Panasonic Viera TX-P42G15 42in plasma TV Review - Panasonic Viera TX-P42G15 Review


Another potentially key feature of the P42G15 is its 600Hz Sub Field system, where the TV calculates and inserts enough extra, new frames of image data to make the 200Hz systems now appearing on some LCD TVs blush with apparent inferiority. However, the reality is that all this talk of varying Hz numbers should be taken with a pinch of salt, as once you get above 100Hz the different systems tend to work in different ways and even, to some extent, set out to achieve different goals.

The only thing we should be able to look forward to with any certainty from the 600Hz system is markedly less judder during camera pans – especially HD ones – than you get with lower-Hz Panasonic screens.

Other key specs you need to know about the P42G15 are that it’s got a full HD resolution – still a rarity in the 42in plasma world – and enjoys one of those ‘infinite’ dynamic contrast ratios Panasonic likes to talk about. Though right underneath the infinity logo used to advertise this fact, you get a rather more prosaic – though still huge – quoted figure of 2,000,000:1.

Rounding the P42G15’s expansive feature count off are a handful of helpful user tweaks in the onscreen menus, including a simple on/off colour management system; an Eco mode that adjusts the picture settings in response to the light levels of your room; a straightforward noise reduction system, and last but not least, the option to turn on or off the set’s Intelligent Frame Creation technology – the system that creates the extra image frames that gives rise to the 600Hz claims.

In evaluating the P42G15’s pictures, I’m actually taken back once more to the P42G10 model I referenced at the start of this review. For so far as my eyes can tell, the P42G15 and P42G10 pictures are peas from the same pod.

This is, of course, no bad thing given that the P42G10 scooped a 9 for Image Quality. And it’s pretty much as we’d expect given that the P42G15 uses one of Panasonic’s new NeoPDP plasma panels rather than ‘just’ the latest version of Panasonic’s previous plasma technology.

Particularly striking, as with all Panasonic’s NeoPDP screens to date, is how bright images can look compared with the brand’s non NeoPDP designs. If you use the set’s Dynamic preset – with the contrast reined in a bit to keep a lid on noise – you get a picture that looks nearly as aggressively bright as your typical LCD screen.

It’s worth adding, too, that if your room is pretty dark and/or you’re interested in green issues, the NeoPDP panels allow you to sacrifice much of this new brightness in favour of a heavily reduced power consumption. I’m ashamed to admit, though, that I was too busy getting thrills out of the extra brightness to really trouble myself with the screen’s eco potential much. Sorry…

The most important thing about the P42G15’s brightness, though, is the way it’s achieved without compromising – at all – the black level prowess so long associated with Panasonic plasma TVs. This means that your average dark movie scene is free to enjoy a truly spectacular level of dynamism, as bright whites and full-on colours are able to sit side by side in the same frame as deep, rich blacks of the sort only witnessed on the best LED rivals or Pioneer’s final KURO plasmas.

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