Panasonic Plasma TV Review

Model: Panasonic TH-65PF9UK 1080p Plasma Screen
Description: 65” (diagonal) Plasma Television, Widescreen 16:9 Format
Resolution: 1920 X 1080 (1080P)
Dimensions: 61.2" x 36.4" x 3.9"

Includes: Speakers and table stand are optional. The unit includes some basic inputs and there are optional input “cards” which may be purchased and installed.

Color: Charcoal Black thin ribbon bezel

Reviewer: Robert Wiley
Review Date: March 2007

INTRODUCTION

This is the first 65" 1080p plasma to be produced. In fact, it is one of the first 1080p plasma monitors to be produced and plays an important part in the plasma vs. lcd struggle for supremacy in the flat panel TV market. Sharp has already produced and shipped a 65” LCD 1080p model (65D90U), and Panasonic has matched them with this screen, which is readily available and sells for a relatively strong price point. The 65PF9UK panel is produced at Panasonics’ new state of the art plasma factory outside of Osaka Japan. Panasonic also has a consumer version of the same 65” plasma model TH-65PX600U, which also sells without the table stand and speakers which are common to consumer products. The inputs of the two products are the main differences. The TH-65PX600U has HDMI input built in and a built in tuner, while the TH-65PF9UK has a built in RS232 port, a built in 15 pin VGA input for computer, a DVI port and optional input cards for HDMI or additional component or composite inputs.

PICTURE: 93/100

Whether using this very impressive plasma as a home theater centerpiece or as a public display for a fine garments store you will get very solid performance. I expected deviation in color and motion artifacts from this giant as opposed to its smaller relatives. Not the case at all. It performs in very much the same manner as the TH-42PH9UK. It has the same style of color rendition and white balance as the smaller Panasonic plasma products - though I did not experience the blacks as intense as they are on the smaller plasma products. This is a natural by-product of the larger screen and partially to be expected.

I tested the unit using a new Sony Blu-Ray player as well as a 1080p computer signal generator. My overall impressions were that the color was realistic and spectacular - not over saturated but still pronounced. The plasma displayed excellent dark scene detail which is a sticking point with most displays with a super high definition signal. While viewing our test 1080p DVD Black Hawk Down, we could clearly see the acne, sweat and cracks in Aidid’s and Sam Shepard’s faces during their face to face cigar smoking confrontation. The flesh tones were incredibly realistic. Emulating this type of performance with this much film-transferred dark scene material is a very tough test. In a couple of scenes some of the mesh camouflage netting behind a couple of the tents displayed some mapping and banding. I didn’t see it as an ongoing problem that existed however, rather an anomaly of those individual scenes.

Panasonic Plasma TV Review

After running a couple of test DVDs and signal generators to the plasma I ended up with the following settings as optimum and close enough to D6500K:

Picture (which is really contrast)Set to 22
Brightness (which is really contrast)Set to 8
Sharpness (which is really contrast)Set to -14

The menu picture setting options for this plasma TV are standard, dynamic, cimema and supercinema. My adjustments were made from the standard option, but cinema option is also a good choice. The only bad option on this plasma (which is not set to overwhelm the showroom floor like consumer models) is the dynamic mode, which should only be used in extremely bright conditions. The dynamic mode naturally superficially enhances (by increases the sharpness control) edges and tweaks contrast while decreases brightness. The choice of these preset picture modes will depend greatly on the surrounding lighting in the viewing room as well as the signal being input. For HD signals you will not need as much contrast to see detail and depth in the picture. With lower end signals you may to use a slightly increased contrast setting such as with super cinema mode.

Individual color settings are surprisingly not accessible through the standard menu.

The just aspect ratio mode did an excellent job with algorithmically “stretching” a 4:3 picture for pleasing viewing on the 16:9 screen.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: 87/100

The aesthetics of the TH-65PF9UK is a high point for me. I like the simple non-obtrusive design of the inch and a quarter bezel in charcoal black. It doesn’t take away from the picture image. The unit is also super thin for such a huge screen, at only 3.9 inches in depth.

The menu is very easy to navigate and the unit has plenty of preset picture settings as mentioned above as well as plenty of aspect ratio settings which include the aforementioned Just mode. The remote is extremely plain; simple but with adequate functionality (no backlighting or anything fancy on the professional line). If you are using this plasma has a home theater TV, chances are you will have a universal remote to cover this function. The one drawback in the menu options of course is the lack of color adjustments.

The picture settings which you choose can be set individually for each input, allowing for flexibility with your signal input.

This plasma monitor has optional accessory cards so for a little more money you can set the inputs exactly the way you want them (This can been seen as a drawback, because of the limited included inputs, or as a positive due to the option of purchasing and implementing the inputs however you want them.) The included inputs are one DVI, one composite, one VGA 15 pin, one RS232 port, and one BNC component video input.

This plasma has the ability to show PIP or side by side picture from different inputs - so practically the user can answer e-mail on one side of the screen while watching a ball game on the other.

Lastly, this plasma is sold without a table top stand or speakers.

Panasonic Plasma TV Review

VALUE: 90/100

Surprisingly, I believe this unit is a good value at around $8000. I expected glitches in the picture performance for such a large screen and a first generation 1080p plasma. Instead, what I saw was rock solid performance. Sure, there are a few shortcomings like the lack of a color adjustment and limited (but flexible) inputs. The only competitor in the 65” 1080p market is the Sharp LC-65D90U, which sells for a couple thousand more dollars, so there isn’t much competition in this size range for 1080p.


OVERALL RATING (WITH PICTURE DOUBLE-WEIGHTED): 90.75/100*

* Ratings from 70 to 100. Ratings in the 60s for any category are reserved for product with a serious defect or design flaw.








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