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Panasonic TH42PX80 Operation
Featuring large legible fonts, a clean interface, a slightly off-centre position and responsive navigation, the user menu on TH42PX80 should be instantly recognisable to those who have used a Panasonic flat screen television in recent times. That said, the very same quirks remain:
- Strictly speaking, the settings cannot be saved independently per input. However, you can set different values for each of the 4 picture modes – [Dynamic], [Normal], [Cinema] and [Eco].
- There's no numerical guide when making adjustments... you'll just have to manually count the number of clicks to the left or right.
- There's no warning message asking you to confirm your action when you click on the [Reset To Default] option, making it extremely easy to accidentally erase your saved settings to factory configuration.
Except for the [Side Panel] control found under the [Setup Menu] which provides grey masking for 4:3 programmes, there is no other anti-image-retention/ anti-screenburn feature available in the user menu of the Panasonic TH42PX80. Contrast this with the latest Samsung plasmas which offer an all-white "washing" screen, a scrolling grey ramp pattern, and a configurable pixel-wobbling function in addition to grey masks on the sides.
The [Picture Overscan] option in the [Setup] submenu allows you to achieve zero overscan on the Panasonic TH42PX80, but this function is only available when [Aspect Ratio] is set to "Auto" (16:9 signal only) or "16:9". Although you can set [Picture Overscan] separately for SD and HD signals, with the former you're more likely to see noise/ interference at the edge of the screen so I generally only reserve it for high-def content.
There's no option available in the user menu to disable the advertised "100Hz Double Scan" feature on the Panasonic TH42PX80, so I'm not entirely sure if this feature is always on, or automatically engaged depending on the incoming video signal.
Electronic Programme Guide (EPG)
As we have come to expect from Panasonic flat screen televisions, the EPG on the TH42PX80 boasts crisp fonts and an aesthetically pleasing colour scheme. On the left of the screen you will find a column that – rather disappointingly – displays advertisements instead of programme previews. Still, functionally there isn't much to complain except for the fact that you have to click twice to watch a programme because a selection window would pop up asking you to choose between [View] or [Timer Programming].
By pressing the [Guide] button on the remote control twice, you can summon the [Portrait] layout which arranges the programmes in columns of channels and rows of time slots:
Infrared Remote Control
The remote control for Panasonic TH42PX80 feels lighter than that bundled with the PZ70, but otherwise maintains essentially the same layout:
- Nice, big buttons that "click" satisfyingly into the downward position.
- A navigation ring that is placed near the top of the remote away from where your thumb would naturally rest.
- A hatch at the bottom of the remote that can be flipped open to reveal some buttons to control your player device.
The corresponding infrared sensor (located just to the left of the central plastic flap at the bottom of the panel) on the Panasonic TH42PX80 appears to have a narrow sensing field, so you may have to point your remote more precisely to register your click. It may also be necessary to hold down the red power button at the top right of the remote a couple of seconds longer before the plasma television will switch on.
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