HDTV

Panasonic 65PY700 65" 1080p Plasma HDTV

ARTICLE INDEX

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Introduction

So, the local importer dispatched four people to do the installation to ensure that there would be no problems with this Panasonic 65PY700 65" 1080p Plasma HDTV. It was tight and this display is quite heavy (about 220 pounds) and the combination of a tight space and a heavy display makes for quite a workout.

You don’t quite realize how large this display is until you actually install it. I’ve tested quite a few HDTVs in my day, but I was just amazed at how big this one really is.

Putting the unit on a TV stand is impossible, given that my ceiling is too short to accommodate a display of this size. So, all my testing had to be done with the unit sitting on the floor.

Specifications

  • Design: Full HD Plasma Flat Screen Display, 65" Diagonal
  • Inputs:  3 HDMI, 2 Component, 2 S-Video, 1 Composite, 1 SD, 1 PC
  • Remote:  VieraLink Single Remote
  • Dimensions:  55" H x 64" W x 5.6" D
  • Weight: 220 Pounds
  • MSRP: $6995.95 USA
  • Panasonic

The Design

The first thing I noticed was how simple the display settings are. On the minus side, the menu is too simple for my taste, and all the calibration features are missing.

The screen itself is covered in an extra layer of non-reflective glass. While not as light absorbing as the Pioneer KURO, it does a fair job in high ambient light conditions.

The screen itself needs 770W of power, most of which turns into heat. This is roughly twice the power consumption of a typical 50” plasma HDTV. This plasma is full HD (1080p) and introduces an Overscan control which lets you achieve Native Rate at both 50 HZ and 60 HZ. Unfortunately, 24FPS is not yet supported (this is one of the capabilities of the new 850 series displays).

The unit has every imaginable kind of input, two sets of S-Video (one in back and one in front), two sets of component video as well as composite input (back and front), a VGA input, three HDMI inputs (two in back, one in front) as well as analog and digital audio inputs. An RF input would not prove too helpful with such a big unit.

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The 65PY700 is shiny and black, and it hides two speakers which are surprising in both sound quality and volume, particularly in the bass department. The front panel conceals the control buttons and front inputs (usually for HD and SD cameras).  Unless you know what you’re looking for, you might very well miss that panel. To the right, the unit also has an SD input, with  a blue light on it, which lets you view images and movies.  If you have an AVCHD camera with an SD memory card, you can plug it right in and watch your footage directly.

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A display of this size would typically need 15 feet of distance between itself and the viewer. However, this particular display does such a good job I did not experience any viewing problems at even half or a third of that viewing distance. The problem with closer distances is usually the fill ratio, blinking/dithering plasma pixels, artifacts, and scaling. None of these are really an issue here. Such artifacts on plasmas, particularly with SDTV sources are not even close to what one would experience on an LCD HDTV. Given proper calibration and using the MPEG NR, artifact removal on this HDTV improves this dramatically.

 


 

The Performance

Things get even better with an external processor. I used two for this test: the VP50Pro and the Lumagen Radiance, both of which improve the picture quality even further, particularly for SDTV content.

Calibration features are only accessible through a service menu, but the main question is whether they are even necessary. Primaries are not too far from where they should be (blues are a bit off), and whites measured at an average of 6100 Kelvin (6.2% short of ideal). As stated, without the service menus (accessible only to service engineers) there’s no real way to improve this, short of using a processor that can adjust for this deficiency.

Contrast ratio measured at roughly 6000:1, somewhat short of the 10,000:1 that Panasonic reports, but still quite respectable for this size. Gamma was short of ideal at 1.97.

The lack of 24FPS support is an annoying oversight on part of Panasonic, but even without it, judder is the one major issue with this display. LCD HDTVs have added 120Hz support across the board, which really does a great job at reducing judder (albeit at the expense of an overly realistic image). This technique, of introducing intermediate frames, is something that would really benefit plasmas of this size, particularly on scenes with horizontal camera pans.

De-interlacing tended to unlock too quickly over to video mode and lock too slowly to film mode. It appears that Panasonic worries too much about combing at the expense of less detail on mixed mode content.

Blu-ray content worked magic with this HDTV, as did regular HDTV satellite and cable content. Watching titles like Pursuit of Happyness really shows you how well the display works with a proper Blu-ray title.

The dragon flight scene in Eragon was amazing, every scale was visible. But the best part is the Phoenix killing Professor X. Her face in this scene just breaks the 2D barrier, every blood vessel on her face is as clear as if you are actually there.

The climax is the remastered The Fifth Element Blu-ray release. The Lilu escape scene was heavily detailed in both dark (tunnel chase scene) and the outside scene where Lilu is exposed to the modern city.

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Aspect ratio control is quite simple with very little complication. The options include 16:9, Just (Non Linear Stretch), 4:3, 4:3 Full, and three more zoom options. These are great, but I would have liked to see some additional options.

Image viewing from the SD camera was nice, but I would have liked a USB input.

Here is the color temperature graph.

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RGB Levels

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Gamma

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CIE Chart

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Spectral Scan

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Whereas older Panasonic models had ill fitting remotes, the 65PY700 finally comes with a worthwhile unit. The remote itself looks good, feels solid, and the bottom pulls out for quick access to player functionalities (provided you have a Panny Blu-ray player, that is). Lack of discrete buttons like access to HDMI inputs and discrete on/off buttons are its main flaws.

 


 

Conclusions

The bottom line is that the Panasonic 65PY700 65" 1080p Plasma HDTV is a solid buy and one of the best displays I have had the honor of testing during the last few years. Given that Pioneer is going to start using Panasonic panels (which will get some of Pioneer’s Kuro technology), expect the next Panny models to go deeper into the black. So, it seems that many who thought that plasmas wouldn't make it much further, it seems that the statements of their demise were a bit premature. It is likely they are here for the duration.