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Panasonic TH42PH9 Review

by Vincent Teoh
24 February 2007

th42ph9

Panasonic and Pioneer are the current leaders when it comes to plasma HDTV panels both in technological advancement and sales volume. The rivalry between these two AV giants mirrors that of Intel and AMD: one may pip the other with a new release in the short term, but the one who's trailing will remain in touching distance, safe in the knowledge that their own next update will give them the lead again.

TH42PH9 is the most affordable 9th generation high-definition commercial plasma display screen from Panasonic. Originally intended for commercial and industrial use (e.g. airports, shopping malls), these units have curiously found their way into home theatre settings because of their superior video processing, minimalist design and "tweakability".

However, there are significant trade-offs. Compared to the consumer versions sold on the high street, these commercial panels do not come with internal TV tuner, speaker or stand. Connectivity is also limited, as you need to purchase and install the input boards separately (akin to a PC) before you can link up your source to the plasma, ultimately adding to the cost of a functional unit.

It's worth noting that the Panasonic TH42PH9 – with a native resolution of 1024x768 – barely passes the minimum specification required for a HD-ready display as outlined by EICTA (see "Why We Love 1080p"). During the course of this review, we will stack the TH42PH9 up against full-HD-capable (1920x1080) LCD TVs which admittedly look more appealing at this sub-£1200 price point.

 


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Questions/Comments

John C says: 02/26/2007 - 08:12

Where can I buy this for 1015?
Vincent says: 02/27/2007 - 17:23

You can get it for this price from AV Sales.
Bruno says: 03/07/2007 - 12:38

Here is an interesting 50 inch Panasonic plasma that supports 1080p:
TH-50PF9EK
http://www.utram.com/~tests/medias/Ecrans_Plats/PANASONIC_TH-50PF9EK%20FHD.pdf
Bruno says: 03/07/2007 - 12:41

Have you detected any false contouring ?
Vincent Teoh says: 03/09/2007 - 00:17

@Bruno: At the moment we're buying the HDTVs ourselves for review purposes, so the TH50PF9 is currently out of our reach... much as we'd like to get our hands on this 1080p plasma.

I haven't seen any posterisation on the TH42PH9BK that could not be attributable to the source.

Olivier says: 04/06/2007 - 09:11

Hello,

First of all I would like to commend you for this website.
After months of looking at various websites and forums, it's a great pleasure to finally find a useful, simple - no frills reviewing website for hd television.
I find your methodolgy to be very comprehensive and detailed. (though i would happily look at pictures whe it comes to comparing image quality)

I recently read your review of the Panasonic 42PH9 and was quite impressed with what you had to say about it.
I have been looking for a flat screen TV for a while now but had been delaying due to the purchase of an appartment.
Now that the appartment has been purchased and i know the viewing distance will be approximately 3.5-4 meters, I'm focusing on 40-42 inch tv's.

About a year ago, an enthusiast had told me that a plasma (fujistu or panasonic - screen only) coupled with a scaler (lumagen, DVDO or other) was the best way to go about it.

Since then we've seen the explosion of 1080i and 1080p capable LCD's, and I had been leaning towards such an option: considering such TV's as the sony KDL 40x2000 available for 1900 from amazon. (i noticed you tested and reviewed the W series which has made a good impression on me)

I am sure you can see my question coming a mile away:
I would curious to know if considering the next 2 to 5 years of HD content the panasonic PH9 (on its own or coupled with a 1080p capable scaler - which would downscale to the screens resolution) is a better option when the focus will be watching films (DVD's, HD DVDs or Blu Ray, sky HD) and sports (in SD and HD) than other screens such as the sony (W or X series), sharp or Panasonic pf series.

Thank you very much for your input.

Kind Regards

Olivier
Mark says: 04/16/2007 - 15:06

The pedestal stand pictured on the Introduction page is not the TY-ST08-S.

It looks more like the TY-ST42PW7.