Panasonic ZT60 leads 2013 Viera plasma TV line-up
Posted on 11 Feb 2013 at 18:01, by David Ludlow
UPDATE: Includes more UK-specific information from the European Panasonic Convention 2013
Panasonic unveiled its full line up of Full HD plasma TVs for the UK market, with the brand-new ZT60 topping out the range.
Available as a 60in (TC-P60ZT60) version in the UK (the 65in version will not be available), the Panasonic ZT60 is designed to be the company's most feature-packed television, producing the best image quality.
Several new technologies are included in the set, including the elimination of the air gap between the glass front and the plasma panel. With the Panasonic ZT60, the glass front is now directly attached to the plasma panel. We've seen this process on LCD screens before, but not with plasma. Panasonic is promising that this new process will produce brighter images.
The new panel is also designed to reduce reflections, increasing contrast and black level. A new pure red phosphor helps increase the colour gamut, while a completely new phosphor process and rear-panel process give the Panasonic ZT60 a 100,000-hour life, before the set reduces to half brightness.
In demonstrations, the set certainly looks impressive. Side-by-side with last year's VT plasma, the ZT is leagues ahead. It's blacks, in particular, are much darker. For enthusiasts, it's looking as though the ZT is going to be set to buy this year.
The design has been overhauled and, we have to say, the new look is much more stylish than any Panasonic TV that's gone before. It should be available in the UK in May with a price of around £4,000. It will be a limited edition, although the number of sets to be manufactured hasn't been released.
In addition, Panasonic announced the new VT60 range, the previous high-end models. There were three sizes announced: the 55in TC-P55VT60, 60in TC-P60VT60 and 65in TC-P65VT60.
It shares the same full range of Panasonic Smart Viera 2013 features as the ZT60, but has a traditional air-gap between the glass front and plasma panel. It has the same range of Smart Viera features as the ZT60, including dual tuners.
Noticeably missing from the CES 2013 launch was the GT range. In the UK, at least, the GT range has been our favourite, neatly balancing picture quality and features against price.
We're pleased to say that the GT range hasn't gone away and it will be back in the UK this year. It should have very similar image quality to the VT60 range, although it misses out dual tuners for Smart Viera.
We have to say that the introduction of the ZT60 means that the GT60 isn't quite the neat fit that it used to be. The GT60 will be available in 42in and 50in screen sizes.
The ST60 remains the entry-level 3D plasma, with the sets available in four sizes: the 50in TC-P50ST60, 55in TC-P55ST60, 60in TC-P60ST60 and 65in TC-P65ST60.
This TV has a more entry-level panel, although we'll save judgement for when we've actually had chance to see one in the flesh.
Completing the model line up and giving you the only option if you don’t want 3D is the X60, available in 42in and 50in screen sizes. It uses an older Plasma panel is a far more basic set. Given how well priced the ST60 is, the X60 could be a tough sell.
All of the TVs will be available shortly and we'll bring you full reviews as soon as we can.
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