Test Bench: Panasonic TH-42PX60U 42-inch Plasma HDTV

Color temperature (User picture mode/Mid-Low color temperature before/after calibration): Low window (20 IRE): 6,464/6,492 K High window (80 IRE): 6,212/6,506 K Brightness (100-IRE window before/after calibration): 19.4/38.1 ftL

Even before calibration, the Panasonic TH-42PX60U's color temperature was better than that of many flat panels we've seen. That said, it still benefited from calibration. I was able to correct the panel's initial reddish color cast and brought overall grayscale linearity to ±36 degrees kelvin (K), from the TV's out-of-the-box measurement of ±303 K. There was one +110 K spike at 30 IRE, though the rest of the grayscale tracked within ± 60 IRE. (Calibration needs to be performed by a qualified technician, so discuss it with your dealer before purchase, or call the Imaging Science Foundation at 561-997-9073.)

Surprisingly, the TV was not overly bright out of the box, measuring 19.4 foot-lamberts (ftL) in Cinema mode with the Warm color temperature preset and the backlight set to Light. After calibration that number rose to 38.1 ftL. As the TV's 1,024 x 768-pixel resolution specification suggests, and our tests confirmed, the TV was not able to fully resolve 1080i or 720p HDTV test patterns. Color decoding was right on the mark, showing no measurable green or red errors. Overscan measured a very respectable average of just 2 percent. Black-level retention was sub-par, however, with the TH-42PX60U's base black level varying quite noticeably as the picture's average brightness changed.

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