Panasonic TH-42PX60U 42-inch Plasma HDTV Page 3

The Short Form
$2,500 ($2,700 list) / 40.2 x 30.3 x 12.8 IN / 70.5 LBS / PANASONIC.COM / 888-843-9788
Plus
•Solid color performance •Dual HDMI inputs
Minus
•Poor shadow detail •False contouring •Slightly soft picture 0606_panasonic_movie
Key Features
•42-in diagonal 1,024 x 768 screen •2 HDMI inputs •Built-in ATSC/NTSC tuner •Rear inputs 2 HDMI, 2 HDTV-compatible component video, 2 composite/S-video, all with stereo audio; 1 RF antenna/cable •Front inputs 1 S-video; 1 composite-video; 1 stereo audio •Rear outputs 1 composite-video; 1 stereo audio; optical digital audio
Test Bench
Color temperature had a slightly warm or red cast out of the box with the Warm color temperature preset, but this was corrected with adjustments in the service menu. After calibration, the grayscale tracked within ± 60 K of the standard 6,500 K, except for one + 110 K spike at 30 IRE (the dark end of the scale) - mostly excellent performance. Color decoding was on the mark, showing no red or green error. The TV was unable to fully resolve 720p or 1080i multiburst test patterns. Full Lab Results
Color rendition, on the other hand, turned out to be one of the TH-42PX60U's strong suits. Thanks to its impressively accurate color temperature, it did a great job of faithfully presenting the cold look of the Narnian winter and then transitioning to the warm glow of the fire inside Mr. Tumnus's house. Colors on DVD were well-saturated, too: As the children enter Aslan's camp in Chapter 14, the red, gold, and yellow tents, as well as the lush, green grass, looked natural and vivid.

When I switched over to HDTV, I found the color just as pleasing. Viewing a recent episode of Commander in Chief on ABC HD, I found the red, blue, and gold on the American flags lined up behind Mac (Geena Davis) appropriately majestic and eye-catching.

This Panasonic's 1,024 x 768-pixel array isn't quite enough to fully resolve 720p HDTV, and our resolution test patterns confirmed this. Still, both 720p and 1080i sources looked good, if just a little soft. For example, the interior of the White House on Commander in Chief looked great, with details such as wood grain in the furniture easily visible. At the same time, very fine details such as the individual strands of Geena Davis's hair were lost compared with their appearance on sharper sets we've tested.

BOTTOM LINE As 42-inch plasma TVs go, the Panasonic TH-42PX60U is fairly typical. It does some things wrong, such as its sketchy shadow detail, and some things right, like its solid color. But in the end, its overall performance didn't equal its price tag, and that will make it a hard sell among knowledgeable shoppers.

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