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Panasonic Viera TX-L42D25B - Calibration Tools and Other Features

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

The L42D25B thankfully benefits from Panasonic’s new-found and overdue interest in letting users calibrate their TVs to a reasonably deep level. Indeed, as with Panasonic’s higher-end plasma TVs, the L42D25B is endorsed from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), with two ‘Pro’ picture setting slots set aside for ISF engineers to use.

Not that you have to call the ISF in to calibrate the TV; you can certainly have a stab at manipulating yourself the likes of a simple (though not spectacularly comprehensive) colour management system and basic gamma control. It’s a shame Panasonic doesn’t present these tools more helpfully, and there’s still room for a more comprehensive calibration toolset. But crucially you can not only make a difference with the options available, but also end up with what is in many ways a seriously likeable picture.

We’ll get into just why it’s so likeable in a moment, but there are a couple more features still left to talk about. One being the ability of the L42D25B to record losslessly from the digital tuners (in HD where available) to USB HDDs - though so far as we can tell, this ability is still limited to Buffalo’s JustStore Desktop HD-EU2-UK series. If you have one of Panasonic’s USB-recording TVs and have found other USB HDDs that work, feel free to share this news in the comments section!

You can also use the USB port to make the TV Wi-Fi capable via an optional USB dongle, or play from USB devices AVCHD, SD-Video, DivX HD, JPEG, MP3 and AAC files.

Finally, the L42D25B is equipped with quite a bit of motion processing, including 100Hz, Panasonic’s Motion Focus system, and Panasonic’s Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) Pro frame interpolation engine.

Our first feelings towards the L42D25B’s picture quality are very positive. The image immediately appears to glow with that extra brightness and colour lustre we see regularly with edge LED lighting versus. What’s more, even sticking with the set’s provided presets, colours combine their grandstanding saturations with highly credible tones and some impressive subtlety when it comes to blends and tonal shifts.

Colours can be improved via calibration though, so we’d definitely recommend that anyone with a little technical know-how and some sort of calibration aid - even if it’s only something as straightforward as the HD Video Essentials Blu-ray - has a go at it.

After calibration, it’s no exaggeration to say that the L42D25B’s colours are among the finest we’ve seen from an LCD TV to date, and join with the potent brightness in making colour-rich, bright footage like Sky’s HD coverage of the Ryder Cup really a joy to behold.

Also playing a part in this really excellent HD portrayal of the Ryder Cup is the L42D25B’s sharpness. Detail levels are high during relatively static shots, and with Panasonic’s IFC system in play, detail levels hold up quite nicely even when the camera pans to follow a player, or the ball travelling through the air. In fact, they hold up very well rather than ‘quite nicely’ if you use the High IFC setting, even during diagonal camera movement. But there are a few twitches and edge ghosts using the high setting, so we never tended to go for IFC set any higher than its Mid level.

Earth Voyager

October 5, 2010, 1:23 pm

I have a Panansonic G20 and can confirm that the WD 250GB MyBook works with no problems recording programmes.

Michael McG

October 5, 2010, 1:50 pm

i looked at the D25 side by side with a v20 plasma and difference in black level was very obvious. The v20 was miles ahead of the d25 at least in this respect. So if black level is your goal, then i wouldnt pick this over a plasma..

Ripsnorter

October 5, 2010, 2:39 pm

I think Panasonic will 'get there' with LED eventually, but something has to be done on the design side as, whichever technology, their sets looks horrible and horribly dated.

Callum

October 5, 2010, 3:10 pm

i currently own the 37" model of this TV, and one of the things you failed to mention (as far as i saw) is the fact that the D25 series use IPS screens, which gives them excellent viewing angles and colour quality, and is what made me choose this TV over many others!

Callum

October 5, 2010, 3:41 pm

whoops i read it again and turns out it was mentioned!

Neil McG

October 5, 2010, 4:47 pm

Great review as always. BUT, the crucial questions is: TX-L42D25B or TX-P42G20B? LCD vs Plasma ? Otherwise, specs look similar...

GoldenGuy

October 5, 2010, 5:24 pm

@Ripsnorter





Agreed. Samsung have Touch of Colour, LG have the one-piece Infinia, Phillips have that whole silver and Ambilight system going on, and Panasonic, um, uh... ugghh. It's not a generic box (like that Asus O!Play streamer) where the unsightliness matters not since it gets shoved under the telly - it IS the telly. This is a case where the Wife Approval Factor is probably the last line of defence against someone placing a ruddy great tacky plastic structure in the middle of the room. What the hell are Panasonic still doing wrapping their class leading screens up in such cheap Christmas paper?

Ripsnorter

October 5, 2010, 10:03 pm

@GoldenGuy


It's not just the WAF in this case. Panasonic achieve a degree of fugliness of design that offends even my eyes! As much as I love the pictures their plasmas achieve, I keep being drawn to that thick, heavy, large, battle grey bezel!

GoldenGuy

October 5, 2010, 11:32 pm

@Ripsnorter





CNET were just talking about how Panasonic are getting into the portable gaming market, and my first thought was, "Dude! Screw that! Market's overcrowded with the DS and iOS anyway. Your TVs are you flagship products. Throw all your money into a new design team that'll make the aesthetics look presentable by late 2000s standards."

Ripsnorter

October 6, 2010, 2:39 am

@Golden Guy


There is a photo of Panasonic's portable player, called the Jungle, doing the rounds:


http://www.techradar.com/news/...


It looks like someone at Panasonic discovered they had a warehouse full of grey plastic going unused and then hired the people whose TV designs were considered too ugly even for them!

Kaytorch

October 6, 2010, 7:20 pm

the review is completed different from that of CNET who rated this TV with 5 stars. i watched this TV side by side with Panasonic V20 plama and the difference is very clear, the plama is far better. but this TV is featured packed and better than LED from other makes. Great TV

GoldenGuy

October 6, 2010, 8:57 pm

@Kaytorch





You sure about that? CNET don't hand out 5 star ratings easily. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen them go beyond their 4½ Outstanding rating for anything - not even for a Pioneer Kuro. Perhaps it was a user rating instead of the editor's one?

Pbryanw

October 6, 2010, 9:37 pm

@GoldenGuy - Interesting, I also haven't seen Cnet give out many 5 star ratings, so did a quick search and it appears this TV did get 5 stars:


http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/tvs/...





Even more spooky is that it was apparently reviewed by the same person who's just done a iPhone app piece for TR. Although I can't see how anyone can call this TV stylish, as the Cnet review did. And @Kaytorch, 8/10 is a very good score and the two reviews (TR and Cnet) aren't a million miles apart.

RazorA

October 6, 2010, 10:12 pm

Mirroring others in terms of the design of their sets. I can understand them going for a minimalist design but their design team need only look at the Pioneer Kuro to understand how to keep aesthetics simple but still project class to customers. It's the only hurdle they face otherwise their sets are always top class.





I think not until we get OLED sets will Plasma be finally usurped for picture quality.

GoldenGuy

October 7, 2010, 4:19 am

@ Kaytorch, Pbryanw





Sorry guys. I was looking at and commenting upon the US site. Forgot about the UK one - I rarely check it. I don't know how strict they are with their star ratings there.

soldierboy001

November 24, 2011, 12:33 am

Whilst I may be a bit late with this comment I would like to say that I have had the european version of this set for about a year now, this has a sat receiver rather than a freesat with cam slots. I had at the time reviewed and chosen a different TV but when I went to purchase saw the Panny and fell in love with it instantly. I took it home and have loved it ever since even the SD pictures are close to HD clarity. The only problem I have is the sound from the built in speakers but use Pioneer headphones or soundbar mostly.
The style I LIKE and I realise everybody has their own style taste but I hate those so called edge TV's they look so flimsy and like somebody has left a blacked out car window on the wall or TV cabinet.
Just to endorse my view anybody that comes to my house when the TV is on always comment on the brilliant picture, but I have changed the factory settings. All in all I am very satisfied with the set.

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