What We Hooked:
Superb picture in dark rooms.
Sharp motion depiction.
Easy tuner operation.
Overscan can be switched off.
Why We Grumbled:
High power consumption.
Line flicker plagues films in 576i/1080i format.
The Final Verdict:
The perfect choice for buyers looking for a home-cinema TV that’s both cheap and up-to-date: The TX-P 42 S 10 offers excellent colours, high contrast, and crisp motion. If you can live with the high power consumption and limited brightness, then tuck in!
As with the almost identically named Panasonic TX-L 42 S 10 (the LCD version), this plasma’s multimedia is limited to playback of AVCHD camcorder videos and JPEG photos from SD cards.
Well-labelled and easily accessible: the connections on the back of the unit.
Well, you can’t have it all for 850 GBP: The swivel stand you’d find on pricier Panasonics, for example, is missing. And we searched in vain for internet extras à la YouTube, or extended picture settings — but there is at least a light sensor to help you get the optimal picture. In “Eco” mode, therefore, the light output (and hence the power consumption) of the screen depend entirely on the amount of ambient illumination. This also means that the image remains visible even in daylight, despite the screen’s limited brightness.
In general, however, the Panasonic consumes a lot of power: In dark scenes, it’ll get away with 100 watts, but bright scenes can easily draw more than 300 watts. Unlike its sister LCD, the TX-P 42 S 10 has 400-hertz motion-enhancement technology for sharper pictures during camera pans.
Bulky and heavy, but easy to use: the remote control.
The Electronic Program Guide (EPG) and the menu match those of the LCD model, and include all of the same strengths and weaknesses: For DVB-T and analogue reception there’s a superb “Guide Plus+” EPG, but digital cable offers only a cut-down “now and next” version. Channel navigation is exemplary, as we’ve come to expect from Panasonic, and channel changing is quick. We’ve also no criticisms of the menu and remote control.
Picture Quality of Standard-Definition Signals
Here, you should ideally select the “Normal” preset, even though this means you have to reduce the sharpness a little and switch the “Colour Balance” setting to “Warm” (see Ideal Settings, below). The colour temperature is correct in the “Cinema” preset, but the gamma factor of 1.8 means the picture looks too light and milky; the preset also fails to match the guidelines of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
Sensible corrections in the “Normal” preset result in an excellent tuner picture that surpasses that of most TVs in this price class. With analogue tuner signals, the TV displays a fine-grained noise; digital signals impress with a detail-rich, attractive picture, so long as you deactivate picture-cropping (overscan).
In terms of motion clarity, the Panasonic plasma performs well: Thanks to the “Intelligent Frame Creation” technology, speedy finance tickers remain clearly legible. The AV inputs deliver a sharp image, but there’s sadly no film mode. This means you see flicker on some DVDs, such as “Six Days Seven Nights” — if, that is, you input them to the TV in interlaced format (576i or 1080i).
The TX-P 42 S 10’s colour space is slightly extended.
Despite the slight colour-space extension, the Panasonic’s colours look convincing — small weaknesses only become apparent during a direct comparison with our reference TV, the Pioneer KRP-500. The Pioneer shows beer glasses on a table, for example, with a wonderful coppery tone; the Panasonic, on the other hand, gives the beer an unconvincing green-yellow tint.
Picture Quality of High-Definition Signals
In comparison with LCD TVs, this plasma’s maximum brightness cannot compete in full-screen bright images. The screen also does a poor job of absorbing incident light, meaning it only demonstrates its full ability in dark environments. In completely dark rooms, however, the rich, colour-neutral black impresses — and it doesn’t get weaker if you move to one side. Even dark, contrast-weak images show better differentiation here than on LCD competitors, giving a more cinematic impression — good news for home-cinema fans.
24p reproduction is authentic and error-free, and the resulting pictures are extremely crisp. But there’s no motion-smoothing technology, so there’s no way to remove the typical film judder — in any case, many film enthusiasts prefer to leave this judder intact. In comparison with pricier Panasonic plasmas (with 600-hertz technology), the TX-P 42 S 10 shows typical plasma artefacts more strongly — such as stepped shading and large-area flicker in bright pictures. Overall, however, these small hiccups barely tarnish the Panasonic’s impressive performance.
The built-in speakers, which don’t point directly towards the viewers, sound stress-free with music but discolour the overall sound. Bass frequencies tend to distort at higher volume settings.
Viewing Mode: Normal
Colour Balance: Warm
Colour Management: Off
Picture Overscan: Off
These settings apply to realistic playback of HDTV/Blu-ray material through the HDMI interface in a darkened environment. Manufacturing and HDMI playback device deviations might necessitate slight adjustment.
Dimensions & Weight Details
- Dimensions & Weight Details – Panel with stand – 102.9 cm x 33.4 cm x 70.4 cm x 27 kg
- Input Video Formats – 576i/p, 480i/p, 1080i/p, 720p
- HDMI – 3
- Composite video – 1
- S-Video – 1
- Image Contrast Ratio – 30000:1
- Dynamic Contrast Ratio – 2000000:1
- Resolution – 1920×1080
- Image Aspect Ratio – 16:9
- Diagonal Size – 42″ – widescreen
- Power Consumption Operational – 175 Watt
- Power Consumption Stand by / Sleep – 0.4 Watt
- Depth – 10.5 cm
- Height – 66.1 cm
- Weight – 25 kg
- Width – 102.9 cm
Digital TV Tuner
Digital TV Tuner – DVB-T