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on July 17, 2013
Caution: What follows is a long-winded review, read before bed time if you are having trouble falling asleep! ;-) Happy reading.

For those looking for a "Readers Digest" version of the review - overall I am extremely satisfied with the VT60 picture quality and features. IMHO, it lives up to all the hype, and the Value Electronics shootout experts picking it as the "top dog" in Plasmas is warranted - it beats out any other plasma I have owned or seen - and it is a lot bigger at 65" to boot! The only other plasmas, or any TV for that matter, that are on the same level as the VT60 are the Panasonic ZT60 and Samsung F8500, and if these sets are better than the VT60 it is not by much. Now, on to the details...

First - I am *not* a true "videophile" but I do have a long history with plasmas, and purchased my first two plasma TV's way back in 2003. They were both Sony's (a 42" and a 32") and they were both built like tanks. I still own both today and use them daily, with the 42" in my family room and the 32" in my shop. They both also still display a wonderful picture 10 years later, and they were one of the best TV purchases I have ever made! I also currently own a Sony 46" Bravia LCD I purchased about five years ago (our bedroom TV) - another wonderful TV. I also own a couple of smaller TV's

I have owned the VT60 for 2 weeks now as of the date of this review. I spent about 8 weeks debating, comparing the 65" VT60, ZT60 and the Samsung F8500 64", with many trips to electronics stores where I could commandeer the remotes ;-) and spend time with different video sources comparing the sets. (nothing worse than comparing the TV's in the Standard and Vivid modes the retailers use on the floor). Note I also recently purchased a 65" Samsung 7000 LED from Costco about 12 weeks ago, but that set was returned as I was not at all satisfied (to put it lightly) with the picture quality, the contrast, and overall viewing experience. I always seemed to be "messing" with the picture settings on the LED when changing viewing content, I could never get it right as what worked well for one channel / show did not hold true for others... I have read how others have the same issue.

There are still times that I wish I would have purchased the ZT60 for ~$500 more, as there is a little glare on the VT60 compared to the ZT60 when viewing during the day. Those looking at the VT60, you may have read that there is a little glare in brighter environs, and it is true. Whether it is beyond your tolerance is personal preference; my viewing room is not overly bright and it is within the tolerance level for me, though sometimes I still notice it. If you have an overly bright viewing room, take a more critical look at the Samsung F8500 plasma or the Panasonic ZT60 plasma as they are better for brighter viewing locations.

What did I think of the VT / ZT compared to the new Samsung F8500 plasma? Bottom line - for my eye (and YMMV of course) the Panasonic was just more pleasing to the eye on displaying the "blacks", and appeared to have better contrast and color transitions than the Samsung series. I know the Value Electronics shootout "audience" chose the F8500 as the overall top pick, whereas the "experts" picked the VT60 as the top dog which illustrates that BOTH are great displays, and that it is a tough choice for anyone comparing the two. Note that in all cases in the VE shootout, the Panasonics won on contrast, black levels, motion viewing - it was the brightness feature that put the Samsung F8500 over the top as it was markedly better. For me, I think the contrast / black level rating should have been weighted more heavily in the final tally, but that is just me - if it were then the Panasonic would have won hands down, even in the "audience" vote as the results were virtually a tie as it stood.

Now on to more detailed observaations on the VT60:

The VT60 is packaged VERY well. The box is huge, and there are thick Styrofoam inserts inside the box holding the TV, and a lot of space between the TV and the side of the box. As a result, the box weighs around 140lbs with the TV inside. Panasonic did a good job of giving this box adequate protection! (not all TV's do). By comparison, the 65" Samsung LED set I returned to Costco - the VT60 box dwarfed the Samsung LED box, and the Panasonic had higher quality packaging materials and heavier cardboard IMHO.

Construction of the VT60:
The older plasmas are thicker and heavier, but these days they have thinned them down and made them more streamlined. In addition, the back panel of the VT60 is not plastic like many of the TV's sold today - it is metal and very substantial. I appreciated this, the 65" Samsung 7000 LED was plastic and I seem to recall the F8500 was also. Although the plastic construction lightens up the weight a bit on other models, I prefer the metal / solid construction of the VT60 plasma.... I guess I am just old fashioned and appreciate things built more solidly. Also, the stand is heavy, solid and substantial. The stand does NOT swivel, but this was not important to me due to the configuration of the room where it is set up. It is made of high quality stainless and holds the TV well. Mounting the TV into the stand requires two people for the 65" and probably the same for the 60". You could probably do it alone in a pinch, but having two people reduces the stress level when attempting to insert it into the stand!

The VT60 "look and feel" is not flashy / sexy IMO, it is simple, unassuming and pedestrian. The silver bezel around the edge is a nice touch, and overall I prefer the toned down look and its simplicity.

Installation / Setup:
As with most TVs these days, and due to the HDMI cables of today, the setup / cabling is a breeze. I run all of my optical / sound cables directly from the device to the AVR, and have one Optical Out coming from the TV for watching Over-the-air signals, and for the Smart TV menus / streaming. My AVR does not have HDMI inputs, as it is an ancient Denon 2800 (I need to upgrade ;-)) so I have to route all of my devices HDMI directly to the TV! Thus, I wish the VT60 had more than 3 HDMI ports as I am one with too many devices - don't most of us - but for many of those that do not have "too many" devices it won't be an issue. Five would have been better, but I make do.

The setup of the TV on initial start up was easy - although I did not have my wireless keyboard at that point and entering in the data for things like the WEP wireless key (25 characters) was a pain with the included remotes. (See the remote critique below - I am not a big fan so far of the included remotes - I already purchased a wireless keyboard, and plan on upgrading my universal remote).

Picture Quality:
In the 2 weeks of owning the VT60, I have viewed a good degree of varying content to make an assessment of picture quality. I have watched three 3d movies - Avatar, Avengers and Toy Story ; viewed various sporting events including around ten (or so) baseball games on ESPN, WGN and more, watched the Stanley Cup Game 7 recorded from DVR, watched Game 7 of the NBA finals recorded on the DVR, soccer, etc. I have watched Bluray movies of different titles, older 480p titles like Rocky, Groundhog Day and more. I have watched Discovery, Science channel for many hours, shows like Deadliest Catch, Storage Wars, Pawn Stars, Through the Wormhole, cartoons (with my boys), cooking and home improvement shows, and more. We are a TV watching type of family, and we view many types of shows to put the TV through its paces We have nearly achieved the 100 hours of "break in time" called for with the VT60 - we are enjoying it, plus the boys are on summer break and the TV is on at least 6-7 hours a day whether watching movies, playing the PS3, etc. The novelty has not worn off yet I guess! Here is what I have found:

- Picture Settings - as recommended in many forums, I have been using the THX Cinema picture setting and think it produces the best overall picture for all content I view. During the "break in" period I am leaving the contrast, color and brightness at the default settings, or very close to it. I am not running any break in "slides" and do not plan on having the TV professionally calibrated - I am just planning on *maybe* running the THX optimizer at a minimum at a later date. YMMV.

- Brightness - the biggest "knock" on the VT60 by the critics is regarding the brightness of the VT60 - it is not "knock your socks off bright" - but from my experience, that is like most plasmas. That is the big selling point on Samsung's F8500, it is a bright plasma. However, most plasma's today have had the same characteristic, and for my taste this is not an issue - compared to the overly bright LED displays, I appreciate the muted, more realistic look of the plasma, even if they are a tad dimmer. Others may find it not to their liking, especially if it is your first plasma, but it depends on the person. To me, again, the brightness is fine. The best combination of brightness / contrast is found using the "THX Cinema" or "THX Bright Room" settings - other settings like "Standard" don't give as much brightness. As mentioned above, I would recommend leaving the TV set at THX cinema setting as that is touted as giving the best overall picture for all content.

- Contrast - As advertised, VT60's contrast is top of the heap. The color transition and sharp edges are incredible. Bright colors next to more muted colors are well discerned, and it has no trouble delineating / separating deep reds right next to dull grays. The Value Electronics plasma shoot out rated the VT and ZT series TV's as the best contrast in the industry, and you have to see it for yourself to believe it. It is better than any TV I have ever owned, and probably as good as any TV I have ever viewed.

- Black Levels - This is where the VT and ZT series shine. The black levels are astounding. The 65" Samsung LED I returned absolutely failed on the black levels, and by comparison the VT60 is light years ahead. One unforgiving test of the black rendering is on the Discovery Science channel; the show "Through the Wormhole" with Morgan Freeman, it often shows him in a dimly lit room with different shades of black shadows where he is wearing a black suit. That scene is a test for a TV's ability to render the black levels, and the 65" Samsung LED butchered this scene, with "pixelated" / washed-out blacks and all sorts of choppiness. It was awful. But the VT60 has no issue rendering this scene - you can pick up the different shades of black in the shadows, and they contrast with the black suit he is wearing very well. The VT60 also does a much better job on this than the two other plasmas I own - it is very evident. The hype about the black level rendering of the VT60 is living up to expectations so far...

- 3D Quality - granted, it is not IMAX, but if you choose titles filmed in native 3d (like Avatar) my guess is you will be quite pleased with the 3D experience. Avatar was awesome in 3D... period. Note that not all movies being sold as 3D movies were shot "natively" in 3D - many like Jurassic Park, Transformers and many more were shot in 2D and then re-produced to add 3D effects. Not the same thing, and some are not happy with those titles. Do a Google search on this topic (real vs. fake 3d movies) and you will find a lot of information. Overall, I am very happy with the 3D capabilities of the set - again, 3D was not the major deciding factor on the VT60, it is more of a bonus to me as picture quality trumps all... the fact the 3D works well and maintains an awesome picture whilst doing so is very nice!

The bottom line - I bought the VT60 for its touted Picture Quality - that was the MAIN factor in my decision. And it has not disappointed - what an awesome picture! Things like Smart TV features, camera, etc were secondary in my decision.

The Remotes / Peripherals, 3D glasses and Camera:
The Panasonic comes with two remotes - one remote that is more for using for all the TV functionality, and one smaller remote that has a track pad that can be used for the smart TV interface, etc. I am not overly excited about the remotes - one might want to consider getting a high quality universal remote paired with a wireless keyboard instead. The larger remote does not have the ability to control your other peripherals like other TV remotes do, and the smaller remote I found to be not so great IMHO. During setup, when tying in your information and especially the 25 character WEP keys, a wireless keyboard is better served. I bought a Logitech wireless KB to use with the VT60, and happier with that for navigating the smart TV features. The camera is OK, and the facial recognition is working, but I am realizing the camera is something I probably won't use much at this point.

The included 3D glasses (two pairs) are of good quality, and work well. If you have to buy more Panasonic 3D glasses, be aware they are expensive - I would recommend alternatively purchasing the Samsung 3D glasses instead for $20 if you need more. (the Panasonics can cost as much as $70). We have two pairs of the Panasonic glasses, and two pairs of the Samsung and both work well. One thing about the included battery with the Panasonic - the battery that came installed in the glasses died during the first 3D show after about an hour - so the included battery was either weak or low quality. It happened with both sets of glasses. However, after installing a Maxell 2025 battery in each, they both have lasted through three 3D movies, and are still more than 80% full... so just be ready to have some spare batteries on hand for the glasses. Overall, the Panasonic 3D glasses work well, are highly rated and I am satisfied with the experience.

Smart TV Features and Navigation:
If I had to sum it up, I would give a 6/10 so far for the Panasonic Smart TV interface and more importantly the "navigability" of the interface. For the most part, it is satisfactory, but there is still major room for improvements. Apparently, the Web Browser was not complete when they released the TV - you will have to see for yourself what I mean! For instance - pressing the "Help" feature came up with a dialogue "To be released later, under construction" or something to that effect. In other words, the TV's help feature is still being worked on - note I do have the latest software updates and all. Plus, the Web Browser is, for all intents and purposes, kind of painful to operate. It is very easy to "accidentally" hit the edge of the picture when trying to scroll with the scroll bars, and this results in the "hyper scroll" feature to kick in, basically frustrating you as the scroll kicks into hyper-drive and messes up the location where you are viewing. Plus, things like - if you try to click on the Doppler map, it tells you this feature is not supported. Finally, the interface crashed numerous times, especially when trying to view pictures / enlarge things at There is more, but some of the reasons I think they can do a little more development / refinement of the Smart TV interface, and get something released hopefully soon.

The access to Amazon, Netflix and more is well laid out and easy to use. The responsiveness / speed of the internet is adequate - I am running the TV wirelessly and do not have any issues with the speed / responsiveness to date. So that is good...

The "Break In" Period (first 100 hrs):
There is a lot of debate on whether there is a true "break in" period for TV's, especially plasmas, and what you read on the "experts" forums and what you get back from Panasonic can be very different at times. To calibrate or not to calibrate? That is up to you and your comfort level. Realize most casual viewers don't and won't, but others swear by it. I made the decision to just follow some simple rules during the first 100-200 hours of viewing, and NOT to calibrate my set. (other than maybe running the THX optimizer at some point). Do your own searches on this topic, make your own assessment and decision - the "right / wrong" arguments on this topic are not scarce. Do I think that the RIGHT professional calibration could squeeze out the extra 10% of picture quality out of the set? Maybe... but I am not sure I want to spend the $$ to find out. And I don't think I will regret that decision... YMMV.

That being said - the simple rules I am following during break in:
- I am not watching content for extended periods that has the black bars / letter box (aka 4:3 SD, 2:35:1 movies, etc). If it is letterboxed, I just fill the screen with Zoom or Just or whatever works.
- I am avoiding channels with a large degree of "crawl" on the bottom of the screen, and shows / games that have a lot of static content. Plus, I am being careful not to leave the set on for extended periods with static menus / content. (it can be a challenge with two 13 yr old video game players as some of you know - but they seem to get it).
- I have only allowed a couple of hours total of video games due to their high degree of potential static content - my boys are dismayed but they will live!
- Finally, I am leaving the contrast, brightness and color settings pretty close to the default. I am using THX cinema, and to be honest the default settings for this still throw up one heckuva picture, and do not need that much tweaking IMHO.
- Other than those simple rules, I am enjoying the set and not worrying to much about things like the "History" channel logo, commercials with black bars, shows that have the dreaded crawl as long as they are not constantly on...

In summary, every test I have thrown at the VT60 - whether it is viewing cable TV, playing older 480p movies, playing Bluray, viewing 3d or even when my boys use it for gaming - the VT60 never fails to impress and has passed with "flying colors" (pun intended!). I continually marvel at the quality of the picture, and compared to the Samsung 7000 series LED I returned in favor of the Panasonic, I could not be happier with that decision. There is no comparison; the Panasonic plasma just plain smashes the Samsung 7000 series LEDs in every aspect of picture quality, and it will do the same to many of the other TV's on the market. Comparing the VT60 to a Samsung 7000LED is probably not a fair comparison, but just offering that as a data point. But then again, the Samsung was still $2600 new... so you be the judge.

Would I recommend the Panasonic VT series, and would I buy it again? Most definitely. But take the time and decide for yourself, as the ZT series and F8500 series are also great TV's.

Thanks for reading!! I hope this helps you in your purchasing decision.
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on April 23, 2013
I received my Panasonic TC-P55VT60 mid-April from Amazon. I have had a few days with it and would like to offer my thoughts.

Previously I have owned a Samsung UN55F8000 55-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D Ultra Slim Smart LED HDTV,LG INFINIA 47LE8500 47-Inch 1080p 240 Hz Full LED Slim LCD HDTV with Internet Applications, and Samsung LN46A650 46-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV with Red Touch of Color. They were all very nice LCD/LED TVs but I was always upgrading for one reason or another. The VT60 is my first plasma. Having owned a small assortment of TVs I am happy to report the Panasonic VT60 trumps anything I have owned and frankly, anything I have ever seen up until this point. This TV produces the most amazing picture I have ever seen! My initial thrill has not worn off. This thing continues to impress me. The pq is absolutely phenomenal, even right out of the box!

**Hands-On Review**
TV came well packed and assembly of the stand was straightforward and incredibly simple. I do recommend you have a second person to help you. The VT60 is heavy.

Initial setup is a breeze and pretty standard. Panasonic walks you through and shows you the included features, emphasizing their different home screen options. Fun fact: there is a silly narrator that sounds like a robot. I weirdly enjoyed it, a bit of 80s/90s nostalgia. I setup mine to go straight to the last source (HDMI) as opposed to my home screen. Also, there is a goofy advertisement that pops up at times. You can however turn it off in the settings.

Panasonic includes two remotes. I am not a fan of the smaller remote. I find the touch track pad on it to be cumbersome. Not an issue for me though as I use the included standard size remote. My girlfriend however likes the track pad. To each their own. I'm sure it takes a little getting used to.

The apps work as you would expect. I haven't had a chance to check all of them out, but my time with Youtube and Netflix worked without a hitch.

The TV itself looks wonderful. The stand and full glass panel make the TV a true piece of art. The glass itself does pickup glare and reflects light. I have a 7 foot picture window that lets in a ton of light directly opposite of the VT60 but it is not unbearable. I can see the reflection of the window but it is not any worse than previous TVs I have owned. I would argue it is better than my old LG LE8500 which also had a full piece of glass. All this doesn't matter though as I do most of my watching at night.

As I previously mentioned, the picture quality on the VT60 is absolutely stunning! The hype for this set is true. The VT60 delivers on all cylinders. Inky blacks, clean whites, incredibly rich colors, jaw-dropping detail. I've been watching in the included THX Cinema modes and haven't felt the need to make any adjustments. I am no professional calibrator but I would like to make it clear this is the best picture I have ever seen. You can certainly adjust the picture to your personal preference and their is no shortage of access for professional calibration if you wish to do so.

As my first plasma, I am thoroughly impressed with the off angle viewing as well. Excellent blacks from any angle and the picture never seems to wash out or lose its integrity. There is certainly no clouding, ghosting, spotlighting, etc. to worry about. If I get unrealistically close to the screen, with my eyeball nearly touching, I can see a bit of dithering which is a function of the plasma technology. It is used to prevent color banding and create a smooth gradient. It is not distracting and I only see it when my eye nearly touches the screen. From far away I do not see it at all. It is not an issue but worth mentioning.

I can't comment on 3D quite yet as I haven't had a chance view any 3D content. I've spent most of my time with blu-rays and streaming HD. I will update my review when I get a chance to sit down with a 3D movie

I have added a few photos to the Amazon Customer Images section of Samsara [Blu-ray]on the VT60 . Pictures were taken at 1/13 F20. They closely represented what I was seeing on the screen, but I argue this still doesn't do the TV justice. The picture produced on this TV is even better in person!

Overall, the Panasonic VT60 is absolutely astounding! I highly recommend the TV and am incredibly satisfied with my purchase. The Panasonic TC-P55VT60 is worth every penny :)

**Update 4/26/13**
I wanted to update the review with a few other details after having more time with the TV

The built in speakers do not match the TVs picture quality. They are about .5" wide and are housed on either side of the TV. They run vertically. I believe the total speaker output is 20w (5w for each speaker and 10w for the built in sub). Honestly, out of all of the flat panels I have owned, the VT60 produces the best "built in" sound. That being said, I certainly recommend a better sound system if at all possible. If you are spending this much on a high-end TV, do yourself a favor and pair it with a nice home theater sound system. I realize this is not always an option, and if that is the case, the built-in speakers are adequate and do offer a decently full sound.

The camera, when you want to use it, does pop-up automatically and can be activated via the touchpad remote with voice commands. No joke, you can actually talk to your remote and the camera will pop-up. Once the camera is up, it has facial recognition and will switch to personalized home screens if you wish. You can configure different "users" as well. I don't use the feature, but it might be convenient for family members who all watch different content and might use different apps. A few things to keep in mind though. The camera is in a fixed position on top of the TV. If your seating arrangement is lower than the TV, you might not be in the best position to show up on the camera. Also, if you are like me, I keep the lighting in my home theater area to a minimum which is not the greatest lighting for the camera to pickup. The camera does pop-up, turn on, and turn off automatically but it does not retract automatically.

The TV mounts easily on the wall and looks incredible! I bought this Ultra-Slim Adjustable Tilting Wall Mount Bracket for LCD LED Plasma (Max 165L... (get it cheaper from Monoprice's website, item #5916). The cables did not interfere with mounting at all as the inputs are on the side of the TV. The power plug does come out of the back, but it doesn't stick out enough to interfere. Just be sure to plug everything in to the TV first before putting it on the wall.

Vierra Connect (apps) supports Hulu Plus and Amazon Movies. I believe Amazon even lists how to "register" the TV in the item details section of the VT60 product page.

I haven't noticed any "image retention" yet. Panasonic includes "pixel shift" and "screen wipe" features on the VT60 to help clear up Image Retention if it ever occurs. Being that it is a plasma though, I try to be cognizant of not leaving any static image on the screen too long just to be safe.

The screen does reflect light. In my experience, it is not any worse or any better than other flat-panel TVs I have owned. I recommend curtains if you are putting the TV in a window filled room.
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on June 19, 2013
The Panasonic P55VT60 is without a doubt the best 55 inch television one can purchase. Very low minimum light level means deep blacks and great contrast. Colors pop without being unnatural, and motion handling is the best I've ever seen on a TV. If you're in the market for a 60 or 65 inch TV, the ZT60 is slightly better with bright room viewing, at around 500 dollars more.

As a gamer, this is a fantastic TV since Panasonic has really upped their game regarding image retention from last year's sets. Leaving a static head's up display, score counter, or life bar for a few hours will leave mild image retention at the worst, and will be gone within a few minutes of pixel sweeper/mixed content. Input lag also measures between 38-42 ms which means that all but the hardest of the hardcore, pro-level twitch gamers will not notice lag, but they aren't going to consider large screens anyway. I play a lot of twitch games and can't notice or feel any sluggish response.

All types of signals look the best they possibly can on the VT60. Standard def never looks good on a 55 inch HDTV, but it's passable on the VT60. 720p signals look absolutely stunning, which is a step up from last years 50 series in which anything other than a 1080 signal was soft and had an "oil painting" effect to it. That's not the case with the 60's. Blu-rays and 1080p TV shows and games are absolutely jaw dropping. You cannot get a picture quality this good on any other TV currently on the market, and this TV even matches or beats (VERY SLIGHTLY) the Pioneer Kuro.

So why the 4 star review?

This is the best TV I've ever seen, but it's not perfect and I can't in good conscience give it a perfect, 5 star review. Here are the cons.

-I previously purchased one of these from another retailer and immediately after receiving it, I noticed a dark line running down the right side of the screen. After aging the panel for a couple hundred hours, the line got progressively worse. I called up the retailer and set up an exchange. When the new set came, the problem still existed but even worse. I'm not sure if this was an issue with Panasonic, the retailer, the shipping company, etc., but I ended up getting a refund, purchasing ANOTHER one through Amazon and having ZERO issues with my current set. Which brings me to the next con:

-I had contacted Panasonic customer service about the issue I was having and in so many words, they said there was no problem with the TV and that any of the manufacturing defects I was describing were within spec. This is not okay, considering the price of the TV. Nothing is perfect, but a dark, half inch wide line running down the set is simply unacceptable for a reference level TV. I've dealt with Panasonic before regarding other products and they are ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE to deal with. Probably the worst customer service of any electronics manufacturer. Strange considering they make such great products, you would think they could spend just a little money to ensure that the people they hire to deal with technical issues can converse with customers and figure things out. Instead the customer service reps try their absolute hardest to ignore you. Such a weird concept to me. Buy a 3rd party warranty or hope nothing goes wrong, because you do not want to have to deal with these people over the phone or via e-mail.

-The price of the TV is very high compared to the almost-as-good-but-not-quite ST60. The 55ST60 runs for about 1000 dollars less, which is insane. The ST60 has very high input lag however, so it's a no-go for all but the most casual of gamers. If you do not need a reference level set and do not play games, go for the ST60 instead. It's a much better value and has amazing picture quality. If you're not entirely sure what "reference level" means, you likely wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the ST60 and the VT60 unless they were side by side. The VT60 is really a TV for videophiles and industry professionals. I hope this doesn't sound snotty, as I'm honestly trying to save you 1000 dollars! =)

-The bezel and overall design of the TV is very bizarre to me. It's got a great (non-swivel) stand, and the bottom part of the design is beautiful with a clear plastic trim that holds the on/off LEDS. The one sheet of glass design is very sexy too. What's odd is the built in speakers, which hurt the cosmetic appeal of the set greatly and add thickness to what could be a slim profile design. Most people who are looking to buy a VT60 are not going to be using the built in speakers to begin with, which is why I question Panasonic's decision with this. If this were a feature of the value models (the S60 and the ST60), it would definitely make sense, but it doesn't make sense on the reference level set. Yes, this is a nitpick.

This is it for my review. Overall, for videophiles and industry pros (I use this for post production color correction), you cannot get a better 55 inch TV at the moment. Accurate colors, the deepest blacks ever, and superb motion handling make this an amazing purchase. Please take my criticisms with a grain of salt as I am one of the most critical people ever when it comes to technology. Though I find faults with this TV (and every other TV I've ever owned), it's still the most amazing picture I've seen on a consumer set and blows me away every time I turn it on.
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on December 4, 2013
I don't usually write reviews, but this TV is so outstanding that I just had to! To give you a frame of reference, I am a wholesaler in the high end AV business, and have been for 30 years. I have been trained by the worlds best manufacturers what to look for in TV's and what to listen for in Amps and Speakers. To give you a bit more background, my last 2 TV's were a 50" Pioneer Kuro and before that, a 34 inch 16 by 9 CRT Sony XBR. Meaning, I know world class pictures like the back of my hand. I sold the magnificent Sony XBR after a few years because it "shrunk" thru the years (if you know what I mean) and bought the magnificent Pioneer Kuro. It also "shrunk" thru the I sold it about 4 months ago.

I studied the market very carefully, studied the worlds best 65" Plasmas and LCD/LED's, talked to Americas finest AV Dealers and Installers, (many of whom I sell my speakers too) read all the pro reviews from magazines and sites all around the world...and it was a no brainer. I bought the 65" version of the VT60 at a local dealer that knows me well. This Panasonic Plasma is utterly magnificent, don't let anyone tell you otherwise! The picture in THX mode is so stunningly good, with only minor tweaks to the color, contrast, and brightness modes, that I feel no real need for a pro calibration. (Yes, I know a Pro calibration would make it even better, but I'm not in a rush) I've had it about 4 months now and couldn't love the natural, creamy smooth, film like, "organic" picture anymore. Its that good!

It just massacres the LCD/LED's out there, for naturalness. If anyone tells you different, they haven't seen this one set up correctly, or they have no knowledge of film like naturalness. LCD/LED's look so fake in comparison, so "electronic" so "digital" so "paint by numbers"...never mind the crummy viewing angles, the screen uniformity issues, and the mediocre blacks.

I have no worries at all about image retention or burn in, and that's after watching tons and tons of broadcast HD, most of the channels having those stupid on screen logos. NFL, NBA, The World Series all looked gorgeous and Blu Ray discs are simply off the charts stunning!

I cant comment on the built in speakers since I've never heard them. I use a serious home theater system for sound, and I cant comment on any of the "smart" features either since I haven't tried any of them yet. I also cant comment on the 3D effect as I haven't tried it yet. I can tell you when the sound is totally off I can hear the TV's fans whirling away softly, but the minute I turn up the sound a bit, the fans become inaudible. Lastly, the Square Trade/Costco deal on the extra few years warranty is so cheap I couldn't say no...and I always say NO to extended warranties! The set doesn't have to be purchased at Costco to buy the Square Trade/Costco extended warranty.

I'll close by saying this...its incredibly sad that Panasonic cant turn a profit on Plasma and has announced they wont build anymore Plasmas as of early 2014. Dont be fooled, 4K LCD/LED still has all the traditional LCD/LED problems, and the pricing is terrible, and OLED is a few or several years away from being a mature/stable technology and the pricing is super terrible.

If you love the very best, you will love the VT60 series from Panasonic, the pricing is super fair, Consumer Reports readers report that their Panasonic Plasmas are super reliable, so get it now, as you wont be able to get it as we get into 2014.

I hope this review helps serious AV fans get and ENJOY the very best TV's in the world for 2013!
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VINE VOICEon December 7, 2013
This is a non-techy review from someone who just keeps the setting at "THX bright room".

Goodbye Plasma technology as per Panasonic dropping out and I am so glad I finally pulled the trigger so that I can have a the best viewing experience until OLED becomes affordable.

There is no buyers' remorse because this is not 4K. I sit 12 feet from the set and with a good source, I don't think anyone could tell I am "only" watching 1080p.

I went from a low end 2008, 720p 50" Panny plasma to this. Just in comparison of course almost anything I move up to will impress me. That said, I love the colors. No more garish grass or cartoon skies. Like looking out the window. Delicious.

I have absolutely no use for the camera and facial recognition features, nor the second touchpad remote. The pair of 3D glasses are still in their little plastic envelopes.

Love the ARC hdmi, because I can switch between the somewhat adequate internal speakers and the HT setup, when the wife isn't home.

No comment about the many apps or "smart" features. I think I am in the majority in never using them after the first curious exploration.
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on December 12, 2013
I have to agree with all the superlatives mentioned by other reviewers of this product. A couple of things that took some research to find, but I think will help make this Plasma TV even better, are the following:

#1) Instead of paying a professional calibrator to calibrate the TV, here's a link to settings that you can do yourself, and have the best picture quality ever!

This will REALLY help you get the best viewing experience, and prevent you from experiencing that fake-looking "soap-opera" look when watching movies, tv, etc.

#2) This TV also comes pre-loaded with ad banners. It's actually easy to turn off, so here are the instructions:

Menu > Setup > Display customization > Smart VIERA Banner >

#3) I've connected a laptop to my Plasma Panasonic VT60 using HDMI cable, and in order to get better audio, I had bought Bose® Companion® 3 Series II Multimedia Speaker Systems (I actually got them from Costco, since they were about $50 cheaper). I connected the Bose speakers to my laptop (I am not sure how to connect them directly to my new Plasma TV), but I was having trouble with the audio. Every time I played something on my laptop (and since it was connected to my Plasma, I would be able to see everything on the Plasma), the audio was NOT coming from the Bose speakers, but from the Plasma TV's speakers. I realize that HDMI cables carry both video AND audio, but I wanted to have the audio come to my Bose speakers, NOT my Panasonic Plasma TV speakers (Bose sounds soooooo much better). I realized all I had to do was fix a setting on my HP laptop, not my TV. I needed to go to the settings on my laptop under Control Panel > Sound > then choose "Speakers and Headphones" as the DEFAULT, and that fixed all my problems.

As I navigate & learn more about my new TV, I will update my post to reflect helpful hints.
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VINE VOICEon January 14, 2014
I upgraded from a Samsung LCD (LN46C650) that I had been mostly happy with, but which was a little too small for our new living room. While looking around at 60 inch TVs, I came across the universally rave reviews for the 2013 line of Panasonic plasma TVs. Praise is warranted, but with some caveats.

The Panasonic Lineup for 2013 is "XX60", where the 60 is for 2013, incremented from last year's line that was "XX50". The "XX" represents the model and starts with the S at the bottom (not really worth looking at unless you're really budget strapped), the ST60, the VT60, and the ZT60. This review mentions a previous experience with the ST60, but is for the VT60.

While 2012's line was lauded as it was, all the 2013 models have really gotten glowing reviews across the board. CNET called the ST60 it's "strongest TV recommendation ever" and that's saying a lot. The VT60 was, at the time it was reviewed, dubbed "the Kuro-Killer", because CNet (and several other sites) marked it as the first TV to surpass the venerable Pioneer Kuro, which has been the reigning champion for "best picture" among home theater geeks for several years since Pioneer left the plasma TV market. The consensus is that Panasonic has been slowly catching up (having picked up a lot of the talent that left Pioneer and 2013 was finally the year they beat the mark.

After initially upgrading to the ST60, thinking it was a better overall deal (and that's probably still true), I ended up running into audio problems. Using the Optical audio output, I found that video and sound were out of sync and even after compensating for this using the audio delay feature on the receiver, the video and sound would get out of sync as we watched content. The gap grew. In trying to do an exchange to see if I had a bad set, the ST60s were out of stock, so I ended up getting a VT60.

HOLY CRAP! The ST60 had an AMAZING picture, but the VT60 blows it out of the water. Noticeably better picture in every way. Colors are more vivid and accurate, blacks are unbelievably black if you've gotten used to an LCD/LED set (they'll remind you of CRT days!). It's a deliciously gorgeous image. The ST60 blew my old LCD HDTV away and left me stunned, while not quite the same jump, the VT60 is better enough that I'd say I wouldn't be able to go back to the ST60. From reading reviews and my own intuition, I'm willing to say the VT60's improvement of the ST60 is much greater than the ZT60's improvement over the VT60 (the ZT60 and VT60 share most of the same components as I understand).

In addition to a more advanced panel, the VT60 also comes with some extra picture preset modes that make a big difference. The THX Cinema preset is pre-calibrated (THX Certified) and is outstanding to my eyes and already has all the image processing crap turned off. This is a really nice feature over the ST60, which does require a bit of tweaking in the settings.

In addition, the VT60 comes with a better main remote control (primarily it lights up, which is a nice feature to have), an additional touch/trackpad remote to improve the smart TV features (nice to have, but not essential), and it has voice recognition (works but it's mostly a gimmick), and a built in camera (nice for using your TV for video conferencing without an additional web cam). To be honest, the smart TV features, while cool and perfectly acceptable, are less well developed than my old Samsung. But, I don't care about that. It has built-in Netflix/etc streaming, but if you want a browser and apps, you're better off just getting a 3rd party box and using that with it (iPad+Apple TV+Air Play work better than any TV's built in browser in my view). Like the ST60 and ZR60, the VT60 comes with 2 pairs of 3D glasses, and the 3D quality is better than the ST60 (although I can't vouch for that as I don't care about 3D). The ZT60 doesn't have all the other features, so this TV is a "loaded" option. If you like that, great; if you don't, then ignore them.

The cost difference between the ST60 and VT60 was once a factor of 2! At the time of this review it is a mere $300, which to me makes the upgrade well worth the extra money. Extra features aside (they're nice, but they don't really matter in the end), the picture is better enough that I know where my extra cash went and feel confident in my choice. And I tend to dwell on such things!

Happily, I'm no longer having audio sync problems. I don't know if the issue was a bad set or if it was a symptom of the ST60's input lag issues, but I'm glad to be rid of it and happy that the frustration landed me with a better set!

A few things I must address:
- The VT60 is not nearly as bad as the ST60 when it comes to input lag, but Google around and get some stats if you're a big gamer and are concerned. If you're going to watch movies, then forget all about this controversy.
- This TV is plenty bright, even in a well lit room. Unless you're watching the TV in Best Buy, or have a real light problem, you'll be fine.
- Can't attest to image retention/burn in, but don't bash plasma. I avoided a plasma last time I went TV shopping due to all the misinformation about them, but having done more research it's clear that the reputation plasmas have is based on popular misconception rather than fact. CNET has a great article dispelling plasma myths that keep people (like me) from buying them. I'm very happy I did more research this time around.
- No, Panasonic isn't making any more plasmas after this year, but they are still in the TV business and are still a solid company. Should be supported for plenty of time to come. Actually, this is a great time to buy a Panasonic. Like Pioneer, Panasonic went out of the plasma market with a big bang!
- Fan noise. Yes, the fan is loud enough to hear in a very quiet room. Most of the time, I don't notice it, even in quiet scenes, primarily because I sit far enough back and because I'm wrapped up in the movie. It's a valid criticism, and if you're easily annoyed it might annoy you. I don't think it's a huge problem, but I do wish they would have put in a quieter fan.

In Summary:
Unless you're buying the ZT60 or an OLED TV, you can't get a better picture, and the price is a steal. Thrilled with my purchase!
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on December 11, 2013
This is a preliminary review as I've only had the set for a couple days. I'm using this with a Panasonic 3D player model BDT220. I was concerned about it being too big for my party room, but Panasonic's recommended viewing distance for this TV is 6.89 feet or more. (My closest seat is 8' with my 'special' seat at 10'.) Set up was really easy as far as the TV goes. It is heavy so I had a friend help me with it. The base is solid and went together surprisingly easy. The hook ups are on the back at the left side (facing screen) of the screen and easy enough to get to.
The set comes with 2 sets of 3D glasses. There is no case for them so I would recommend getting something to put them in. I bought the "3Active Twin Storage case", but if you have children you may want something sturdier.
I also bought two extra pair of glasses, Panasonic TY-ER3D4(M/S)U, which I like better if only for the reason that they actually have a switch above the bridge of the nose to turn them on/off. The glasses that come with the TV just have an on/off button. A red light comes on when you turn them on, but then goes off so you don't really know if they are on or off without looking at a 3D image.
There are two remotes that come with the TV. One is a normal remote and is decent for a remote. The other I haven't tried yet. It allows you to use voice commands and gestures to control the TV.
There is a built in camera at the top of the TV. I haven't used this at all yet.
Since my blueray player connects with Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube I don't see myself using the TVs internet services that much. (I run my blueray player through my Denon AVR-1912 receiver with Energy Take 5.1 speakers.) I will see what it has to offer as I'm sure they've updated things since my blueray player. There is an HDMI out that I could run to my receiver or even just the optical audio out. (Sorry, thinking as I write!)

To calibrate the picture I used the Consumer Reports recommendations:
Picture Mode: CUSTOM
Contrast: 100
Brightness: 7
Color: 49
Tint: 2
Sharpness: 0
Color Temp: Warm2
Aspect Ratio: Full (H size 1, Overscan-Off) - I didn't find this one.
Motion Smotther: Weak
Panel Brightness: Mid
Color Gamut: Native
Gamma: 2.4
3:2 Pull down: On
Black Level: Light
All others either Off or 0

Some of the settings take a couple steps to get to, but other than the aspect ratio I found them all.

The screen is really clear and looks awesome! In 3D mode with the glasses, the screen dims a bit. I have black out curtains in the room, but yesterday the sun was out (yeah!) and light that seeped around the curtains caused reflection of the room when the screen was dark. During normal viewing it wasn't noticable. At night with the light on (an overhead light) it wasn't bad, but I prefer the viewing with the lights out.
First we tried to watch "Bait" in 3D. I thought it would be more 'in your face' type 3D, but you could see there where building up to it. I just didn't have the patience to wait. We watched "Avatar" and it was incredible! It really felt like you were there. This isn't my childhood fantasy of a holographic movie room, but it's pretty cool.
I watched "Mirror, Mirror" in 2D and could see how it would be really good in 3D. I turned on the conversion, 2D to 3D, and it was good, but wearing the glasses and the dimmer screen was a bit more than I was willing to put up with.

I was shopping for this or one of Samsung's plasma F5500 series TV's. The 60" Samsung has the best 3D of any TV according to Consumer Reports and both were less expensive, but this one was the only one that came down in price. That was my sole reason for choosing the Panasonic. That said, so far I'm thrilled with my choice!
As I watch this TV and learn more about it or if I have any problems I will update this review.
I hope this is helpful and will update as I learn more. I will try to answer specific questions anyone might have as well.
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on December 13, 2013
Overall, I am very pleased with the P65VT60, with a few minor caveats. Let's make a list!

1. JB Hunt delivered my television. They did a great job. Two people arrived to install the set. They did everything that I asked. Give these guys a tip if they do a good job!

2. The TV doesn't seem to have any productions flaws. I don't hear any fan noise at all. The build date is Sept 2013. I do hear some buzzing, especially on bright screens, but I have heard such buzzing on every large television that I have ever owned.

3. If you are trying to decide between a VT60 and the less expensive ST60 (which is supposedly ALMOST as good as the VT60, but not quite), be sure to compare the prices. On the day that I bought the VT60 on Amazon, the 65" version was $50 cheaper than the 65" ST60. For some reason, there seem to be DEEP discounts on the VT60, but not the ST60 or the ZT60.

4. Many on-line forums are comparing the 2013 Samsung F8500 with the 2013 Panasonic VT60/ZT60. The consensus seems to be: the Panasonics are better overall, with more accurate images and "darker" blacks, but the Samsung F8500 is brighter. Well, I have never seen the Samsung or the ZT60. But I can tell you that the VT60 is as bright as the sun. I have the contrast set on 80, and it probably needs to be dialed back a little. I watch in a room with a single window and an overhead light. It looks great in daylight, in the dark, and with the lights on. Who needs a TV to be brighter than this? Are you watching it on the beach? Are you watching a Tim Burton movie on the beach? The only issue where brightness might be a problem is 3D. I watched a few minutes of Prometheus in 3D and I guess it was kind of dark, but no darker than you see in a 3D movie theater. Perhaps the brain-searing brightness of the Samsung could help to compensate for the inherent dimness that you get with 3D glasses. 3D images look crappy anyway, though. Just get the Panasonic already.

5. Screen reflections. I have read that the VT60's screen is a little bit more reflective than some other televisions. In fact, the screen seems to be the main difference between the VT60 and the ZT60. I have not seen a ZT60 in person, but I can tell you that the VT60 does not seem any more reflective than any other plasma that I've ever dealt with. I do see some reflections when I have my window open (it is off to the left of the TV), but I do not notice reflections in a dark room, or with a bright overhead light. The reflections are not a problem in my situation.

6. Several people have mentioned a "dark vertical band" on the right side of the screen. My TV has this. Sometimes it's there, and sometimes it's not, and it's hard to spot unless you're looking at it (but not _right_ at it... kind of like the Milky Way!). I'll bet that you will see band this on every VT60 and ZT60 if you look hard enough. It is a curiosity, but it does not really make an impact on the overall image.

7. I have not had any problems with IR. I don't play videogames on the TV, but I do watch a lot of shows that have static logos and news-crawls.

8. The Netflix app with the TV works better than I expected.

9. I'm sitting about 8.5 feet from this television. It is not too close, in my opinion. Blu Ray and "good" 1080i cable material, and HD Netflix material all look fabulous, with detail to spare. Even properly mastered DVDs look pretty good. Some 1080i cable material looks pretty bad, though, including lots of sports. If you want to maximize your Blu Ray experience, 65" inch at 8.5 feet is GREAT. if you want to hide the flaws in ESPN's 1080i feed, for instance, or if you have a big DVD collection (instead of Blu Ray)... you might want to stick with a 50" television at 8.5 feet.

10. Is this TV better than a Pioneer Kuro?
Apparently, the answer to this question is "it depends." CNET has notably declared that the VT60 (and its upscale cousin, the ZT60) line of plasmas are "equal to or better than our in-house Pioneer Kuro." Pioneer Kuros, of course, were legendary for their excellent picture quality, but went out of production in 2009. You have to read between the lines a bit, though. CNET's reference Kuro was a PRO-111FD. Many videophiles believe that the PRO-111FD model did NOT represent the pinnacle of Kuro technology. That honor is generally bestowed on the 101FD and 500M models. So, while CNET's VT60s and ZT60s outperformed their Kuros, it is important to remember that the Panasonics were not compared with the "very best" Pioneer Kuros.

I own a Pioneer 500M. My 500M has a flaw... the "reddish blacks" that some people have complained about. Otherwise, its picture quality is stunning. Overall, I like my 65VT60 better than the 500M, mainly because it is larger (the 65VT60 is 65" and the 500M is 50"), but also because the Panasonic's "blacks" are extremely dark gray instead of extremely dark red.

But there are some things that are better about the Pioneer. The Panasonic seems to produce some false contouring, especially in blurry backgrounds and other "gradual" color gradients. It is most notable during pans or other motion, and in glowing things, like flashlight beams. I don't see this on the Pioneer. Part of this may be because the picture is so much larger on the Panasonic. In fact, it could be that some of this false contouring is coming from the source, rather than the TV. It is hard to tell for sure. In general, though (perhaps because of the false contouring, perhaps because of the smaller size, of perhaps because of some other factor) the Pioneer's picture just seems a little sharper and crisper, and it seems to handle things like flashlight beams and moving fog better than the Panasonic. (I should note that my Pioneer was professionally calibrated by ISF guru Chad B; I am merely using "recommended settings" for the Panasonic, at least for now. I can't imagine that an ISF calibration can remove the false contouring, though).

I would say... if you have a really nice late model Pioneer with no flaws, it would not be wise to replace it with one of these Panasonics, especially if you are replacing size-for-size. If you are going for a bigger screen like I was, or if your Pioneer has a flaw, then a larger Panasonic is a fine upgrade.

11. Overall, the Panasonic's picture is very nice, and it has become my primary home theater television.
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on December 31, 2013
I normally don't write reviews but thought I would to help those out there on the fence as to which tv to buy. I've had a few LCD tv's up to this point and this is my first plasma. After hours and hours of online reading and a couple of store visits I purchased the p65vt60 from amazon. Had planned on getting the ST but when the VT had a price drop I went with it. Thought about going with a 4k tv briefly but 4k will show a noticeable difference only on the ultra large screens. With the 65" screen size and my viewing distance it wouldn't be worth it. I mostly will cover the areas that concerned me the most from reading various reviews.

After unboxing it(very large box) and letting the tv warm up to room temperature, it was delivered on a below zero day, I turned it on and started viewing. I have not done any type of break-in and from the start watched my regular programs and movies which include shows with banners and station ID logos, no burn-in and no image retention whatsoever.

The picture is incredible, deep deep blacks really do make a difference, colors are very rich and gorgeous, quite the change coming from the dark gray blacks of my LCD that this set replaced. Right out of the box I set the tv to THX Cinema picture mode and that's good enough for me. The picture truly is amazing.

I have the tv mounted on a wall and put my ear as close as I could to the back of the set, no fan noise and no buzzing.

As far as the looks of the tv itself, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but to me it looks like a tv, I didn't buy it to be displayed as a work of art.

Speakers on it are typical tv speakers not great not terrible, I run the sound through my home theater receiver and speakers so I don't use the speakers on the tv much.

Those of you concerned about the picture being dim, to me it isn't. I have 2 big windows in the room with the cheap white mini blinds on them which let plenty if light in and the tv picture is fine for viewing. Right out of the box the tv is set to Standard picture mode and that setting is dim, just change to one of the THX modes or use a custom setting.

There is a little reflection on the screen if the lights are on and you happen to sit were you can see them. How much reflection? More so than a matte screened LCD but less than a glossy one, I've had both so that's what my reference is and it doesn't bother me.

I haven't played with the apps too much and don't plan to other than Netflix which loads fast and has played flawlessly.

A few reviewers mentioned the ads which play when certain remote buttons are pushed, yes they are there, from what I had read I was expecting a long full screen ad but they are very short and small, I didn't even notice them for a week but if they bother you they are very easy to turn off.

That's about it, just wanted to cover the areas that seem to be the most discussed, didn't get very detailed since there are some very good detailed reviews out there both amateur and pro. This is just my experience with the vt60 and my only regret is that I didn't get one sooner.

At night I turn the lights off, put in a blu ray and still marvel at the picture.
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