We want to add at this point that we tested the P42VT20’s 3D talents using a pair of Panasonic’s new 3D glasses, issued in response to the fact that the brand’s original 3D glasses were, well, rubbish, frankly. Unfortunately, though, the new ones are only marginally better. They’re more comfortable on your nose, which is a start, and are much less cumbersome in their form. But a combination of an over-shallow nose 'gate' and lenses that are two narrow means we either had to perch them at the end of our nose or else turn our head down slightly to use them effectively. Grr.
Going back to the TV’s picture quality, aside from the minor residual crosstalk there are a trio of other issues that stop the set from scoring a perfect 10 for pictures. First, images aren’t spectacularly bright, leading to a slightly heavy reduction in brightness and some lost shadow detail when watching 3D, as well as meaning that you ideally need a fairly dark room to get the most impact from the screen.
The other issues are the occasional appearance of dotting noise over skin tones during fast horizontal camera pans, and signs of judder during 50Hz viewing. At its worst, this can make scrolling backgrounds look jerky, so it’s as well that it can be reduced considerably with the help of the Intelligent Frame Creation system. Just make sure you only run this on its lowest setting strength, otherwise you’ll start to see a few unwanted processing side-effects.
Sonically, the P42VT20 rates as above average. Its soundstage isn’t quite as open and dynamic as we might have hoped considering that it actually uses a 2.1 speaker configuration with 30W of total power. But it’s definitely more effective and punchy than your typical flimsy flat TV audio effort.
The P42VT20 certainly isn’t cheap for a 42in TV, especially when you consider that Samsung’s 50in PS50C6900 3D plasma TV can now be had for less than a grand. But the P42VT20’s pictures contain much more contrast than that Samsung model’s, and it suffers even less than the Samsung with crosstalk noise. All of which means that it consolidates the VT20 range‘s position as currently the most consistently watchable 3D tellies on the planet.