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Panasonic Viera TX-P42S20 - Performance and Verdict

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


Anyone with a large family or awkward seating positions, meanwhile, will appreciate the way the P42S20’s plasma picture retains its full colour intensity and contrast even when watched from quite an extreme angle (unlike the vast majority of LCD TVs).

While we’re on the subject of plasma advantages, there’s also the P42S20’s impressive black level response to consider. Admittedly, dark parts of films look rather more milky on the P42S20 than they do on Panasonic screens that use the latest NeoPDP technology, but they still humble the black level efforts of practically all LCD TVs at the £600 or so price point - especially with regard to the amount of shadow detail the screen reproduces while retaining a decent black colour.

Final bits of good news concern the way the 600Hz and other processing systems go about their business while generating precious few unwanted side-effects; and the image’s exceptional stability versus the slightly flickery look many affordable LCD rivals generate as a result of their inevitable dynamic contrast systems.

Turning to the P42S20’s sound, it’s not at all bad by flat TV standards. As we nearly always find ourselves saying about flat TVs, a bit more bass would have been appreciated, but at least the mid-range is quite open and reasonably dynamic, and treble detailing is handled sensitively, in that there’s enough of it to make soundstages appear detailed without things becoming artificially ‘twinkly’ or harsh.


If your TV budget can only stretch to £600, then the P42S20 is a tantalising option - especially if you’re going to be in a position to feed it quite a bit of HD fodder. However, we can’t help but think that if you can stretch to £150-£200 more, the extra quality and features you can obtain from the Panasonic P42G20 are worth every single extra penny.


July 15, 2010, 1:54 pm

This does seem like a sweet deal. I think you guys need a new badge for bargain products like this that aren't top of the range but offer best value for money. Trusted Reviews "Best Value" or "Bargain Alert".


July 15, 2010, 2:59 pm

An other way to look at this, is this: It's a 42" 1080p plasma screen monitor for your PC which costs £1,400 less than the 24" DreamColour LCD from HP.

Anyone want to impress their clients?

evan fotis

July 15, 2010, 5:14 pm

plasmas are unfortunately not recommended for pc monitors 'cause they suffer from image retention which leads to burn in after repetitive use...

as for the "milky blacks" i'd appreciate a more concrete comment like it produces 0.xxx nits black level at 1xx brightness, using the checkerboard pattern, so we know what we're talking about 'cause the vast majority of ccfl lit lcd's reach nowhere near a plasma on that and the viewing angle aspect.


July 16, 2010, 5:06 pm

@ evan

Agreed - but as a secondary monitor to demonstrate media, such as motion graphics, CAD or to colaborate on editing, surely it must be a consideration?

evan fotis

July 16, 2010, 6:45 pm

it sure is considering price/performane!

btw my 42U10 is way more impressive than any lcd display when showing video and mograph to clients. best display for 500 euros....(but not recommended as a monitor with the GUI loaded for hours.)

In your post you compared the big plasma to 2480 dreamcolor, a totally different kind of monitor.

If you want an accurate wide-gamut PC display then the Nec PA 241W is an excellent choice.

If you are looking for a sleek narrow bezel (1.5cm) digital signage display, made for staying on long hours and even pivoting, look for the PHILIPS 42BDL4251V or the pricier Nec P401 with PVA panel.

Double the price of the Panny, but more pro looking with the slim bezel, and versatile for moving around, rotating etc.

Still the Plasma will have a much punchier picture, faster responce for video, deeper blacks and viewing angles (very important for collaborative work, so everybody around IS able to see, and sees the same thing)


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