Panasonic had a very interesting demonstration at the Panasonic Convention 2013 in Nice. A legendary Pioneer Kuro KRP-600A, a Panasonic ZT60 (the new flagship) and a Panasonic VT50 (last year’s flagship) were placed side-by-side. Can Panasonic finally beat Pioneer’s Kuro?
Panasonic ZT60 Vs. Pioneer Kuro
Panasonic ZT60 is not just any TV. It is Panasonic’s most ambitious TV to date. It is a limited edition that has been assembled by hand and comes with a signature from its creator. It is also Panasonic’s first TV with a “Studio Master” panel that has been calibrated from the factory.
But does it mean that Panasonic can finally beat Pioneer’s much older Kuro TVs, as the reference TV? Panasonic felt confident in Nice; so confident that they had actually arranged a side-by-side comparison between the Pioneer Kuro, their own ZT60 and last year’s VT50. Please do not put too much meaning into the photos. It was very difficult to take pictures during the presentation in the dimly lit room and we did not have all our equipment with us.
Pioneer Kuro (left) vs. Panasonic ZT60 (right)
We stayed there for some time, just watching. When the others left, we stayed. Here is what we saw in Panasonic’s dark-room comparison:
Panasonic ZT60 matched the Kuro in black depth reproduction
Fast motion reproduction was better on Panasonic ZT60 compared to Pioneer’s Kuro. We especially noticed how ZT60 exhibited less phosphor trailing during panoramic motion demos
Panasonic ZT60 had a bit more details in the dark areas (but the Kuro was not calibrated)
Colors were a bit more intense on the ZT60 at times but we have no prior experience with the image material used in the demo so we do not know if that is necessarily a good thing
Both TVs still suffered from too much “pixel noise” when viewed from a short distance
Pioneer Kuro (left), Panasonic ZT60 (center) and Panasonic VT50 (right)
That said, we also have to stress that the Pioneer Kuro on display had a bit more faded colors that what we are used to from the Kuro TVs. Panasonic was very open and told us that they had basically looked far and wide. After weeks they found a used Kuro that was owned by an enthusiastic user (so it probably has been used quite extensively). They bought it. Panasonic had not fiddled with the settings, a fact we were able to confirm after seeing the menu.
Panasonic ZT60 is very, very promising based on the demonstration we saw. Has it dethroned Pioneer’s Kuro? Do we have a new king? It is certainly a possibility, but we need more time with the ZT60 to reach a conclusion.