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Panasonic Viera TH-42PZ70 42in plasma TV - Panasonic TH-42PZ70
These full HD strengths come, of course, on top of the customary Panasonic plasma strengths found with the brand's ‘mere' HD Ready models. And so black levels are outstandingly deep and detailed - arguably only second to Pioneer's new KURO TVs; colours are solid, noiseless and for the most part very natural in tone; and motion avoids the dotting noise problem that can often afflict it. Talking of motion, it's also worth reminding you that plasma technology in general suffers scarcely at all with the sort of resolution loss over moving objects that LCD screens do.
For all the 42PZ70's picture glories, though, things aren't 100 per cent perfect. For instance, as with every other Panny plasma TV we've ever seen, rich reds like those of the Ferrari Testarossa on the Xbox 360's Project Gotham Racing 4 can end up looking slightly orange.
Next, while black levels are excellent, at least to the extent that they thrash the efforts of most LCD rivals, they perhaps don't look quite as profound as those of Panny's HD Ready screens. Either that or the HD Ready models are slightly brighter, thus giving a greater sense of range between peak whites and deep blacks.
Finally, during camera pans we noticed a little more juddering than we'd ideally like to see - and certainly more than we witnessed with Pioneer's KURO sets.
Sonically the 42PZ70 is pretty much par for the flat TV course, which is to say that while its speakers are absolutely fine with normal ‘day time TV' footage, they can struggle to deliver much range, especially at the bass end, when watching a good action flick. In this respect the 42PZ70's speakers are clearly inferior to those of the 42PZ700.
We mentioned Pioneer's KURO sets a couple of times in this review and it's impossible to conclude without pointing out that the first full HD KUROs are now hitting shops. And based on our experience of the standard HD Ready KUROs, we see no reason to doubt that these full HD models will outperform the 42PZ70.
But crucially they will also cost substantially more. Set more fairly in the context of other 40-42in TVs around the ‘just over £1,000' price point, the 42PZ70's performance strikes us as nothing less than imperious.