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Panasonic Viera TH-65PV600A

This 65-inch, 1080p addition to the Viera range was designed to partner Panasonic's first Blu-ray player, the DMP-BD10.

Upside
Well, if you were waiting for Panasonic to introduce a bigger plasma screen, this is it. The TH-65PV600A offers up a whopping 65-inch, HD panel with 1920 x 1080 progressive resolution (1080p). It was specifically designed to display full high definition from Blu-ray signals, without downscaling.

All of the key devices in the 65-inch plasma panel are manufactured by Panasonic in-house, from panels to processors and drivers. According to Panasonic, these 'black box' technologies enhance the TV's ability to handle fast-paced movement and produce dynamic contrast, crisp images and natural colours.

The TH-65PV600A incorporates the full lineup of Viera technologies common across the range -- including a 9th generation plasma panel, Viera 3D Colour Management, a 1080p digital re-mastering processor, and Panasonic's Real Black Drive with Deep Black Filter and Contrast Management System.

It has a three-way speaker system with SRS TruSurround XT, but this TV cries out for an external surround system such as Panasonic's matching SB-TP1000.

The TH-65PV600A has three HDMI terminals, a PC input, an SDHC-capable (Secure Digital High Capacity) SD card slot and Panasonic's Viera Link device control functionality.

Downside
Luscious as the images are on this television, its size and extra resolution does not come cheap. Harking back a few years to the stratospheric prices of when plasma TVs were first introduced in this country, get set to pay AU$17,499 for this model.

Another disappointment is that there is no built-in digital tuner. If you want to watch HD broadcasts, you're still going to need an external set top box.

Outlook
Very big screen, beautiful picture, but surely the price is destined to tumble for those who are prepared to wait for 1080p to become more mainstream. If the price doesn't faze you and you want to be one of the first to jump on the Blu-ray bandwagon, it's a very nice television to team with a new next-gen video player, such as Panasonic's compatible DMP-BD10.

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