Panasonic Plasma Offers High Quality At Low Price
By Dave Jansen | Tuesday | 20/10/2009
The best thing about this panel is easily its price. The number of features it has and the image quality it can produce make the cost highly attractive. This 12th generation panel looks great and can recreate colours brilliantly while also delivering impressive black levels. It will take a little calibration to get it looking its best but with a little effort, it will satisfy most users.
The TH-42H10A is mid range when compared with other Panasonic plasmas but the quality is far beyond your usual mid-range television. It is a 1080p panel, capable of 24p, and has 600Hz subfield technology implemented. The 600Hz subfield provides a similar motion control to what you would see in an LCD television but here it is far more subtle. When testing the panel with various films and live television, the motion was excellent with little to no judder.
We tested 1080p content with Blu-ray films and 1080p gaming. At this resolution the panel shines with pure blacks and accurate colours. The factory default settings need to be tweaked though as they are a little too high in sharpness and the contrast was set a little low. In addition to the manual settings there are also the standard display modes but mostly it is best to avoid them as they don't look all that good. The 'Dynamic' setting looks horrid with most content but when viewing animation films, it actually makes it look much better than the user defined mode. Apart from this, it is best to leave the panel on your own settings.
There are also many picture settings like DNR and contrast enhancement but we tend to have all these turned off. As with most panels, the best result usually comes when very little processing of the source is performed and, as such, the image tended to look better with extra features like these turned off.
We also tested standard resolution content like DVDs and live television. The result obviously wasn't as exceptional as the HD content but the scaling was performed quite well. There was very little image noise and the only aberrations came from the natural lack of resolution from viewing SD content on a full HD panel. On the whole, the standard definition performance was very good and will make those with large DVD collections happy.
The speakers have a surprisingly wide volume range and suffered from very little distortion at high volumes. The mid tones were handled well and dialogue and sound effects didn't mesh too much. The speakers tended to favour the treble end of the spectrum with a little loss in bass performance but without a dedicated sub woofer, this is to be expected. If you don't have a home theatre set up, the speakers on this unit will do nicely.
Compared to the LED backlit LCD televisions, this plasma isn't the most energy efficient way to watch television. Earning only a two star rating, it will cost more to run in the long run, but it is still far more efficient that many other plasma televisions on the market. It also produced very little heat.
The connection options include three HDMI ports, One Component, three composite and an S-Video port. It also has optical audio passthrough and PC input as well. These connection options seem a little outdated with the three composite ports as many televisions today have four HDMI and two component and very little support for older formats like composite and s-video. That being said, three HDMI ports is more than enough for most people and you aren't likely to run out of places to connect devices any time soon. If you were to struggle with connections in the future, you can always use a home theatre receiver.
From a design standpoint, the unit looks like many others out there with a glossy piano black bezel. It has a silver stripe at the bottom of the unit but it is nothing remarkable. It does look quite classy but it isn't anything above and beyond other televisions on the market. Like most plasma televisions, its design downfall comes in the screen glass which is a little too reflective. This makes glare an issue when you are watching the television with any other light sources present. During the day or with the lights on in the lounge room, you will be watching your own reflection as much as the television itself. In a darkened room, this problem disappears.
The Panasonic TH-42G10A is an excellent television. It has the superior image quality that Panasonic is becoming synonymous with and comes in at an attractive price point. It doesn't have the image processing power of some of the higher end models, suffers from screen glare and lacks many of the advanced features of its more expensive cousins but it is well worth looking at when deciding which television to buy.
The TH-42G10A is available now and retails for $2,299
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