Before we dive into the Blu-ray pool, let's briefly run through DisplayMate's and HQV's results. We know that the Full-HD VT20S is capable of solid blacks and accurate grays. Picture quality was a little overstated on the Normal preset but calibration fixed that. HQV warned us about the TV's lackluster noise reduction algorithms and 24p processing, although its de-interlacing and motion handling engines were undoubtedly positive. For that matter, similar results were gathered on Corpse Bride. Black levels were astounding, meaning we were looking at black renditions almost as deep as the letterbox bars themselves. One of the biggest challenges facing TV manufacturers is the ability to marry picture detail with deep black levels. Suffice to say, Panasonic has managed to accomplish that on the NeoPDP panels now armed with Infinite Black Pro, which includes a new filter to fend off ambient lights, plus larger plasma cells to pull greater luminance punches. That said, we reckon this feature could be closely related to the bought over patents from Pioneer's Kuro technology, if we may hazard a guess.
On Vantage Point, we paid closer attention to color reproduction and how the TV coped with moving images. Colors leaned towards warmer hues, but only just. Hues were less plump in THX mode, but nonetheless ideal for those unable to calibrate the VT20S. Back to the Normal calibrated preset, we can't dispute the PDP's outstanding visuals, attention to detail and jet-black pitch. If your eyes are more forgiving, you can also turn up the brightness a notch without sacrificing much in black levels. Moreover, we didn't have to meddle too much with the advanced RGB values to garner a decent picture. Other observations, such as "trailing" tendencies were also non-existent on Panasonic's refreshed breed of short-persistence phosphors. On the contrary, signs of image retention did persist with still images. To minimize this effect, set the Side Panel's setting to "High" if you can help it. The Intelligent Frame Creation feature did smooth out the occasional judder, but we have yet to see any form of active cadence detection on Panasonic's PDPs although the specs sheet might claim otherwise. All things considered, we conclude that the VT20S is one heck of a promising PDP which truly shines with Blu-ray content for the most part.
The VT20S promises 1080 moving lines of picture resolution and a 600Hz Sub-field Drive. In real world conditions, this would translate to Full-HD glory with moving sequences, and 12 replicated sub-fields for each frame assuming it's from a 50Hz feed. They sound awfully delicious, but what about the VIERA's upscaling powers? In a nutshell, the VT20s did very well with standard definition videos. Tested with the X-Men: The Last Stand DVD, upscaled images were translated convincingly on the 50-inch screen, plus the TV did not introduce unnecessary artifacts from the 480i source along the way. As established by HQV, the VT20S de-interlacing capability was beyond questioning and motion handling was superb as well. Apart from the minor grievances, it does look like a win-win situation on both Blu-ray and SD assessments. Audio wise, the dual 10W speakers and woofer packed quite a hefty thump. If you are looking for a wider spatial effect, go with V-Audio ProSurround instead of the V-Audio Surround setting.