What Hooked Us:
- Low-judder 24p picture.
- Almost totally independent of viewing angle.
- Excellent motion depiction.
- High maximum contrast.
Why We Grumbled:
- High power-consumption.
- Blurry HDMI-576i picture.
- Slight green tint.
- Weaknesses in de-interlacing.
The Final Verdict:
This Panasonic plasma scores big points for its highly detailed pictures, both from its tuner and via Scart. The contrast-rich HDTV picture impresses in Blu-ray movies, but the TV struggles with interlaced material – be it from Blu-rays or DVDs. Color fidelity also falls short of perfect.
Multimedia and Operation
Stemming from the 2008 model-year, the 42 PZ 800 lacks many of the multimedia features that have since become commonplace. Still, there’s an SD-card reader mounted under a flap on the front of the TV, allowing playback of photos in HD quality and of AVCHD camcorder videos.
The menu offers all of the standard picture controls, but lacks the more-advanced adjustment options found on pricier Panasonic plasmas – such as a color-management system or a frame-rate setting. You can at least choose between gray and black bars beside 4:3-format signals, but there’s no frame-rate indicator, and many settings hide confusingly under “Setup” instead of the picture menu.
The channel list and input-selection are easy to use, but the remote control lacks a ‘back’ button for flicking between two channels. Otherwise, at least, it’s a practically structured handset.
Contrast and Color
In comparison to many LCD TVs, the Panasonic’s picture looks weaker in daylight conditions – plasmas are less bright, and black areas of their screens turn more milky in ambient light. Just darken the room slightly, however, and the Panasonic shows a vivid picture that – unlike LCDs – loses neither contrast nor color fidelity when viewed from one side. In the Blu-ray movie “Kingdom of Heaven”, the 42 PZ 800 displays excellent contrast: Small white areas of the picture shine up to 4,700-times brighter than black areas.
The CIE chart confirms the Panasonic’s largely accurate color temperature, but also reveals a slightly constrained color gamut.
Color fidelity proves to be a problem for the 42 PZ 800, which always presents images with a slight green tint that the user is powerless to remedy. Furthermore, saturated red and green tones only look natural if you deactivate “Digital Cinema Colour”, but the corresponding setting is only available on the HDMI input.
In a scene from “Iron Man” (playing time 91:12), the Panasonic is bright enough to display the cloudy sky in the background with gusto, even in slight ambient illumination. Both the sky and the actress’ skin, however, show tiny green and yellow tints. Differentiation of dark browns works better here than on LCDs.
TV and DVD Picture Quality
The Panasonic processes analog and digital TV signals accurately – you should therefore turn off the P-NR noise filter. The menu offers the user the option to tailor the picture for optimum sharpness in still or moving images (3D-COMB on or off respectively). The Scart-RGB input delivers an excellent TV picture with only slight edge-cropping (overscan). Standard-definition movies via Scart or HDMI-576i, on the other hand, exhibit line-flicker in camera pans – and, what’s more, the HDMI-576i picture is even a little blurry.
HDTV Picture Quality
All three Blu-ray resolutions – 1080/60i, /60p, and /24p – display beautiful, crisp details on the Panasonic. The TV only tripped up on a checkerboard test pattern with one-pixel-sized black and white squares, where it showed an unstable, slightly flickering picture. As a plasma display, the 42 PZ 800 is unsuitable for use as a PC monitor (although it will, of course, display PC signals) because of the risk of burn-in from static images.
24p signals render accurately as long as you deactivate “Intelligent Frame Creation”. This system generates artificial intermediate frames and removes the double edges from fast-moving images, leading to unnaturally smooth motion and, occasionally, to unattractive artifacts where noise is present in the original signal – not one for picture purists!
The Panasonic’s two built-in, 15.5-watt speakers produce bass so powerful it’s almost too voluptuous. Once set up correctly, the sound impresses with rich fundamentals and transparent treble.
Viewing Mode: Cinema
Picture Overscan: Off
Brightness: 12.3 centimeters
Color: 15 centimeters
Color Balance: Warm
Color Management: Off
Digital Cinema Color: Auto
Intelligent Frame Creation: 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 may necessitate slight adjustment. The values in centimeters refer to the length of the settings bars on the TV’s screen.
- Product Type : 42″ Plasma TV
Dimensions & Weight Details
- Dimensions & Weight Details : Panel with stand – 107.8 cm x 32.7 cm x 73.3 cm x 37 kg
- Input Video Formats : 480i/p, 576i/p, 720p, 1080i/p
- HDMI : 4
- Image Contrast Ratio : 30000:1
- Dynamic Contrast Ratio : 1000000:1
- Resolution : 1920×1080
- Image Aspect Ratio : 16:9
- Diagonal Size : 42″ – widescreen
- Power Consumption Operational : 324 Watt
- Power Consumption Stand by / Sleep : 0.4 Watt
- Width : 107.8 cm
- Weight : 32 kg
- Height : 68.5 cm
- Depth : 10.4 cm
Digital TV Tuner
- Digital TV Tuner : DVB-T