Panasonic TX-42AS600: Picture Quality
We enjoyed much of what the 42AS600’s pictures have to offer. The biggest instant attraction comes from its startlingly good black level response – a huge relief after the greyness evident during dark scenes on many of Panasonic’s other TVs this year.
Seeing dark scenes that actually look black where they should look black instantly makes them look much more credible and involving. Plus the decently strong native black level performance means you can see good levels of shadow detailing in dark areas, since the 42AS600’s adaptive backlight system isn’t having to reduce the TV’s luminance output too aggressively to deliver a decent black colour.
Colours also look more naturally toned in dark scenes on the 42AS600 than they’ve tended to on Panasonic’s IPS TVs, and additionally benefit from reasonable levels of blend finesse for such an affordable TV.
HD pictures often look crisp and detailed meanwhile, and this detail combines with the rich colours and strong contrast performance to deliver an image that feels rich in depth and subtlety and is really easy to get immersed in.
There are inevitably areas where the 42AS600’s affordable nature creeps in, though. The main issue is that there’s some quite obvious loss of resolution over moving objects. This is thankfully not joined by the smeary trails we see with the worst LCD TV motion offenders, though, and isn’t something we’d consider a constant distraction. Especially as the TV is also fairly immune to that other common motion issue of judder.
That said, the soft-looking motion is still enough of an issue to provide a potential excuse to spend more – especially if you’re after a set to deliver the full HD impact of a Blu-ray collection. It’s worth adding that the 42AS600 doesn’t provide any significant motion processing controls in its onscreen menus.
The set also has a fairly limited effective viewing angle before the contrast and colour response both start to slide. But this is common to all LCD TVs to some extent – even the IPS ones that are designed to deliver a wider viewing angle.
One final little niggle is that we felt we needed to used the Adaptive Backlight feature to get the deepest and most even blacks. Without this feature active dark picture areas look quite a bit greyer and the screen also shows some evidence of backlight clouding. However, while the adaptive backlight solves these issues, it can sometimes cause you to see some slightly distracting over-aggressive shifts in the image’s overall light level.