The L42D25B thankfully benefits from Panasonic’s new-found and overdue interest in letting users calibrate their TVs to a reasonably deep level. Indeed, as with Panasonic’s higher-end plasma TVs, the L42D25B is endorsed from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), with two ‘Pro’ picture setting slots set aside for ISF engineers to use.
Not that you have to call the ISF in to calibrate the TV; you can certainly have a stab at manipulating yourself the likes of a simple (though not spectacularly comprehensive) colour management system and basic gamma control. It’s a shame Panasonic doesn’t present these tools more helpfully, and there’s still room for a more comprehensive calibration toolset. But crucially you can not only make a difference with the options available, but also end up with what is in many ways a seriously likeable picture.
We’ll get into just why it’s so likeable in a moment, but there are a couple more features still left to talk about. One being the ability of the L42D25B to record losslessly from the digital tuners (in HD where available) to USB HDDs – though so far as we can tell, this ability is still limited to Buffalo’s JustStore Desktop HD-EU2-UK series. If you have one of Panasonic’s USB-recording TVs and have found other USB HDDs that work, feel free to share this news in the comments section!
You can also use the USB port to make the TV Wi-Fi capable via an optional USB dongle, or play from USB devices AVCHD, SD-Video, DivX HD, JPEG, MP3 and AAC files.
Finally, the L42D25B is equipped with quite a bit of motion processing, including 100Hz, Panasonic’s Motion Focus system, and Panasonic’s Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) Pro frame interpolation engine.
Our first feelings towards the L42D25B’s picture quality are very positive. The image immediately appears to glow with that extra brightness and colour lustre we see regularly with edge LED lighting versus. What’s more, even sticking with the set’s provided presets, colours combine their grandstanding saturations with highly credible tones and some impressive subtlety when it comes to blends and tonal shifts.
Colours can be improved via calibration though, so we’d definitely recommend that anyone with a little technical know-how and some sort of calibration aid – even if it’s only something as straightforward as the HD Video Essentials Blu-ray – has a go at it.
After calibration, it’s no exaggeration to say that the L42D25B’s colours are among the finest we’ve seen from an LCD TV to date, and join with the potent brightness in making colour-rich, bright footage like Sky’s HD coverage of the Ryder Cup really a joy to behold.
Also playing a part in this really excellent HD portrayal of the Ryder Cup is the L42D25B’s sharpness. Detail levels are high during relatively static shots, and with Panasonic’s IFC system in play, detail levels hold up quite nicely even when the camera pans to follow a player, or the ball travelling through the air. In fact, they hold up very well rather than ‘quite nicely’ if you use the High IFC setting, even during diagonal camera movement. But there are a few twitches and edge ghosts using the high setting, so we never tended to go for IFC set any higher than its Mid level.