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Panasonic TH42PX70: Final Verdict
Note: Purple banding and posterization may be specific to our model.
- Smooth dark blacks
- Impressive post calibration contrast ratio
- Resonable colour decoding, good balance
- Impressive default Cinema mode/Warm
- Excellent viewing angle
- Excellent motion handling
- Accepts 1080p on 2 x HDMI at 50, 60 Hz
- Well built
- Analogue and Digital tuner
- PC/VGA connection
- Multi aspect ratios
- 1024x768 resolution
- Posterization / False contouring
- Purple / Magenta banding
- High frequency buzz
- Average video mode deinterlacing
- Poor bad edit detection
- Poor locking of film mode 3:2 deinterlacing
- Reduction in detail from panel resolution and scaling
- Longer setup
- Simple user menu, no slider control indication
- No Picture-in-picture
- Crude user sensitivity control
- No USB, Multimedia interface, S-video, Composite
The Panasonic TH42PX70 ventures into dangerous territory when it priced itself into the £1000 bracket. There' so much competition out there now that if they get it wrong, they're out of the race. Let's face it, plasma manufacturers haven't really been playing the right marketing game; just look at who is grabbing all the headlines. They can't afford a major disappointment as something like this tends to stick out like a sore thumb in consumer's consciousness.
Thankfully this model does more than enough in my opinion to warrant serious consideration. It seems that Panasonic will still be banking on the display's superb black level to carry it's brand through the market, and this is entirely justified. You have to see it yourself to know what I'm talking about. Furthermore, it comes with default accurate greyscale, gamma and colour temperature tracking that was previously impossible to my mind without some serious calibration.
There are of course some limitations that compromise the set's otherwise exceptional performance. Panasonic sacrificed internal scaling and deinterlacing to bring their main technology at this price point. Whether that is the right move is a question you need to answer.
In the end, personally, the awesome contrast ratio and smooth blacks did it for me. If you have means and opportunity to outsource your SD scaling and deinterlacing, and if you like a set-and-forget HDTV, this could be your ideal viewing companion.
Because we were so inspired by its performance, the Panasonic TH42PX70 wins our first HDTVtest Recommended Award. This new rating system will be used in our future reviews but will not be applied retrospectively.
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