Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 3D Plasma HDTV Test Bench

Test Bench

Full-On/Full-Off Contrast Ratio: 30,000:1

All measurements were performed in the Professional2 picture mode for 2D and the Custom (3D) mode for 3D, through an HDMI input with the set adjusted for a darkened room. The peak white level to achieve the measured contrast ratio was just over 33 foot-lamberts, and the black level 0.0011 ft-L. (The full-on/full-off contrast ratio measured on the Pioneer PRO-141FD Kuro for the comparisons in this test was 22,400:1 with peak white 33.6 ft-L, black level 0.0015 ft-L.)



The pre-calibration RGB Balance shown in the chart was taken in the THX Cinema mode, adjusted for approximately the same peak white level mentioned above with the Color temp. control set to Warm1. Gray scale Delta E values in this mode averaged an excellent 2.7; post-calibration. With the Warm 2 Color temp. setting used as the baseline, the Delta E averaged 0.71, with a high of 1.89 at 100 percent brightness. (Delta E is a figure of merit that indicates how closely a display adheres to the Rec. 709 HD color standard. Experts generally agree that levels below 3 are visibly indistinguishable from perfect color tracking.)

In the Rec. 709 Color Gamut setting, the color point’s pre-calibration color Delta E averaged a respectable 2.47. After calibration, it averaged an exceptional 0.43. Post-calibration, the average measured gamma across the full brightness range was 2.35, achieved from a baseline setting of 2.4 with minor tweaking of the Gamma Detail adjustments.

The best 3D option pre-calibration was the THX3D Cinema mode, with the Color temp. control set to Warm1. In this mode, the average Delta E for gray scale was 3.74, the average color Delta E 2.70, and the average gamma 1.97. Peak brightness through 3D glasses was 5.16 ft-L. Post-calibration in the 3D Custom mode, with Warm1 used as the calibration baseline, the average Delta E for gray scale was 0.53, the average color gamut Delta E was 1.06, the average gamma was 1.82 (with a low of 0.81 at 90 percent), and peak brightness through the glasses was 5.27 ft-L. It’s now common practice for manufacturers to pump up the subjective 3D brightness level by using low gammas. The best gamma selection depended on the source; either 2.2 or 2.4 worked best.

The TC-P65ZT60 passed all our standard video processing tests except for the 2:2 cadence tests for HD and SD, common and largely inconsequential failures.—TJN



Jen Watterud's picture

Just curious if anyone has this TV and what your opinion is on it. Thanks.

dsskid's picture

Why did you limit the Kuro to 32-33 fls luminance? Just because that is the optimal setting for the Panasonic, the Kuro is capable of so much more. By limiting the Kuro's luminance, you also artifically limit it's contrast ratio.

strongstein's picture

When I heard that production was ending forced to buy now (11/8/13 - initial thoughts are "great buy" - Black levels are outstanding - on somethings movies they melt into the dark scenes and you I no idea where movie ends and bars begin - would classify myself as an "enthusiast" not and "expert" - use the THX modes for movies and standard for most broadcasts - TV is connected through an Onkyo TX-NR908 -I use direct on BluRay and for cable I use "picture adjust" - I set it to custom and 1080P. Seems to work well but unsure if I should just send the signal to "direct' or let the receiver do the deinterlacing.

mvision7m1's picture

As a current owner of a professionally calibrated 2011 Panasonic TC-P55VT30 I can tell you that the ZT60 is (so far) a much better TV overall. My ZT is also pro calibrated and I mention the VT30 only because until I got the ZT, it was my performance point of reference. The ZT's picture is crisper on all inputs, sharper, brighter and just flat out better. That doesn't diminish what a fine TV the VT30 is but it's just not in the same league. I'm very happy with the ZT60. Blu rays look fantastic, HD cable channels look great, streaming also looks great while standard def content only looks fair to good depending on the channel. The color reproduction is very rich yet realistic, better than the VT30 but I think some of the perceived difference is due to the ZT's higher light output capability. The ZT is plenty bright for me and appears much brighter than the VT30 in general. The ZT handles 24P sources better than the VT30 also (using the 96Hz mode) and 3D material looks much better on it as well. On the VT30 3D sometimes looked a little blurry, on the ZT it's sharp and clear at all times. I don't use the smart features very often but I have used the YouTube app and it functioned very well. I also have a home theater set up so I do not use the TV's speakers. The fan noise fix was completed at the dealer before I picked it up so I haven't heard any of the fan noise some have complained about and on occasion I have heard a low level buzz when the screen is really bright, it very low and not persistent. I love this TV so far, I've had it for just about three weeks now. Hope that helps.

shawn's picture

What happened to all the member comments?

Hi Tom. Is there any reason your 141 measurement for this comparison is so different from 2009?

Your MLL and contrast ratio are very different . Could this be because of the red tint you're now starting to get? Which by the way is not normal. Many members on AVS have gotten this problem. Just curious.

dsskid's picture

How did the Kuro's contrast ration drop from 33,500 to 24,400?

Also why are you limiting the Kuro to a peak luminous of 33 ftls, when it's capable of achieving at least 40 ftls, and thus a higher contrast ratio? Is it because the Panasonic cannot get as bright so you're dumbing down the Kuro?

ivenrein's picture

Thank you for the review, the ZT60 is definitely on my wish list. In the news today, however, is that Panasonic plans to close its last plasma TV factory. I missed out on Pioneer's Kuro, do I now risk missing out on the ZT/VT60? How long can we expect to see this Sound & Vision Top Pick in stores?

Thomas J. Norton's picture
The 2009 contrast ratio on the Pioneer was measured with the Minolta LS-100 light meter, which only goes to three significant figures beyond the decimal point. Since it rounds off, that means that a reading of 0.001 could actually be as high as 0.0014. The CRs shown in the current review were measured with our newly-acquired Klein K-10, which can measure low light levels with greater precision. Ergo, the difference. And because the contrast ratio is very dependent on the denominator in the calculation, a small difference there can make a big difference in the final result. But at these high measured contrast ratios, it's unlikely that there will be much of a visible difference, if any, between the two readings.

Contrast ratios this high, and black levels this low, are of interest mainly when viewing in a dimly-lit or darkened room. And since I've found a peak white output of 30-32 foot-lamberts to be most comfortable in such an environment, I use this level of peak white for all of my contrast ratio measurements--and all of my viewing as well.

LCD sets can often put out as much as 100 foot-lamberts or more, a level far above any plasma. Does this mean that we can say LCDs have better CRs than plasmas? In theory, yes, but in use, no, because their black levels are very often higher. A contrast ratio reading without the corresponding black level is of limited value.

Reports that Panasonic is closing its plasma factories early next year have not been confirmed by Panasonic, but there may be something behind the story. We're unlikely to know for certain until the upcoming January CES. But it's disturbing to hear that Panasonic's plasma business is deep in red ink, since consumers are flocking mainly to LCDs for inexplicable reasons. We have no way of knowing as yet how this all of this will shake out. But if you want a Panasonic plasma, I wouldn't put it off.

heavyken's picture

Two problems with the settings:

1) Under "W/B Detail Adjust" the two columns are labeled "Mid" and "High", but the 6 values in that menu are "Low" and "High". How should the columns really be labeled?

2) "Gamma Detail Adjustment" is missing the settings for 100 IRE

And a couple comments: While many reviews mention the less than ideal built-in speakers, I'm surprised there's no mention of lip sync issues with them. Both the ATSC tuner and all HDMI sources have mild lip sync issues on my unit. Panny might also try putting the speakers on the left and right edges rather than the bottom! (And yes I have a damn good audio setup, I just don't feel the need to use it for random sitcoms and other primetime shows).

And I don't recall any reviews mentioning the horrible fans! Panasonic should be ashamed.

Thomas J. Norton's picture
1) The W/B Detail Adjust for both 2D and 3D should read Low and High (now fixed). My original text had those designations, but there may have been a typo when the details were processed for the on line posting. 2) The Gamma Detail Adjustment offers control over the (white) luminance at each 10IRE step from 10IRE to 100IRE. (More correctly, 100IRE should be called 100%—IRE is an obsolescent term not truly relevant to digital displays. But we'll go with IRE here since that's the label Panasonic uses). But since gamma is a number derived by comparing the brightness at each step against the peak 100IRE brightness, the concept of gamma at the 100IRE level has no meaning.

So why is there a 100IRE gamma adjustment in the menu? If you change the setting at 100IRE, this will change the gamma at every step below 100IRE, since gamma is calculated against the 100IRE level. Though the resulting changes are unlikely to be linear at each step, such a global control may be useful in some situations, which is likely why Panasonic includes the 100IRE adjustment. But I didn't use the 100IRE control, so my 100IRE setting was 0. Our sample had no issues with either lip sync or fan noise. We've heard complaints about the latter in early reports on the set, but it may have been fixed by the time our sample arrived. The fans on our set are audible if you're within a foot or two of the set and there's no audio playing, but fan noise is never an issue from a normal seating position—with or without audio. The audibility of the fans will also depend on the size of the room, how close the set is to the wall behind it (close spacing, such as in a wall mount, may amplify the noise; in all of our viewing the set has been at least a foot or more from the wall) and, of course, the listener.

theo's picture

Tom, I got a 60VT60 just a few weeks ago. It was one of the last ones at Best Buy within a four state radius. I am so happy with this set and your review was a real catalyst in me making the final, last minute decision to purchase it. My old LCD TV was failing and I just couldn't stomach the thought of being left with an LED. It was more than I wanted to spend, but I'm so glad I did.

Devin79's picture

Hi I just received this TV a few days ago. I can access all the picture settings "except" Professional I need to do something special to get that setting?

Any help would be appreciated:)

Devin79's picture

Hi I just received this TV a few days ago. I can access all the picture settings "except" Professional I need to do something special to get that setting?

Any help would be appreciated:)

Gawain's picture

Hello i know this thread is now ancient, but I recently got a Panasonic ZT65b, I have applied these settings and I am quite impressed, it has given the picture a somewhat softer or smoother look, colours are not too harsh and the black levels are good with no annoying white static effect against some black scenes that I was previously experiencing before I applied these settings. I was just wondering if anyone else has used these settings and what they think ? . Also on the UK version( ZT65b) there is no option for a warm 2 picture mode, I only have the option of cool, warm and dynamic, I have set it to warm but does the US version have a warm 2 picture mode and if so will this effect these settings.

tjsage's picture

I have the TC-P60ZT60 and truly love it. I have been through Sony's, Samsung, and other LCD's but it is tough to beat plasma for the actual picture. If brightness isn't an issue or even if it is, this was the best one could get until OLED's get to reasonable pricing and the HDR, Dolby Atmos, DTS-X and HDMI 2.2 gets figured out and agreed upon. Then I will go there.

tjsage's picture

I made a small error. DTX-X should be Dolby-Vision

zerv's picture

What's it like ANSI Contrast Ratio Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 ???