please find an update on this set at the end of the review- 16-02-12
Bit of a TV buff, so this may go on a bit-
I have had this TV for about two months now, still bedding in so can only presume the picture will change in the future, if it is possible to get any better that is.
I have the TV connected to a Pionner LX91 Blue Ray Player and a Pionner amp and I watch TV through a virgin TIvo box on HD channels. I sit about 3.5m away from the set for normal viewing and closer for blue ray and 3D
I looked at the Samsung 8000 series before getting this model. The one I viewed had a very good picture, supper bright and sharp. Motion was a bit off though during fast shots and I couldn't help but feel that the blacks looked a bit washed out when viewed in dim lighting. I would say that this range is the only one that comes close to this TV. Sony needs to catch back up, must have been napping in the 2011 development meetings.
The build quality is outstanding. The single sheet of glass looks like one big I pad hanging on the wall. Panasonic have made some changes to the previous models. The power lead is now built into the rear of the panel, meaning that if you wish to feed the lead down internal wall conduit, you will have to cut the plug off. You also get adaptors for the inputs, allowing connections to be made a bit easier. HDMI are on the side, set into the panel. Depending on the type of leads you use, they may stick out. They would have to be very thick though for this to happen.
I have had three other top of the range Panasonics over the years and have seen the picture develop for the better throughout this time. I have never had any of them calibrated by a certified engineer, but I am tempted this time. I think that the picture would be truly outstanding once this has been carried out.
For the time being I am using the THX setting, which gives a bright and punchy picture (in the right lighting). However this setting gives the picture a slight yellow tone, as mentioned by another reviewer. Don't get me wrong the picture is still outstanding and the tone gives the picture warm feel, but it would be nice just to tone this down a bit. On the other sets I have had the THX setting lets you do this, but I can not appear to find the setting on this one.
Also in THX the gamma is just a bit out (touch bright). This appears to be corrected when playing blue rays through the player though,
Other settings are very good, with Cinema giving a good picture but not as punchy as the THX. (bit green) needs calibrating.
Professional setting 1&2 needs calibrating, and I can't do this to the level needed to give it a punchy picture with true reference colour. Messing about with the colours and brightness just doesn't cut it.
I do not use normal as the blacks appear to be crushed and dynamic just looks wrong
There is a True Cinema setting which appears when you use the TV's built in I Player etc. This setting is very good and I would use this more if it was available in other inputs.
BLUE RAY PICTURES
Out of all the sets I have had this is the best. The blacks, the colour's the sharpness all add up to make at truly outstanding picture, and it appears to be getting better the older it gets. No other TV on the market comes close to this other than Samsung 8000 range. Others may be touch sharper (I have a sony which looks sharper) but there is something about the picture which blows you away with the Panasonic. It is shame that the Plasmas look so dull and washed out in the shops; because this is not how they look in lighting you would watch a film in.
CABLE - HD TUNER
TV Tuner looks very good, although gamma is out on the THX setting. I was happy watching the built in HD tuner until I connected the Virgin Tivo box through my amp. The picture is truly amazing. The sharpness is unbelievable and the gamma is corrected giving it a deeper feel. I was going to connect the Tivo box directly to the TV, but it would not let me set it to 1080p in the menu settings. Says it is not a 1080p TV.. think it is Virgin.. So I connected it to the amp which up-scaled it to 1080p.
I didn't get this set for 3D as I had no discs and no interest in getting into 3D . However, since testing this out with my PS3, I have bought the bottom range Panasonic 3D player just to play 3D on. The picture is outstanding and has no cross talk. The picture does go darker with the glasses though and I was tempted to put the setting to normal to brighten the picture up. This would be a shame as the set is THX 3D certified, and for this reason I have left it on THX and set the contrast up on the player instead. This gives a brighter picture, but keeps the colour true. The new glasses which have come out recently are good, but not as bright as they advertise. Very light though. But not that much different to the ones you get with the TV.
Overall I would say cartoons are the best in 3D. (Not including Avatar of course) this is due to the bright picture that they have, and you can set the TV to normal without the picture looking crushed.
Black levels are very good. When the lights are out and screen is switched on you can still see light on the screen, but the black edges blend in very well. On some blue rays you cannot see the edges of the screen at all. Are they as good as the Pionners of past? I would say one more model away yet, although the 65inch version of this TV has reference black levels? I would love a TV which is totally black when viewed in dim lighting, however I don't think this would be possible with present technology. Would like to see Panasonic professional range of plasmas for blacks, but 45,0000 pounds for a plasma is pushing it a bit.
Over all this TV is outstanding and out of all the Panasonics I have had, this has been the best one out of the box . I have not had to mess with the picture as much to obtain a fantastic picture. I would advise that THX is the best setting, once you have adjusted to the slightly warm picture as this setting gives it a more natural picture. I would watch HD through the Freesat tuner or Virgin, sky to get that extra sharpness. Give 3D a try The player I got was 90 pound and I got 2nd hand films to keep cost down.
Just a case of 65 or 55inch,. The 65inch is even better. Sat in front of one, 3m away and it was still watchable. Mmmmmmmmm. wife only said to me the other day I wish it was bigger,!
Had the set now for 4 months. Picture looks amazing still. I am now using the pro 1 setting which I have calibrated myself. I have put the Gamma at 2.4 which looks dark at first but gives the picture a 3d feel and the depth is outstanding. I turned the contrast up to 60, colour 27, brightness 29, sharpness 6. only messed around with other settings a little nothing major. in a dim lit room the picture is truly amazing with the gamma at 2.4, this gives the correct gamma for the set which comes out at 2.2, The more I watched the THX the more washed out I thought it was. No way is the gamma 2.2 like it should be to be passed by THX. Also the picture had a hint of green, I have read over time that the thx mode does get darker and the green drops off. But in the mean time I will stick to pro 1. love this tv. Having had it the wall I would go for the 65 next. cant wait to view the 2012 range. well done Panasonic for sticking with plasma.
The abnormities with the THX setting, mainly the green tint and contrast, have balanced out now. The setting looks very good when playing blue rays and is starting to look how THX should. The black levels are getting darker. The edges around the films blend into the surround on the TV now.