Panasonic TH-65VX100U Plasma Monitor Setup & Tests
Many of my initial observations were made before I calibrated the set, with the Color Temp set to Warm. The subjective improvement of calibration, shown in "Measurements," was relatively subtle but still worthwhile. Except as otherwise noted, all sources were viewed with an HDMI connection.
You might imagine that the Monitor setting of the Picture Menu would be the most accurate. But as noted earlier, it sets the Contrast control to a fixed, non-adjustable value, producing a darker picture than most home users are likely to tolerate. It might be a comfortable option for the video professional accustomed to watching a pro CRT monitor. The best pro CRT monitors use phosphors with very accurate colors, but the most accurate phosphors are quite dim. The Monitor setting appears to be designed to duplicate this low-brightness look. It worked for me on some program material, but the Cinema setting (with appropriate tweaks of the user video controls) was the best-looking option under most normal viewing conditions.
Panasonic claims a world-leading 18-bit video processor for this set. I tested its 480i-to-1080p upconversion using HQV Benchmark on DVD and a component connection (recall that the set will not accept 480i over HDMI). It performed well, ranging from good to (more often) excellent on all but one test—it did not smoothly handle a 2:2 cadence, which is used for video-based sources. It was also a little slower than normal in grabbing a mixed-content cadence (a video scroll over a filmed background), but held it once it locked on.
On our 1080i-to-1080p video processing tests using an unpublished test disc from Microsoft engineer Stacey Spears, the set again failed to properly handle a 2:2 cadence. But on all the other HD video processing tests, from 3:2 pulldown to scenes from real program material of known quality, it consistently scored from good to excellent.