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Panasonic TH42PZ70B Conclusion
- Superb motion handling (maintains resolution in motion better than most flat panels I've tested to date)
- Excellent black level and shadow detail
- Highly detailed image with [Overscan] "Off" to achieve 1:1 pixel mapping (1080 source)
- Remarkably clean picture with little digital noise nor posterisation
- Solid video mode deinterlacing, including 1080i > 1080p with no loss in resolution
- [Colour Balance] "Warm" in [Cinema] mode provides one of the better out-of-the-box greyscale that is not too far from 6500k
- Accepts 1080p/24 signal from PS3 (but judders mildly; see Cons)
- Wide viewing angle with no visible drop-off in contrast and colour up to 150°
- Blemishless screen uniformity
- Aesthetically attractive EPG with crisp text and good colour scheme
- Classy remote control with a solid weight and gratifying tactile feedback
- Inexpensive price – exceptional value for money
- Non-existent film mode deinterlacing (failed 3:2 and 2:2 cadence detection)
- Inaccurate green primary
- Slight judder with 1080p/24 signal (screen refresh probably not a multiple of 24Hz)
- Limited picture controls in user menu (e.g. no fine white balance adjustment)
- Only two HDMI 1.2 inputs
- Does not accept 1080p signal over component and VGA
- No independent input memory settings
- Black level fluctuation when screen luminance is zero/ near zero, though it's very subtle
- The usual plasma-specific issues of reflection, phosphor trail, buzzing, and propensity for image retention/ screenburn
When buying a flat screen HDTV on a budget, it's important to understand that you have to make compromises: even if you have £5000 to blow, current technological limitations mean that all flat panel television will have some flaws in one way or another.
Which brings us to our next question: how do you decide what ingredients on a television should be deemed crucial, and what can be sacrificed when it comes down to it? For me, it's quite simple: I put every deficiency of a television through what I call the "Outsource Test"... can the shortcoming be rectified by adding an external device?
Faulty internal tuner? Buy a Freeview set-top box, subscribe to Sky, etc. Tinny sound? Get separate speakers. Poor connectivity? Easily remedied by a switch box/ converter. Subpar video processing? A decent upscaling DVD player, a Sony PS3 or – if you can afford it – a dedicated video processor would do.
But there are some things you cannot improve on a television. If I had bought – for example – an LG 42LF65 LCD TV, I would be stuck with poor blacks, motion blurring, backlight bleed and banding, and there would be nothing I could do about them (except replace the TV with a better one).
This is why the Panasonic TH42PZ70B plasma television represents exceptional value-for- money: it excels in the irreplaceable elements of blacks, shadow detail, motion handling, fine detail presentation, screen uniformity and viewing angle. Sending a progressive signal from a decent player device to the plasma should make the glaring absence of film mode deinterlacing a non-issue; and most users would probably never notice the inaccurate green and mild 1080p/24 judder in normal viewing outside of a side-by-side comparison anyway. At an online price of around £1000, the Panasonic TH42PZ70B is a steal.
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