Anyone with a large family or awkward seating positions, meanwhile, will appreciate the way the P42S20’s plasma picture retains its full colour intensity and contrast even when watched from quite an extreme angle (unlike the vast majority of LCD TVs).
While we’re on the subject of plasma advantages, there’s also the P42S20’s impressive black level response to consider. Admittedly, dark parts of films look rather more milky on the P42S20 than they do on Panasonic screens that use the latest NeoPDP technology, but they still humble the black level efforts of practically all LCD TVs at the £600 or so price point – especially with regard to the amount of shadow detail the screen reproduces while retaining a decent black colour.
Final bits of good news concern the way the 600Hz and other processing systems go about their business while generating precious few unwanted side-effects; and the image’s exceptional stability versus the slightly flickery look many affordable LCD rivals generate as a result of their inevitable dynamic contrast systems.
Turning to the P42S20’s sound, it’s not at all bad by flat TV standards. As we nearly always find ourselves saying about flat TVs, a bit more bass would have been appreciated, but at least the mid-range is quite open and reasonably dynamic, and treble detailing is handled sensitively, in that there’s enough of it to make soundstages appear detailed without things becoming artificially ‘twinkly’ or harsh.
If your TV budget can only stretch to £600, then the P42S20 is a tantalising option – especially if you’re going to be in a position to feed it quite a bit of HD fodder. However, we can’t help but think that if you can stretch to £150-£200 more, the extra quality and features you can obtain from the Panasonic P42G20 are worth every single extra penny.