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 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung's squashing of malicious Tizen smart TV bugs is turning messy
- Report says Samsung's Tizen OS on smart TVs is a virtual playground for hackers
- Hisense displays successors to amazing Series 7 ULED - Series 8 and 9
- Sony shows off its new OLED and LCD TVs, video projector, and Bluetooth speakers
- Sony’s Bravia XBR-A1E OLED could be the first flat-screen TV with sound that doesn’t suck
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCJava Developer - IntergrationQLD
- FTChange AnalystQLD
- TPEOI - Developers and Tester (APS)ACT
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Solution Designer, Investment and Trading PlatformNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Analyst Programmer - Equities or DerivativesNSW
- CCImplementation Manager/PlannerNSW
- FTx3 Field EngineersVIC
- FTService Delivery Manager - Telecommunications InfrastructureNSW
- CCMaster Data Officer - SAPNSW
- CCSalesforce ArchitectVIC
- FTDigital Business Analyst/Project Manager | PermanentQLD
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperNSW
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- CCChange LeadQLD
- FTUX DesignerNSW
- CCSplunk Software DeveloperVIC
- TPBI DeveloperNSW
- FTUrgent -Java Developer (Programmer). 3 different positionsNSW
- FTSecurity ConsultantNSW
- FTTechnology Project ManagerNSW
- FTApplication Support Lead l Experience with health applicationsNSW
- FTSenior Procurement Specialist | 3mth ContractVIC