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Panasonic Viera TX-P46G20B review

David Ludlow
23 Mar 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,300
inc VAT

Freeview HD and Freesat HD make this the most flexible TV for free high definition broadcasts and it has stunning image quality

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Specifications

46in, Freesat, Freeview HD, analogue, 1920x1080 resolution, 3D: , 4x HDMI

The 46in Panasonic Viera TX-P46G220B is the very first TV we’ve seen to have a built-in Freeview HD tuner. Beyond that the set has pretty much everything else you could want in a high-end plasma TV including a Freesat HD tuner, network port for streaming home and internet media, and the ability to record TV shows to a USB hard disk.

Of course, none of that matters if the main screen’s not up to much. Fortunately, this isn’t the case, as the TX-46G20B uses one of Panasonic’s high-end 600Hz, NeoPDP plasma panels. This has a native contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1 (not a dynamic contrast ratio, as quoted for LCD panels) and it shows.

Watching Casino Royale on Blu-ray, we were hugely impressed by the pure black and the impressive bright whites in the opening black-and-white scenes. To get the best picture we switched the TV to its THX Movie Mode. This puts the TV into a mode where it closely reproduce the HD colour standard used in filming movies, has improved deinterlacing, scaling and smoothing.

It also turns off the TV's other features, such as Vivid Colour and 24p Smooth Film (Intelligent Frame Creation for non-24fps footage), which creates additional frames to make the on-screen motion appear smoother. However, you can turn all of these options back on if you prefer.

General image quality is astounding. The range of colours is stunning and everything looks incredibly natural. We were impressed by the level of detail picked up in the Parkour scene in Casio Royale, and we could see the layer of hazy dust in the air; on other sets, this scene can just look grubby.

The 24p Smooth Film option is excellent. It subtly improves motion without drawing attention, unlike the crazy full-on modes on Sony and Philips TVs, which can make films look a little like cartoons. It's not perfect, though: in particular, it struggles when an object is moving behind railings and creates an odd flicker.

In Spider-man 2, it didn't cope perfectly with Spidey swinging against New York skyscrapers, and his legs flickered a little. It's not that distracting and is a rare occurrence. Besides, these problems exist in all frame creation modes on every TV that we've reviewed. Motion otherwise is fantastic, with the 600Hz panel making sure that everything moves smoothly. Even fast-moving objects and scrolling text move with no blurring or problems.

Standard definition footage from DVD is handled just as well. Upscaling is top-notch, with no jaggies on objects, while retaining a high level of detail. Upscaling can often boost MPEG-2 artefacts around objects, but that wasn't a problem here and we saw very little evidence of this.

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