Panasonic Viera TH-42PV500
- Superb image quality, HDMI input, high definition
- Could do with more in-depth image controls for the tweakers out there
One of the best plasma units we have seen - and good value too
Price$ 4,999.00 (AUD)
LCD televisions have been hogging the limelight recently and it's easy to forget that for all their glory they're only now catching up to the level of image quality that plasma TVs have enjoyed for a while. In that time, plasma manufacturers haven't exactly been sitting on their collective hands either and Panasonic has just released its shiny new eighth-generation Viera plasma displays to market.
The exact model we're looking at is the 42-inch, high-definition TH-42PV500, of which there's also a 50-inch version and another, cheaper standard-definition version. Interestingly, due to physical limitations inherent in the plasma panel manufacturing process the resolution of the eighth-generation panel used in the 42PV500 remains unchanged from its predecessor at 1,024 x 768. This is something that might seem at first unusual - in a world where we're used to specifications that make exponential leaps and bounds with the passing of each generation - but ultimately is no big deal as the pixel count is high enough already to display a true 720p high-def signal.
Where the real technological progression comes in, is the video processing behind it all and the actual composition and electrical interaction of the gases that a plasma panel is made of. In terms of video processing, Panasonic has introduced an updated colour management system (the imaginatively named Viera Colour Management System), the aim of which is to smooth the onscreen image and eliminate those horrible colour banding problems some flat-panel TVs are prone to. The new engine is capable of producing roughly twice the number of graduations in colour shading as previous models and although there are still rare occasions when colour banding is noticeable, it is better than ever now. In fact, overall colour accuracy is so good we even got over the fact there was no way to tweak red, green and blue channels individually. There's really no need since the Panasonic engineers seem to have got it spot on and the single, all-encompassing colour slider is all you need for setting the overall colour saturation to your personal taste.
Black levels and contrast are superb thanks to two things - a new black filter has been applied to the glass to optimise light output, and a new, more energy-efficient mix of gas has been used that illuminates at a lower electrical charge. According to Panasonic, this raises maximum brightness by 10% and results in a wonderfully bright and vibrant onscreen image.
All our test discs looked as good as we've ever seen them - The Two Towers Extended Edition waivers between light and dark scenes every few minutes and is a great way of seeing how a display handles highly contrasting scenes and shadow detail. The Incredibles, on the other hand, has a colour palette at the opposite end of the scale with plenty of saturated reds and pin-sharp detail. Again, the 42PV500 did a sterling job reproducing the information packed away on this disc.
Of course image quality is only part (admittedly the biggest part) of the allure of a new TV; how easy it is to set up and use goes a long way towards making the perfect telly. To this end the menu system, the way you tune the channels and the way you access various settings is as simple as ever.
Onboard speakers lack punch and bass but are otherwise perfect for everyday TV viewing, while input options are in abundance with both HDMI and component sockets on hand for the ultimate in image quality. We feel this is easily one the best value and best quality large-screen televisions to date.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Evapolar USB air conditioner review
- 2 LED Lenser P7R Professional Torch review
- 3 Aftershokz Wireless Trekz Titanium Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones review
- 4 Review: Periscope users rejoice with Feiyu’s G4 Plus 3-Axis Gimbal for Smartphone video
- 5 2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost review
Latest News Articles
- Japan starts 8K TV broadcasts in time for Rio Olympics
- Android TV's universal search feature finally works with Netflix
- Vizio’s latest 4K TVs make eye-popping HDR more affordable
- Netflix flips the switch on eye-popping HDR video streaming
- Sony’s pricey Ultra video-streaming service goes live today, but you'll need a new high-end 4K Sony TV to use it
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCWAN Architect and ConsultantWA
- CCVideo Conference Support Officer- VoIP, LAN, WAN, RemedyNSW
- CCContract Web Developer (160915/WD/vmp)Asia
- FTOutbound TelesalesVIC
- CCBusiness Analyst - Telecom ProjectNSW
- CCBusiness ArchitectNSW
- CCSenior Change ManagerVIC
- CCPMO AnalystNSW
- CCTechnical Architect/DesignerACT
- FTJava DeveloperNSW
- CCIT Security ArchitectACT
- FTBusiness Development Manager | ICT intelligent systems integrationVIC
- CCSenior Project ManagerACT
- CCContract Systems Analyst (IT Security) 160928/JP/653Asia
- FTMDM EngineerNSW
- FTCarrier/ Industrial Network ConsultantsWA
- CCSoftware TesterACT
- FTSenior Front End DeveloperNSW
- CCNetwork and Security EngineerNSW
- CCSecurity Cleared IT Professionals - Expression of InterestSA
- CCiOS DeveloperNSW
- FTNetwork and Security Design EngineerNSW
- CCSolutions ArchitectACT
- CCBI Reporting AnalystACT
- FTAndroid DeveloperNSW