows. One last thing D-nice mentioned in the 2013 HD shootout the F8500 brightness improvement would only show on some content like apple commercials.. Well after watching several other content i.e. commercials HD content the whites along with the contrast and detail to me popped alot more then the VT that had pure white backgrounds. Even the white lettering on a pure black background are bright and pure while the blacks maintain that inky look which the VT did not do.
I am sure the VT/ZT is the new reference supposedly but the F8500 clearly looks better in my environment and the positives outweighed the negatives versus the VT/ZT. I did not see brightness pops, floating blacks as others have mentioned and also would like to mention 3D looks better with a positive going to samsung for providing 4 pairs glasses. Who wants to purchase more glasses? I would never even attempt to watch 3d during the day with the blinds closed on the VT60 but now is actually watchable on the F8500 with blinds open. Probably due to the increase in brightness ABL and filter... The 1080p 3D does look better on the F8500 unlike the VT/ZT which uses tricks to display 3d at 1080p from what i am hearing is not full 1080p.
Panasonic/Sony have some work to do if they are going to compete with Samsung in the OLED arena as it is already a known fact that Panasonic was in the negative roughly 700 million - Billion last year in revenue while Samsung has made close to billion . R&D clearly shows that Samsung is ahead of the game with all the new innovations/firmware support/smart hub/ABL etc and will continue to provide more improvements in the future. Only time will tell if the F8500 or VT/ZT will have any issues but with a 15 month manufacture warranty and 3 years on square trade making it 4 years I will be satisfied until OLED technology is within the 2-3k range at 65" or larger until a upgrade is needed. Who knows maybe the upgrade able smart hub will be a worthy upgrade to make this TV even more enjoyable to use.