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Panasonic TH42PZ70B Conclusion

by Vincent Teoh
1 November 2007

SUMMARY
Despite some flaws, Panasonic TH42PZ70B is a steal at this price thanks to its clean, detailed picture and superb motion handling.

PROS
> Superb motion resolution
> Excellent black level and shadow detail
> Clean, detailed picture with little noise nor posterisation

CONS
> Lacking in film mode deinterlacing
> Green primary colour inaccurate

> Mild judder with 1080p/24 signal from PS3

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

Conclusion

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.

Highly Recommended

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