Sanyo PDP-42XS1

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Sanyo PDP-42XS1

Pros

  • Sexy design, Easy to install, Easy to use.

Cons

  • Excessive dot pitch, Noise on dark colours, Pixel fluctuations.

Bottom Line

The Sanyo PDP-42XS1 is not the best plasma on the market and considering the fact that it is standard definition and has image flaws, it is not our first choice.

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As the centre piece of your lounge room a television should exude style while also displaying the highest quality image. Sanyo certainly nailed the style side of things with the PDP-42XS1 but the image quality still needs a little work.

This plasma display is a thing of beauty. The bezel is finished in piano black and the stand and casing elements are attractive brushed aluminium. The controls are on the side of the unit and fairly flush with the case making them both attractive and functional without getting in the way or disrupting the aesthetic. Anyone would be proud to own a TV that looks this good especially when you consider how much your friends will drool over it.

Unfortunately, in our tests, the Sanyo didn't stand up as well as it should have and there were some visual problems that lowered our respect for the unit. There were noise problems and pixel fluctuations but the most frustrating issue was the enormous dot pitch (the space between each pixel) which produced a noticeable fly screen effect, even at a comfortable viewing distance.

The unit has a fair few ports catering for a variety of devices with support for HDMI, Component, Composite Video, and PC connection via 15pin D-Sub. We would have liked an extra component slot since not everyone has jumped on the HDMI bandwagon just yet but considering the price of this unit, we found the features more than reasonable.

Setting up the 42XS1 was hassle free and the built-in tuner found all of the stations without a problem. The quality of the reception was rather poor though since the tuner is only analog. These days, all TVs should come with a standard definition tuner at the very least. Anything under this is unusable and downright ugly to watch. However, this TV doesn't look too bad when compared with other TVs. The reason for this is that the unit is not a high definition television set. It only has a native resolution of 852 x 480 meaning that in order to do high definition it needs to scale the image. This always ends up looking inferior to true HD televisions but does tend to make standard definition devices like DVD players look good.

We tested the component and HDMI connections via both formal and informal testing methods. Our informal tests use the lobby scene from "The Matrix" and the T-Rex attack from "Jurassic Park". For the most part, the image looked fairly good when watching these films but only from a viewing distance of about 3 metres. Closer inspection showed a few obvious problems which looked like scaling issues among other things. The Sanyo also had problems reproducing accurate colours and a scene saturated in green, like that in the Matrix was rife with discolourations in the magenta spectrum. Block colours tended to have some digital artifacts and particles lacked definition. This is mostly due to the poor dot pitch also a less than impressive image processor. We also found that darker colours in the image were prone to some noise which, while not too severe, did contribute to the substandard of image quality.

This noise was made more obvious in our formal tests using Digital Video Essentials and in our PC tests using DisplayMate Video Edition. In DVE we observed noise on dark and dim colours in our colour block tests and some noise on mid-to-dark greys in the greyscale test patterns.

When connecting to the PC via 15 pin D-Sub we noticed the same noise problems although to a lesser extent. We found that the noise and discolourations were most noticeable on component and less of a problem in HDMI and D-Sub although still a problem nonetheless. We also found that across all connections there were various degrees of pixel fluctuations. This looked like a wave of moving pixels moving diagonally across the image. Again, this was a large problem in component but still present in the other input options.

If this were a high definition television we would recommend it based solely on its low price. However, since it is standard definition only, the price is slightly elevated and can only be justified with incredible picture quality. Since the Sanyo PDP-42XS1 is not the most brilliant television on the market, the price is a little too high. This is by no means a horrible television set however, it wouldn't be our first choice when looking for a plasma either.

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