Panasonic Viera TH-42PZ800 42in Plasma TV Review - Panasonic TH-42PZ800 Review

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Real Black Drive is on hand, too, to offer enhanced current control and so bolster the 42PZ800’s black level response, while motion fluidity and stability benefit from 100Hz processing and Panasonic’s Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC), the latter of which calculates new frames of image data designed to fill in the gaps between the ‘real’ ones being delivered by a source.


A couple of final important facts to note about the 42PZ800’s specification are its claimed maximum contrast ratio of a million to one (nice), and its Full HD resolution. This 1,920 x 1,080 resolution is particularly notable, since Panasonic remains the only company currently offering Full HD 42in plasma TVs.


I guess it’s possible that the tough technological demands of making plasma cells small enough to squeeze 1,920 x 1,080 of them into a 42in screen could raise doubts about whether the 42PZ800 can perform as well as the bigger models in Panasonic’s PZ800 range. But really that’s just me trying to inject a little false excitement. For in reality, the 42PZ800 is every bit as accomplished as you’d expect from both its specification and its Panasonic heritage.


The thing that particularly catches the eye in these days where LCD generally rules the shelves is how dynamic the picture is. For inky black levels sit side by side with bright, realistic peak whites as if achieving such a natural and cinematic feat were the easiest thing in the world, when in reality – as any LCD screen will tell you! – delivering excellent black levels and bright content within the same frame is actually very tricky for flat TVs to accomplish.


Critically the 42PZ800 manages to make its Full HD resolution count, too, as pristine HD sources like ”Transformers” on Blu-ray or ”Gears of War 2” on the Xbox 360 both look marginally crisper and cleaner than they do on Panasonic’s HD Ready 42in models. There’s maybe not quite the extreme HD snap witnessed with the very best Full HD LCD screens, but then unlike most LCD rivals, the 42PZ800 also retains its resolution when the picture contains significant amounts of motion.


In a similar fashion, while you might argue that the 42PZ800’s colours aren’t quite as bright and aggressive as those of some rival LCD screens, they’re outstandingly believable in tone, and rendered with a degree of subtlety when it comes to blends and shading detail – even in dark scenes – that’s far preferable to any amount of squint-inducing brightness.


I suspect that the 42PZ800’s Full HD resolution has a part to play in its brightness and colour finesse too, thanks to the extra pixel density involved.

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