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Panasonic Viera TX-P42G20B review

Riyad Emeran
20 Oct 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
647
inc VAT

Panasonic’s Viera TX-P42G20B balances excellent picture quality with an amazing price, making it a deserving Best Buy winner.

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Specifications

42in, Freesat HD, Freeview HD, analogue, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: no, 4x HDMI

The Panasonic Viera TX-P42G20B is one of the few plasma TVs available, which might make you think that LCD is a better option. However, you’d be wrong. Plasma is an emissive technology, while LCD is transmissive. That means that each pixel in a plasma screen is creating light, while each pixel in an LCD is simply letting light pass through it.

As a result of this pixel control the 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio on this TX-P42G20B is real, and not the result of some dynamic backlight trickery. In real world terms this TV has the best black levels of any of the sets on test.

Dark City looked simply stunning, with inky dark black levels creating an atmosphere that almost none of the other TVs could replicate. And because every pixel can be controlled individually, areas of high intensity have no effect on the dark areas. There’s also absolutely no loss of shadow detail, despite those truly dark blacks.

Panasonic Viera TX-P42G20B

The TX-P42G20B has no problem with bright scenes either, as the Casino Royale chase proved. This TV can also handle fast moving images without a loss of resolution. Like all the TVs here, the TX-P42G20B can employ frame smoothing to eliminate film judder, and although it still results in a slightly unrealistic image, it’s far more subtle than most. Standard definition is also upscaled very well. There’s very little noise evident in upscaled SD pictures, and good quality Freeview, like BBC1, looks great.

This TV has no less than three tuners - analogue, Freeview HD and Freesat HD. Admittedly, the content on Freeview HD and Freesat HD is pretty much identical, but if you have poor terrestrial reception in your area, you can use a satellite signal without the need for an external box.

Connection wise you’ve got four HDMI, component video, two RGB SCART and VGA inputs. Unfortunately the TX-P42G20B can only manage a maximum resolution of 1,024x768 over VGA, but you’ll get full 1,920x1,080 PC resolution over HDMI though.

You can connect the TV to your home network and the Internet via the Ethernet port. VieraCast gives you access to services like YouTube, Twitter and Eurosport. Again the scaling is superb when watching content streamed from the Internet. It was therefore surprising to find that the scaling on XviD encoded media from a USB device was very poor.

Those USB ports also allow for recording to an external HDD, once it's been formatted by the television set. Although the integrated PVR functionality is quite basic, the hard disk also lets you pause live TV, which is incredibly useful.

Unfortunately the design of the TX-P42G20B doesn’t live up to the superb picture quality, and the TV itself does look slightly dated. That said, it’s by no means ugly, and Panasonic’s long standing remote control design is as intuitive as ever. Sound quality is also above average for integrated TV speakers.

Even more amazing than the picture quality on the TX-P42G20B is the price. You can pick up this TV for under £650, which is a steal, especially considering the size of the TV. Throw in Panasonic’s five year warranty, and the Viera TX-P42G20B is clearly a Best Buy.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****

Physical

Viewable size42in
Native resolution1,920x1,080
1080p supportYes
Aspect ratio16:9
HD readyyes
3D capableno
Contrast ratio5,000,000:1
Speakers2x 10W
Bezel (top/side/bottom)43mm/45mm/72mm
Screen depth82mm
Screen elevation108mm
Stand size (WxD)390x310mm

Connections

DVI inputs0
D-sub inputs1
HDMI inputs4
Component inputs1
SCART2
S-Video input0
Composite inputs1
Audio outputsoptical S/PDIF out, 1x stereo phono
Otherheadphone, CI Slot, SD Card slot, 2x USB, Satellite, Ethernet

Tuner

Tuner typeFreesat HD, Freeview HD, analogue
EPG8 day

Environmental

Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on145W

Buying Information

Warrantyfive years RTB
Price£647
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.panasonic.co.uk

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