Panasonic Viera TX-P42S10 42in Plasma TV - Panasonic Viera TX-P42S10

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Settling down to watch the P42S10, I have to say that my first feeling was one of gentle disappointment. For even in a fairly low-lit environment the image's lack of brightness versus Panasonic's own P46G10 - and any number of LCD TVs, of course - is instantly obvious, denying the picture immediate eye-catching impact.

Aficionados will be thinking here, that a TV picture doesn't have to deliver immediate impact to actually be very good. In fact, too much brightness and colour aggression can damage picture performance in the long run. But I couldn't help but feel that on the P42S10, the image's muted nature ultimately just feels a touch flat if you've got any sort of ambient light to contend with.

Or at least, this is the case if you use the TV's Normal or, especially, its Cinema picture presets. Things perk up if you choose the Dynamic preset - but only at the expense of hugely increased picture noise and some overblown colours. Scary.

Calibrating the image yourself can yield the best results, but with the image set to deliver the best blacks and lowest noise levels, I still felt it was a bit less bright than I would have liked.

This isn't the only cause of disappointment, either, as standard definition pictures also look rather soft. Perhaps as a result of this, standard definition pictures don't look as noisy as they do on some rival - especially LCD - Full HD TVs. But for me the softness goes a touch too far for comfort.

Another issue is that I didn't feel completely convinced by the TV's standard definition colour palette. Skin tones tend to look a bit orange or pink, and greens sometimes look just a bit weird, for want of a better description. And overall there just isn't that extra level of vibrancy we see from the best TVs.

The main upside with standard definition sources is a familiar one for Panasonic: excellent black level response. Dark scenes in any drama you care to watch enjoy blacks so deep - and consistent across the whole screen - that they could make any normal LCD TV weep. This inevitably helps dark scenes achieve a terrific sense of naturalism and scale.

Regular readers will know that I consider getting a credible black level response to be the fundamental starting point in building a good TV picture, and Panasonic still takes some beating on this key picture quality battleground.

The P42S10's 400Hz system also helps standard definition pictures look reasonably crisp and smooth when things get moving, and while colours might not be particularly vibrant, they are, at least, largely free of the striping issue that traditionally troubles plasma technology.

Juan Miguel

May 11, 2009, 1:16 pm

Panasonic includes THX certification in the United States for this model and the whole series (P42G10; P46G10; P50G10 and future P54G10),an absolutely necessary feature if you want a professional calibration. The price there is slightly cheaper but including not only THX calibration but Viera Cast for the Internet. Panasonic policy in Europe is discriminatory and charges Europeans more money offering less indispensable features.

Juan Miguel

May 11, 2009, 2:53 pm

My comment (Juan Miguel said on 11th May 2009)is for the Panasonic Viera TX-P46G10 46in Plasma TV Review.

superonslo

May 13, 2009, 12:13 am

I have to say that sometimes you can get lost in the techo you guys speak. I preordered the TX42PG10 in december, it arrived in April and Ive got to say the quality of the set is stunning both picture and asthetics. If you are pondering over this it will not disapoint you, the only thing I dont know how to work yet and if anyone can help please do, it is the Ethernet port, I have it on my home network ok up to IP, But thats it, there is no browser so I dont know what it is for. The Freesat and DVB tuners are incredible quality too, programme content on Fsat is not brilliant but the HD Broadcasts are superb, if your thinking about it my advice is, Get it now !!

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