Runco PlasmaWall PL-61cx 61-Inch HD Monitor Page 2
For optimum viewing of NTSC sources, I recommend that you sit at least 10 feet from the panel. For DVD viewing, I sat back about 11.5 feet from the PL-61cx. After I calibrated the panel, I watched scenes from Star Trek: Insurrection, The Professional, and the awesomely colorful Shakespeare in Love. As with all of the plasma sets on the market, the PL-61cx's weakest link is its black-level (shadow-detail) performance. While you can get an acceptable PLUGE by setting the brightness properly (even floating the black level slightly didn't expose the blacker-than-black bar on the PLUGE pattern), very dark scenes exhibit what some of us in the industry refer to as false contouring, which manifests itself as moving blotches of artifacts on or near black images.
False contouring was most noticeable at the very beginning of the "Montage of Images" sequence on Video Essentials, which is a black-level torture test for display devices. The problem was also somewhat evident along the left and right edges of the picture in chapter 11 of Shakespeare in Love. In fairness to Runco, virtually all plasmas exhibit false contouring to some degree or another, and the PL-61cx is better than most in this regard. I attribute Runco's superior performance in this area to the PFP-11's 10-bit video processing.
On brighter scenes, the PL-61cx really pops. For a plasma set, its color fidelity is awesome, as various scenes from Shakespeare in Love revealed. With a display device that can render this DVD properly, subtle differences in skintone color and different shades of the same color are clearly evident, and the PL-61cx definitely passed muster here. Again, it's the processor that's responsible for color decoding.
When I watched 1080i sources, I shortened my viewing distance to just under 8 feet. I calibrated the gray scale and set the black level with test patterns from my AccuPel HDTV signal generator. One of the D-VHS tapes I watched was a KCTS Seattle recording featuring shots of some of America's big metropolitan cities like Seattle, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Again, a dark scene at the Jefferson Memorial revealed significant false contouring, but it's important to note that this only became objectionable during very dark scenes when the picture was nearly or completely black.
During bright scenes on the same tape, the picture was absolutely stunning, with eye-popping detail and deep, richly saturated color. The PL-61cx revealed incredibly fine detail in some rural-farmland scenes and reproduced minute details like leaves on trees and individual blades of grass extremely well. Simply put, HDTV looked spectacular on this panel.
The PFP-11's excellent color decoding, 3:2 pulldown, and 10-bit video processing make the PL-61cx one of the best-looking large-screen plasma displays on the market, especially with NTSC sources. If you're looking for the best plasma performance in the largest possible screen size, the Runco PL-61cx is currently the biggest and the baddest available.
• The largest plasma panel on the market
• With a native resolution of 1,366 by 768, the PL-61cx has the highest resolution of any plasma panel available