When it comes to making a lasting impression after watching a DVD movie or a high-definition broadcast, there is nothing like a big screen television. Of course, with today’s sleek styling of plasma televisions you’ll no doubt be tempted to look at your big screen even when it’s turned off.
You can always count on Panasonic to come up with unique design touches. The TH-42PX20 combines a glossy black and grey finish that makes it one of the best looking plasma’s available today. The light grey face of the television is stylistically curved towards the back at the bottom, while the black rectangular frame protrudes slightly forward. A flap centered in the bottom of the frame covers composite, S-video, and VGA inputs, a headphone jack, an SD card slot, and a PCMCIA card slot. You’ll also find several buttons under the flap for changing the channels and controlling the volume, which can also be used to navigate through the onscreen menus. Two tall speaker slots on both sides of the screen complement the design. A matching pedestal stand is included with the set.
The illuminated universal remote is the same remote that comes with many other Panasonic television sets and serves its purpose very well – so why change it? The buttons are well layed out and perfectly responsive. The multi-direction controller, with an action button in the centre, is incredibly user friendly. It is used for switching channels and adjusting the volume, or navigation through the onscreen menus. The curved under-side of the remote rests it comfortably in your hands.
Watching standard definition television programming, the results were typical of low-resolution material blown up to 42 inches. Initially the picture looked fairly pixelated with rectangular artifacts in certain parts of the picture. However, playing with the picture adjustments proved to be effective and produced significantly better results. The up-conversion of the signal to the native pixel resolution was accomplished very well. Five aspect settings allow you to fill the whole 16:9 widescreen with the standard 4:3 signal, if you prefer not to see bars on the sides.
We then connected our Pioneer DV-563A progressive-scan DVD player to the Panasonic plasma using component cables. Underworld, the vampire/werewolf thriller gave the plasma the chance to show its true capabilities. The picture quality was absolutely stunning. The dark scenes of the movie were reproduced very believably with great contrast and amazing blacks. Details in the movie appeared that we haven’t seen before. The characters and sets were razor-sharp and appeared almost three-dimensional. Rain and scars from fighting on characters faces appeared like never before – incredibly sharp and detailed.
Next, we checked out The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Again the results were very impressive. The progressive scan picture looked very detailed and smooth. The colour reproduction was true to life and the colours were well saturated.
The TH-42PX20 does a great job of 3:2 pulldown processing. We didn’t notice any artifacts during any of the movies we watched that would be introduced by this process.
1080i HDTV signals looked stunning on the Panasonic plasma using the television’s second set of component inputs. The picture came alive with much more depth compared to the other sources.
An HDMI connector can also be found on the back of the TH-42PX20. Unfortunately, we did not have DVD player with a compatible output to try this digital connection. This would be the ideal way of connecting a DVD player to the television, however not many DVD players are available with this type of connection yet.
We did however get a chance to connect a VGA signal from a notebook computer and it turned out to be quite a treat. The 1024×768 resolution of the Windows XP operating system looked incredibly defined and detailed as it should, since it matched the native resolution of the TH-42PX20.
The brightness and contrast ratio of the TH-42PX20 were impressive under all lighting conditions and the television performed great even in bright daylight.
The Panasonic plasma offers a good selection of necessities for the videophile. One of the best features perhaps is that it remembers the different picture settings for each input. This allows you to configure the settings for each input once, and never have to change them again. Other features include many modes of picture-in-picture, and advanced picture settings.
The front of the television also offers an SD card slot as well as a PCMCIA slot. The SD slot will accept an SD memory card from any digital camera that uses SD memory to store pictures. If you own a digital camera that uses a different type of memory card, you can purchase a universal adapter that will allow you to plug in any type of memory into it. The adapter would be inserted into the PCMCIA slot.
While regular television signals don’t look the greatest (as with all large screen televisions) for those who enjoy watching DVDs and the increasing number of high definition signals, the TH-42PX20 is one of the best plasma’s to do it on. With its sleeker than average styling and better than average picture quality, be sure to take a good look at this television set before making your final decision.
- 1024 x 768 Resolution
- 16:9 Wide Screen Aspect Ratio
- Contrast Ratio: 3000:1
- Brightness: 400 cd/m2
- HDMI input
- SD Memory Card Slot
- PCMCIA Card Slot (for other digital memory cards)
- Viewing Angle: 160 degrees
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 1140 mm x 756 mm x 99 mm
- Weight: 41 kg
- 2 Tuner PIP with Split Screen