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Panasonic TH42PX70 Review

by Colin Tang
21 March 2007
Paasonic TH42PX70
First impressions...you decide

Buying a TV today isn't what it used to be. A few years ago, you had to choose between a CRT and... another CRT; there wasn't a lot of choice. Granted there were front projectors and RPTVs (rear-projection) back then but they never caught the public's imagination or enjoyed mainstream success. These days, there's a new wave of slim, sexy, wall mounting panels competing furiously for that space where your CRT once stood, all of them claiming to be your best viewing companion for many years to come. With so many different features and technology on offer, how can you find that perfect partner?

Panasonic announced their 10th generation plasma display at CES earlier this year, promising 1080p processing, better picture quality and up-to-date connectivity. It's clearly targeted at the 'golden market' for affordability and so it would be interesting to see if Panasonic kept up the standards at this lower price point. We got hold of the TH42PX70 as soon as it was unleashed to put it on the rack, just for you...

Update 25 March 2010: The TH42PX70 has long since been discontinued by Panasonic. For a current plasma from Panasonic, please have a look at the TX-P42G20B.

 


Discuss this article at our new HDTVTest forum


Questions/Comments

Carl Hoefer says: 03/23/2007 - 11:58

Question: is there a refresh-rate setting in the setup menus somewhere? I saw pictures of the PX70 from a German AV forum where the panel was in setup mode, and it seemed to have such a setting - and 100HZ was the option selected!

I think everyone would like to know what this is about . . .

Thanks,
CH
Henri says: 03/24/2007 - 05:39

Can you do a thorough test of SD quality and if false contouring still exists. The false contouring was for me the major reason not to buy a TH42PV60.
Colin Tang says: 03/24/2007 - 07:54

@ Carl
We didn't see the 100hz drive mode option in our setup menu and looking through the manual briefly, it wasn't there either. I am not sure why there is a difference but I will be checking out their website for some more information.

@ Henri
False contouring is a tricky business as there are a few causes that can produce banding in the final picture. We always look for it, but explaining it may not be that easy.
woz says: 03/24/2007 - 11:21

im thinkin of buying this model next week. i just brought myself the ps3 and with the whole 1080p thing is it any good? im not just a gaming fan but also into my movies and my budget is under 1000 and i've seen it online for 985 inc del. is this the best option for my next-gen console?
thanks
Vidya Ranjit says: 03/24/2007 - 15:07

Is the "purple snake" problem resolved in this model?

thanks.
Silver Serpent says: 03/24/2007 - 18:14

@Vidya Ranjit:

The Purple Snake problem still exists, but could only be seen from a viewing distance of 2 feet during initial tests.

See First Impressions review here for more information:

http://www.hdtvtest.co.uk/news/2007/03/21/th42px70-first-impressions/

If they are only visible from 2 feet, then there will be alot of happy people with this set, as nobody will be watching from that distance.
neill says: 03/25/2007 - 09:07

hey Colin there is a Polish website claiming that SD on the px70 is effectively rubbish, and gets blown out the water by Pioneer, it has printed pictures comparing them both and claims that this is a poor set, not up to the standards of previous models. Sounds like complete rubbish to me, why would Panasonic suddenly produce poor quality sets, it would destroy their reputation........

http://www.hdtv.com.pl/forum/showthread.php?t=12044&page=26

what are your comments on this?
langbarb says: 03/26/2007 - 03:14

Thanks for the comments. With regard to SD how does it compare with other TVs, in particular Pioneed 427XD, sony W2000, Sharp XD1E and Samsung F71? And how does it compare to the previous Panasonic version PX60?

Thanks
Carl Hoefer says: 03/26/2007 - 04:19

@Colin,

I looked on the German Panasonic site, didn't see anything about 100hz. Info was pretty sketchy, to be honest. Tell us if you find anything yourself.

To see what I'm talking about, look at the 7th picture down on this page:

http://www.hifi-forum.de/viewthread-149-2286.html

or go directly to the pic:

http://img503.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc00012gx3.jpg
jop welling says: 03/26/2007 - 05:38

dear Colin,

for starters; thank you for putting so much effort in testing this plasma. I've got 2 questions for you; Is this pannel the same as the th42pv70? I live in Holland and the 2007 model is PV70. Is it possible to callibtrate the pannel with a test dvd like Digital Video Essentials? Or does it really need an expert to do that?

regards Jop.
Michael Griffin says: 03/26/2007 - 06:29

Black level retention unstable? You've gotta be kidding me - Panasonic *still* insists on that awful black level stuff?

You might say its not noticeable in normal viewing, but I can assure you that as soon as you dim all the lights and watch a movie in a dark room, that can annoy you like crazy - it particularly rears its head when the screen goes from pitch black to have a tiny amount of image on screen, e.g. opening credits. You see the screen go from pitch dark to being a sort of very dark grey, and it is *very* noticeable and *very* annoying! :( Looks like I'll be avoiding Panasonic AGAIN.
john says: 03/26/2007 - 09:33

Hi
Can you help??I want to purchace a 40-42in lcd/plasma TV,but am really confused by all the different features and technologies.I have been in all the TV outlets looking at the sets for the last six months,sometimes the same ones day after day?My partner thinks i am going round the bend,i sometimes think she has a point.She hasnt yet seen me stood in the newsagents and hours online looking at reviews. But 1000 plus is not easily come by and my purchase is something i will be looking at every day for maybe the next 10years.
My criteria are looks and picture quality.I will be using the TV to watch mainly standard definition thro freeview(i have bt vision) with the odd dvd.I am very much aware about future proofing and do not want to spend the money on something which may be obsolete a few years down the line.
My shortlist of sets(which i like the looks of)are Panasonic TH42PX70 ,Pioneer PDP4270XD,Samsung LE40F71BX and Sony KDL40W2000.I know that you have reviewed all of these,but still find it difficult.I could do with each one in my living room for a few days to decide!!
Which,in your opinion would be the best option of these for my requirements?Im aware that some are 1080p and some 720p,but will this affect me now and say in the next 5 years.Hope you can help,i appreciate how difficult this is.
Thanks
scott says: 03/26/2007 - 10:18

so the big question alot of us want to know is the px70 an improvement over the px60
Gizmo360 says: 03/26/2007 - 11:04

you say that they sacrificed internal scaling and deinterlacing on this model ! does the PX700 also have this missing ?

straight answer please ! TH42PX70 or PDP-427XD !!
please .............
Vincent says: 03/26/2007 - 13:10

Colin's gone AWOL at the moment so I'll take the flak:

Without knowing what goes behind the scenes, we cannot draw any meaningful conclusions from the pictures on the Polish HDTV forum. When performing side-by-side comparison, you need to make sure that:

1) The same source material is distributed evenly to the competing TVs using the same connection interface (ideally digital e.g. HDMI);

2) Each TV is calibrated to the best of their capabilities according to the standards set by ISF.

Here at HDTVTest we use a Gefen distribution amplifier to feed the TVs without signal degradation, and we spend more than a few days painstakingly calibrating the HDTVs in a typical home environment until we're satisfied that they are displaying the best picture quality possible.

To do anything less would be an injustice: it's like forcing Roger Federer to play using his non-dominant left hand (no doubt he'll still beat me, but will he beat Nadal?). It's like asking you to compare an Aston Martin, a Volkswagen Golf GTI and a Ford Focus – all filled with the same cheap Tesco petrol and only allowed to engage first gear – and choose which is the best. Unfair and utterly pointless.

Which brings me to my next point: when people start making judgments on TVs based on what they see in the stores. I'll tell you why TVs are set the way they are in the stores: because they sell. Research has proven it: consumers like brighter pictures with high colour temperature ("wow! it looks so vibrant!") with some sharpening thrown in for good measure ("wow! the picture looks sharper and more detailed!"). Instinct draws us towards these TV sets, even though the pictures are in no way similar to what the directors' intended you to see (i.e. not accurate).

So the next time someone says "I saw this TV in Currys and it's cack compared to the one next to it 'coz it's got poorer blacks/ looks softer with less detail', ask him:

1) Did he bring along any calibration discs or instruments to calibrate the TV?
2) If so, how did he control the ambient lighting (most stores are brightly-lit, and have lots of competing TVs switched on at the same time) to such an extent that he could set the black level properly to make an informed judgment?
3) How did he know that TV has been given sufficient time to run in? Or that it hasn't been abused with maximum brightness and contrast?
4) What is the sharpness settings on the TV? Has it been (over)applied, so the detail that he thinks he's seeing is in fact artificial sharpening?

I could go on and on and give you 101 reasons why assessing a HDTV in stores is not an accurate representation of what the HDTV can achieve in the comfort of your own home, but I won't. Instead, I'll focus on the key question: is the PX70 an improvement over the PX60?

If you're looking for a new HDTV and are debating between the PX60 and PX70, there's really only 1 choice... the PX60 has been discontinued and stock is scarce, so it would have to be the PX70.

If you're an existing PX60 owner considering an upgrade to the PX70 (have you even owned it for 1 year yet?), the chief improvements the PX70 offers over the PX60 are 1080p signal acceptance (important for PS3), less obvious magenta noise (unless you've done the D-board fix) and gloss-black bezel styling (now whether this can be counted as an improvement remains contentious). Only you yourself can decide if these features are important enough to warrant the upgrade.
neill says: 03/26/2007 - 15:14

hey vincent thanks "If you're looking for a new HDTV and are debating between the PX60 and PX70, there's really only 1 choice... the PX60 has been discontinued and stock is scarce, so it would have to be the PX70."

this confuses me more, it is very ambiguous, almost as if you are saying the px60 is better, but you have no real choice than to go with px70.

This is not the case, there are still a few out there.

Can you simply say Px60 v px70 which edges it on picture quality please...............cheers :)
Maury says: 03/27/2007 - 06:55

I have a question:
It is possible PX60 it is more interesting for SD vision that PX70? (sorry for my poor English!)
Thx Maury
David says: 03/27/2007 - 13:05

Vincent/Colin,

First of all, thanks. These reviews have been very enlightening. I'd like to get something straight in my mind. Are you saying that the performance of the PX70 in regard to posterization/magenta discoloration is equal to a PX60/600 that has had a "D board" fix? I think it would be great if you guys could get hold of a 42" 2006 model and directly compare it to the PX70. The 42PX600U can still be had at a very good price here in the U.S., and I'd like to grab one if the performance is not significantly different than that of the PX70. Again, Thanks.
steigy says: 03/28/2007 - 02:44

My question is identical to Johns above. I simply can't decide which panel to by out of Panasonic and Pioneer plasma, and Soney, Samsung and even Sharp LCD. My slight preference is for plasma which brings it down to the Panasonic or Pioneer but worry that by not going 1080p LCD I will not be future proofing the screen. Any guidance on the best screen currently, in particular between the Pioneer and Panasonic would be grratly appreciated.
Richard says: 03/29/2007 - 08:15

Vincent / Colin

First off - brilliant website - a godsend to mortals trying make an informed choice.

Again - my query is the same as Steigy's & John's & various others.

I have decided to go plasma and have been recommended the PX70; having said that I am now confused as to whether the Pioneer or even the PX60 would be the better choice. The reviews seem to suggest that each has certain advantages over the other; but I can't summarise these in a decision of which one edges it.

For "average" viewing (I know there's no such thing as average, but I am talking about SD programmes a lot of the time, some HD programmes and generally movies & Sky TV; sitting 10 or so feet away and biggest criteria being picture quality / sharpness) - which one would Colin / Vincent personally choose??



chazzer says: 03/29/2007 - 16:34

Great site - been tracking reviews on PX70. But still tossing up between this and the Sony kdl4-v2000. Will mostly be SD, regular DVd watching probably moving to PS3 (blu ray in next couple months. Budget at 1000 - need to make decision!
Colin Tang says: 03/31/2007 - 06:22

Before I go answering some questions here please note the following:

1) We can't do personal recommendations. I don't know you ;)

2) Even at 1000 pounds, you won't get everything you want in a TV. It's a shame, but it's the truth.

3) Everybody wants the best picture quality, but few know what that actually means! If our PQ section means nothing to you, then you need to know a bit more before settling down for a TV.

4) Panasonic has not released any detailed information on the G10 panel with its Vreal 2 processing and driving mode.
I am not even sure if the TH42PX70 uses the VReal 2 or just VReal as the website gives conflicting information.

5) We have limited resources and can't buy and test all the HDTV out there at the moment. But if you know someone willing to let us have a go at their unit and is located somewhere in Manchester, just let us know!

@ jop welling

I am not sure if the PV70 is exactly same. I heard that it doesn't have a digital tuner. You should make sure that it uses the latest G10 panel and Vreal 2 processing. You can calibrate with DVE on brightness, contrast and sharpness. For PX70, use the cinema mode and Warm CT and you're basically there.

@ Michael Griffin

You have a point there, Michael. However, I wouldn't recommend watching the panel in absolute darkness for the following reasons:

1) With a gamma of 2.2, you will get reduced image contrast.

2) Although the PX70 has deep blacks, dark adaptation will allow some black luminance to be seen.

3) You may avoid excessive dynamic dimming.
Colin Tang says: 03/31/2007 - 07:02

Off hand, these are the main differences between the Panasonic and Pioneer models. Within their limits both gives very good pictures. Hope this helps.

Panasonic TH42PX70
- Cost 950-1000
- Better blacks
- Better contrast ratio
- Grayscale more accurate at higher percentage stimulus (brightness at about 120 cd/m2)
- Set and forget
- 1080p input at 50 and 60 HZ but not 24Hz
- On our review models, buzzing seems less noticeable than Pioneed PDP4270XD
- Posterization, mild purple banding

Pioneer PDP4270XD
- Cost 1200
- Accurate HD709 primary colours
- More picture options
- Much better film and movie mode deinterlacing
- No significant posterization, certainly no purple banding
- 1080p over 24hz only
- May need calibration to get it right...costs time and money
- Limited connectivity
- Dirty screen
Brian says: 03/31/2007 - 11:45

For those asking about 100Hz on german site, the german model (PV71) may have this option as I've seen talk of it on some the german forums aswell, however the PX70 (UK) and PV70 (EU) models do not.
Silver Serpent says: 03/31/2007 - 19:24

@Brian

The PV70 and PV71 models definitely have the 100HZ option.

Go here:

http://www.areadvd.de/hardware/2007/panasonic_viera42_1.shtml

That is the Setup Menu on the PV71, but I'm 100% sure the PV70 has it too, as a member on avforums.com uploaded a pic showing it.

I'm baffled why the PX70 doesn't have it?
Silver Serpent says: 04/01/2007 - 08:56

Edit - Previous post I said the PV70 has the 100hz option, but this is not the case.

The PX70E model has it, which I believe is sold in Spain and Italy, and ofcourse the PV71 has it, which is sold in Germany.

The models vary throughout Europe.

Why is that so, when you would think all European models would be standard?
SImon ZZY says: 04/07/2007 - 16:31

I see a model named TH42PX70B - note hte added 'B'. It's cheaper, does anyone know why? Is it a grading? They are "B Grade" or something?
Pete says: 04/07/2007 - 16:53

I don't see anything about HTPC use like you have in other reviews? Please don't forget that in the future :)
Colin Tang says: 04/09/2007 - 06:35

The B stands for black? It's not B grade.

HTPC is getting very tricky for us given the huge range of computer configurations and video cards, so we're not sure if our conclusions can be meaningful. Besides, limited time and resources prevents us from expanding beyond our present capacity, i'm afraid.
Athar says: 04/10/2007 - 04:03

Hi

I heard Panasonic have a new range comming out in June. Full HD Plasma priced at over 2K
Do we know anymore about this and would it be better to hold off buying till it is out ?

Cheers
andrei says: 04/10/2007 - 12:17

Actually, the old model (px 60 ) supports 1080p signal. Sending that from my ps 3, no problemo (the signal downscales to native resolution 1024/768)
Bruce says: 04/11/2007 - 01:51

I live in the Czech Republic and would like to buy a Panasonic TA 42PX70E from Germany. I have heard that there will be problems getting sound. Does anyone know if this is true?
David says: 04/11/2007 - 05:11

Can you please advise what "old" pedestal stand is shown in the pictures you show of the TH42PX70?

I have some problems accomodating the new stand and would like to use another option if possible.

Thanks

David
Gareth Wilson` says: 04/14/2007 - 08:50

Hi Chaps,

Great site :) Your based in Manchester right? Could you recommend a TV shop in the Manchester / Cheshire area that would have a TH-42PH9 in stock to demo?

Everywhere I've found on the web is down south
Eidt says: 04/15/2007 - 08:25

I have a new suggestions for a review:
Samsung PS42Q97HDX x Panasonic TH42PX70
jimmy juice says: 04/15/2007 - 10:55

Panasonic TH42PX70 or TH42PX700
Not sure what the upgrade is on these new models, apart from one site says the 700 has 3xHDMI ? Can you shed any light on this?.
Like other posts I've been looking to buy a 42" for six
months and its come to the point,where everybody around me thinks I've lost the plot. But I think I'm nearly there with either of these two!
cheers Jimmy
HIFI Norway says: 04/16/2007 - 02:56

jimmy juice: As I have understood, the TH42PX700 has these features that the PX70 dont ->
1. SRS TruSurround XT
2. SD memory card reader
3. PIP (Picture in Picture)
4. S-video IN
5. Composite video IN

so if you really need/want any of these features, go for the PX700
HIFI Norway says: 04/16/2007 - 06:53

also.. I believe the TH42PX700 is not completly black, as the PX70 is..
allan says: 04/17/2007 - 04:11

just purchased panasonic px600 is it better than px70 which appears to be cheaper in price struggled between both for a bit
allan says: 04/17/2007 - 04:24

i believe that px600 has more connections ie.camera slot than the px70 both have same screen resolutions how about actual picture quality having paid far more for my px600 as oppossed to px70 which is a lot less to pay. i love my picture quality by the way just want clear this up.