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Colours are vastly improved from last year’s affordable Panasonic plasmas in several ways. Most importantly, after a little calibration (in which I even toned down the colour saturation of the THX mode a bit), colour tones are much more consistently natural, even when watching standard definition sources. They're also more vibrant, giving pictures extra punch.
The fact that Panasonic has managed to squeeze a Full HD pixel count into the P42G20B helps colours too, as colour blends are rendered smoothly and accurately, with only the very occasional appearance of plasma’s once-common colour striping phenomenon.
Not surprisingly, the P42G20B’s high resolution also pays dividends when it comes to delivering the sharpness and detail in HD sources. In fact, its performance with good quality Blu-ray discs is borderline flawless for me - or, at least, it’s more cinematic than that of any other flat TV around for the same sort of money.
Yet more good news concerns the P42G20B’s handling of motion. For with the Intelligent Frame Creation or 24p (depending on your source) system turned gently on, there’s only a residual trace of Panasonic’s once quite hefty judder problems. And this is achieved with a bare minimum of unwanted processing side effects, too.
I guess in an ideal world, Panasonic’s standard definition pictures would look a bit sharper - though the new Resolution Enhancer circuit does help this to some extent. Also, people with really bright rooms might find the P42G20B’s pictures a bit lacking in brightness. But really, provided you can control your light levels, there’s nothing very negative to say about the P42G20B’s pictures at all.
Sonically the story isn’t so good, as the P42G20B serves up rather average levels of clarity and dynamic range. But it’s still adequate, and the speakers don’t actually distort even during a high-octane action sequence.
The P42G20B may lack the glamour and panache of many of today’s LCD glory boys, and its realistic approach to pictures might struggle to make its presence felt in a crowded electrical superstore. But don’t let this deceive you. For underneath its uninspiring exterior beats a heart of home cinema gold and a stubborn focus on good, old-fashioned picture accuracy and quality, all for a decent price.
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