As might be expected of such an affordable 42in plasma, other features are pretty thin on the ground. In fact, the only things warranting a mention here are a white-screen system for tackling plasma’s screenburn problems, separate drive and signal contrast adjustments, and a couple of movie-friendly picture presets.
Unfortunately it doesn’t take long in the company of the P42HTA51ES’s pictures before a feeling of depression sets in, as they fall prey to a single but crushing problem: horrible colour tones.
This affects the picture in four separate ways. First, greens look grimy and artificial. Second, reds look orangey and unnatural. Thirdly, skin tones sometimes make actors look more like orcs than real people. And finally colours tend to look more subdued than we’re used to seeing from today’s plasma TVs. What this all adds up to is a plasma picture that looks like a TV from at least two or three years ago rather than something circa 2006. Not good.
What’s especially demoralising about these multiple colour hiccups is the fact that in other ways the P42HTA51ES’s pictures are perfectly respectable. Other ‘old-style’ plasma problems like fizzing noise over motion and colour banding are pretty well contained, and fine details are acute enough to do decent justice to the increased sharpness and texture of high definition sources. Black levels are adequate too, giving pictures some sense of depth and solidity in spite of the TV’s lack of colour vibrancy.
Sonically the P42HTA51ES is no slouch either. The speakers are likeably powerful and deliver a clean, dynamic and distortion-free sound. But ultimately all of the P42HTA51ES’s strengths have to play a distant second fiddle to the general colour unpleasantness.
While Fujitsu has proved that it can do the business with much bigger screen sizes, this 42in offering is way off the pace being set by most rival brands these days.