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(Pocket-lint) - Panasonic's been showing off what its top of the range ZT60 plasma telly is capable of at its annual showcase in Nice, France.

Pocket-lint was on hand and able to get up close and personal with the limited-run 60-inch TV. Although there's no official figure, a Panasonic representative estimated a 20,000 worldwide run of the ZT60 - so if you want one you'd best get that order in fast.

And there's plenty of reason to want one. The large-panel screen was displayed side by side with a Pioneer Kuro KRP-600A to show off the Panasonic's alleged "beyond reference" black levels and picture quality.

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Perhaps "the new reference" would make more sense because, despite no knowledge of how the two tellies had been set up, we have the say that to our eyes the Panasonic appeared the better of the two in its display of rich, deep black levels.

What's so special about the ZT60 then? Panasonic's removed the gap of air between the front glass panel of the TV and plasma itself to cut back on internal reflection and produce a brighter picture.

The TV also has an extended colour gamut that covers 98 per cent of the DCI (digital cinema initiative) spectrum. In addition there are 30,729 steps of gradation which is five times the amount of a more standard HD set, while the 3,000Hz "focused field drive" smooths motion.

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It all shows in the picture. Pair this bad boy with a top of the line Blu-ray player that can deliver a 30MB/s signal and we can't think of much that would make a movie look better. However in the example we saw, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, was showing plenty of single pixel colour spots in the detail.

Price-wise it's thought that around £4k - that's British pounds, not, unfortunately, resolution - that will secure this mega plasma come its early summer launch. Each model comes with its own booklet complete with individual number and engineer signature to welcome you into the elite club.

Writing by Mike Lowe.