Published On: October 26, 2008

Runco PlasmaWall XP-65DHD 65-Inch Plasma HDTV Reviewed

Published On: October 26, 2008

Runco PlasmaWall XP-65DHD 65-Inch Plasma HDTV Reviewed

For those of you looking for performance and service that is better than a set from other companies, look no further than this model from Runco. The picture is better than most other large plasma sets. It has THX certification and is even available in a model specifically designed for high altitude locations...

runco_plasmawall.jpgSo you are asking yourself, “Self, why in the world would anyone in their right mind buy an $18,000 65-inch plasma HDTV, when 65-inch plasmas from very well known, very reputable high-tech video manufacturers cost easily $10,000 less? Is there a subculture of people who have read one too many issues of The Robb Report and/or their hedge fund has been buying oil futures all year while shorting bank stocks?” In reality, for wealthy people who want truly want the best of the best, Runco caters to their every video need. Runco makes THX-certified plasma HDTVs that, thanks to the external video processor, can clean up many of the maladies that make your average (and honestly quite expensive in their own right) plasmas look so lame in compared to the picture possible with a front video projector.

Additional Resources
• Read more plasma HDTV reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com’s staff.
• Find a Blu-ray player to get the most out of the XP-65DHD.

The Runco PlasmaWall XP-65DHD is a massive set that pushes the limits of how large you might ever want a flat HDTV to be. Much beyond 65 inches, the cost-benefit analysis would push any rational person towards some solution that involved a front projector either with a drop-down screen or inverted and beamed onto something like Stewart Filmscreen’s very cool Starglas material. First off, Runco is respectably a no-bullshit company that doesn’t over-hype their statistics, which is to be absolutely commended.

They are also much more of a Mom and Pop shop in terms of customer service, despite the fact they recently got bought by a publicly-traded company last year. The customer service you will get from a Runco dealer today will be nothing short of topnotch. Runco trains their dealers year-long how to calibrate their sets (and projectors) to industry standards and beyond. Just from tweaking the knobs, they can make a plasma look better than anything you buy at Circuit City and Best Buy. Considering the price they charge, you should expect this type of hand-holding. The picture of the Runco XP-65DHD is simply superior to what you find at the mass-market level. Blacks are blacker. Noise, a big problem on everyone else’s 65-inch plasmas, especially towards the edge of the sets, is not prevalent. Color saturation is better and more accurate. Runco’s plasmas are set up correctly. Unlike HDTVs designed to look good under sodium lights at a warehouse store like Costco, Runco HDTVs last years and years longer.

Read about the high points and the low points of the XP-65DHD on Page 2.
runco_plasmawall.jpgHigh Points
• The picture is better on a Runco than on other
large plasma 1080p HDTVs. Yes, it is an incremental difference and if
“good” is good enough for you, then you are not a Runco type of client.
If you are looking for the best, blackest, highest-contrast,
longest-lasting and most feature-laden 65-inch plasma HDTV, then this
uber-plasma is something worth paying for.
• Runco has programs that
accommodate the latest and most sought-after aspect ratios, despite the
native 16×9 shape of the screen. Don’t get me wrong – for CNN HD and
ESPN HD, 16×9 is great, but it’s nice to have an HDTV that also can
make your Blu-ray movies look the way the director wanted.
• THX certification for video is tougher than their audio certification. Most video companies can’t cut the mustard. Runco can.

Runco, unlike nearly every other company that sells big HDTVs,
personally cares for your business and is willing to set you up
correctly with specifically designed ISF calibration modes and customer
service that puts Sony and Pioneer (who make fine HDTVs for WAY less
money) to shame.
• For those of you living in Denver, Tahoe or even
in that Alaskan village where Sarah Palin can see Russia from, Runco
makes a high-altitude version of this set. Believe it or not, above a
certain altitude, there are serious problems that face video plasmas.
Runco is all over it with a meaningful solution that is tested and
ready for your 16,000-square-foot chalet in Aspen or for your screening
at Sundance.

Low Points
• Some in-the-know video
calibrators aren’t terribly fond of Runco’s external video processors,
compared to other products on the market such as DVDO’s VP50 Pro or the
Faroudja processors that come with Meridian front projectors. With the
Runco system, you are forced to use their processor, which was honestly
pretty darn good in my testing of the unit.
• There aren’t a ton of
HDMI inputs on the Runco XP-65DHD. The unit actually connects to the
video processor via HDCP copy-protected DVI cable. You will likely want
to use your AV preamp to manage your HDMI inputs in a Runco-based
system, as that is the only way to get the HD audio, such as DTS Master
Audio and Dolby TrueHD, from your Blu-ray disc into your speakers, as
well as 1080p video into your Runco 65-inch plasma.

Conclusion
Simply
put the Runco PlasmaWall XP-65DHD is one of the best plasma HDTVs at 65
inches that you will ever see. At $18,000, you have every right to
expect that level of performance, all of the personal attention and
calibration that comes from investing in a video monitor from a Runco
dealer, as well as third-party verification from companies like THX.
With vibrant colors, low noise and the blackest blacks, the Runco
XP-65DHD is as good as it gets in the big plasma market.

Additional Resources
• Read more plasma HDTV reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com’s staff.
• Find a Blu-ray player to get the most out of the XP-65DHD.

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