It’s well worth me pointing out here, too, that since the P42G15 is a plasma screen, you don’t get anywhere near as much contrast reduction when watching from the side as you do with the vast majority of LCD TVs.
The P42G15 also gets plenty of mileage out of its 600Hz system. For whether you’re watching Wimbledon in HD or standard def, or you’re watching a Blu-ray or DVD action film, images combine outstanding motion clarity with much less judder than we customarily see from Panasonic. Even the difference between the P42G15 and Panasonic’s 400Hz S10 models is pronounced in this key respect.
I was initially surprised to see Panasonic’s latest TV ad campaign going so heavily on the motion clarity of its 600Hz sets, but while I believe there’s still room for further improvement when it comes to motion fluidity, there’s no doubt that you’ve got a much better chance of actually tracking a Federer forehand on a 600Hz Panasonic plasma TV than you have on any straight LCD TV we can think of.
It’s worth adding, too, that the P42G15’s 600Hz engine impressively does its work while generating few if any unwanted side effects like flickering or edge shimmer. I was also impressed with the level of HD detailing and texture the P42G15 can muster from favourite Blu-rays, and with the lack of noise in the set’s rescaled standard def sources.
Having made that standard def point, however, there are TVs out there that manage to make standard definition look slightly sharper. And it has to be said, too, that the Dynamic picture preset that I like so much with HD can leave some colours with standard def looking far too overblown, leading to a much larger reduction in contrast than is necessary with HD images. In fact, because of this I’d strongly advise anyone who buys a P42G15 to spend some time calibrating the TV’s settings with the help of a simple set-up aid such as the Digital Video Essentials HD Basics Blu-ray disc.
Other negatives find one or two green tones looking a little out of kilter and unsubtle compared with other colours in the TV’s palette, and slightly more colour banding than you get with some other full HD TVs.
But the P42G15’s pictures are still, once calibrated well, a clear cut above those of most 42in TVs. And since they’re joined by a predominantly clear, clean, reasonably potent and well-dispersed soundstage that’s only a little bass short of being seriously impressive, the P42G15 undoubtedly adds yet more ammunition to our belief that Panasonic’s NeoPDP screens are well worth going for ahead of the brand’s budget models.
Although it takes a bit of initial work to get the best out of the P42G15, making us wish Panasonic had put a bit more effort into its picture presets, it’s still entirely capable of being an excellent TV.
Given that its picture quality doesn’t seem to differ from that of the cheaper (by a couple of hundred pounds or so) P42G10, I’m bound to say that maybe that’s the model to go for ahead of the P42G15 if you’re not bothered about the latter model’s extra HDMI and multimedia/online talents. But this is a personal decision for you to make yourselves rather than any reason for me to downgrade the set’s marks.