Despite the rise and rise of the LED flat screen TV, the humble Plasma is still a favored choice for home movie fans and color reproduction devotees – often with good reason. Panasonic’s 2013 offerings in this space are headed-up by the flagship ZT60 series, which the company put to task in a completely blacked-out booth alongside its predecessors at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Panasonic says the overall brightness and color depth of the new series is greatly improved. There's a wider color gamut due to a new red phosphor and the plasma panel is now bonded directly to the glass, reducing reflected images in the air gap between the two panels.
Further visual enhancements include reduced crosstalk for Full HD 3D images, 3000 Focused-field Drive for sharper 2D image motion (up from 2,500 in 2012), THX in 2D and 3D, plus ISFccc Calibration Mode and extra CALMAN calibration software.
Image quality aside, TV manufacturers are taking no prisoners in their drive to integrate the common TV into the digital home. The ZT60 kicks this off with three HDMI ports, three USB connectors and in-built Wi-Fi. Notable functionality includes My Home Screen, which lets different users personalize their favorite apps and content, Swipe and Share 2.0, which enables a user to “swipe” a photo from their smartphone or tablet to the big screen and back again, plus a web browser and voice recognition. There's also a touch-pad remote with microphone, two pairs of Active Shutter 3D glasses and an optional Touch Pen for those who fancy drawing all over the TV screen (without ruining it).
One reason many people have chosen the LED/LCD variety over Plasma in the past has been the life expectancy of the panel or the possibility of suffering “image burn” on a plasma screen. Panasonic are touting up to one hundred thousand hours of solid usage before the brightness begins to subside. According to the company’s press release, that equates to “more than 30 years of viewing when watched 8 hours a day.”
The ZT60 will available in 60-inch or 65-inch sizes from February. No word on pricing as yet.
Product page: Panasonic ZT60