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Panasonic Viera TX-P42GT20 - 2D Performance and Verdict

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


As a 2D TV, the P42GT20 is a mixed bag. The good news is that it’s a stellar HD performer for its money, especially with 1080/24p Blu-ray feeds. Such images look mesmerizingly sharp, packed with natural contrast, and produced with an exceptionally deft colour touch. Regarding this latter point, colour tones are richer than usual for plasma technology, yet they’re also exquisitely natural. There seems marginally more striping in subtle colour blends than we saw with the VT20 models, but it’s seldom distracting.

The P42GT20 also outguns LCD-based rivals by avoiding that technology’s problems with motion blur and limited viewing angles.

With pictures calibrated to deliver the best combination of contrast, brightness and colour, HD pictures look slightly muted compared with the majority of LCD TVs – especially edge LED ones. But don’t mistake this for colours and contrast actually being wrong. The opposite is true, in fact. You just need ideally to keep light levels as low as you can in your viewing room if you want the TV to deliver its greatest impact

Our main concern with the P42GT20 is that it’s not a particularly sure-footed standard def performer. Freeview or Freesat standard definition broadcasts both tend to look a little rough and ready in noise terms, especially as there’s occasional dotting noise over skin tones during horizontal camera pans.

Colours, too, lose a little lustre when switching to standard definition, with a few tones suddenly starting to look slightly unnatural. And finally, there’s quite a bit of judder visible with standard definition pictures – more than we’d normally expect to see. This can be hugely reduced with the help of the Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) frame interpolation system Panasonic has built into the P42GT20, but there’s a trade off for using this in the form of some noticeable unwanted processing side effects.

Oddly, standard definition pictures strike us as slightly worse on the P42GT20 than they were on the non-3D P42G20 – though without still having a P42G20 for direct comparison, it could be that our deflated impression of the P42GT20’s standard def pictures is more about the terrific standard def efforts we’ve seen from some rival brands recently rather than extra shortcomings in the P42GT20.

Wrapping up with the P42GT20’s audio performance, it’s pretty decent. A quite wide, open and dynamic mid-range leads the way, but is ably assisted by decent amounts of harshness-free treble reproduction and even a hint of bass. Though there’s predictably far less bass than you get with Panasonic’s VT20 models, which add a built-in subwoofer.


Simply by virtue of its suppression of crosstalk noise, the P42GT20 is by default the best sub-£1500 3D TV we’ve seen to date. It’s also a terrific HD performer, particularly with Blu-ray sources.

However, its standard definition pictures are a bit disappointing, and we really do have to question Panasonic’s pricing policy. For its £1,250 price versus the £800-ish cost of the non-3D P42G20 effectively means you’re paying £450 - or half the P42G20’s price again - for the P42GT20’s 3D capabilities. Even with a couple of pairs of 3D glasses thrown in, this looks a bit steep. Especially as we’ve just taken delivery of a new Samsung plasma TV that offers a more immersive 50in screen of full HD 3D pictures for just £1,030… Watch this space.


October 28, 2010, 2:12 pm

For those interested, another review site that goes to the effort of measuring input lag reported it to be 30ms in "Game" and "Professional" modes (this reduced to 16ms in 2D to 3D conversion mode).

30ms is on the high side for a plasma, but it would still enable a fairly responsive gaming experience, except maybe for the hardcore online gamers out there.


October 28, 2010, 4:15 pm

Did you pick up on any issues when watching 50Hz material?

There are supposedly some fairly distracting artifacts when watching 50Hz SD and HD material. For example, this can take the form of red, green and blue trailing lines eminating from the centre line in football broadcasts.

I've heard that Panasonic have issued a statement saying that their 2010 TVs have been optimised for Blu-ray and 3D, but not 50Hz. That's pretty astounding when you think about it, considering TV broadcasts in the UK are 50Hz.


October 28, 2010, 9:27 pm

£1,200 for a drab 42" Plasma!! You gotta be joking Panasonic - this will need to come down a few hundred pounds before the "normal buyers" it is aimed at will entertain it methinks.

Steve 38

October 29, 2010, 12:29 pm

I heard an MP3 presentation that as you are watching 2 pictures on a 3D screen that the 1080P becomes 540P for each picture..

Given that, does this mean in a couple of years we'll be offered 2160P HDTVs as the next must have????

tony cole

October 29, 2010, 7:52 pm

Just to pick up on a couple of points in your review and a comment posted having had a G20 50" since April I can only say the picture quality has got better and better over the months now I wince when I see the super bright super saturated colours on other tv's.

several friends who own the latest Sony and LG sets comment on the picture quality they can't initially put their finger on the reason why and I only tell them at the end of their visit to check how black is the black on their own sets.

as for USB recording i have use tried three different drives of different makes (iomega,toshiba Le cie) and they all worked fine. As for £1,200 for a drab 42" Plasma!! in my eyes no pun intended it's picture quality first in my book there are plenty of sets out their that put style over substance but to me a tv's no. 1 priority is to give the best picture possible and anyhow for serious viewing it's lights out for me.

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