When in THX mode, a number of picture adjustments are grayed (locked) out. We suggest going with the THX mode first, which produces a first-rate picture (albeit only after the color level is cranked down), and then after a while, the more adventurous can choose the Custom setting, which opens up all the other picture adjustment choices, where they’ll be free to twiddle and tweak to gauge the effects (good or bad) of the other adjustment modes (the Custom setting also carries over the main settings from the THX mode).
3D Blu-ray Evaluation: Coraline
This animated film makes good use of the 3D effect, with very good depth manipulation, while at the same time avoiding gimmicky 3D over-use. While the 3D glasses attenuate the picture brightness somewhat, when the set switches to 3D mode the overall picture brightness is bumped up to compensate. The combo of the GT25 plasma and the companion Panasonic 3D eyewear provided a very smooth, flicker-free effect, with 3D imaging that’s notably superior to the typical 3D movie theater experience (which almost always use passive, polarized 3D eyewear that can’t provide the level of left/right stereoscopic separation that active shutter 3D systems offer).
Usually with THX certified displays the default main picture settings are usually right where they should be, or at least very close. The GT25’s color saturation is an exception, as at the default setting the set produced a picture that was way too color-rich (over saturated). Turning the color down by a goodly amount put things to right. As far as color accuracy is concerned, the Panasonic delivered a virtually perfect score on the color gamut measurement test (one of the key criteria for obtaining THX certification). While this Panasonic doesn’t have a THX picture mode for 3D, the automatically substituted Cinema mode retains the same key picture settings, and looks very good indeed (the brightness is automatically bumped up to counter the eyewear’s light attenuation).
As with all of the 2D content I viewed, the Panasonic delivered excellent blacks in 3D mode. Coraline has images that emphasize black details in abundance as a number of the doll-like characters feature black buttons for eyes, which are indeed jet black. Happily, rendering jet-black details is a strength of plasma sets in general and the GT25 in particular.
Compared to LCD set, which often crush dark grays into black, the GT25 exhibited no such fault, which isn’t surprising since this is another area where plasma usually excels. In a scene where the titular character is locked in a basement dungeon of sorts, the dark gray shadow images around her are clearly visible.
None noted, although if one sits too close to the screen, one may notice a randomized moving dark and lighter pixel effect on full screen solid colors, which is a method of modulating (dithering) the saturation of colors at very low picture levels, a technique found on some other plasma sets. It was especially noticeable with a companion Panasonic 3D Blu-ray player’s dim blue splash screen. At a normal viewing distance, it’s invisible, and is there to prevent color banding, an aberration which would be quite noticeable and distracting.
Broadcast HDTV Evaluation: Mad Men (AMC via Dish Network)
Right from the opening credits, the GT25 delivered a wonderfully crisp and sharp picture. Curiously, the 1:1 mode, which provides true 1920 x 1080 resolution without overscan, is called Full. There’s another screen sizing choice called Just, but unlike some other sets (like some Samsung models, which offer a 1:1 mode called Just Scan), this mode isn’t true 1:1 as it has some overscan.
Here again, the GT25’s default color saturation is way over the top, giving the characters an overly tanned look that is completely out of place. When turned down (the 35 setting worked best, as opposed to the default 50 setting), the color quality improves tremendously, restoring believability to this wonderfully colorful series. Here, less is definitely more.
The animated title sequence has a black outline of the show’s Dan Draper character tumbling down the side of an office building and is gorgeously inky black, as you would expect from a highly evolved plasma such as the GT25.