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Friday, June 16, 2006

Panasonic TH-42PV500

Panasonic’s TH-42PV500 aims to provide the perfect balance of features, specifications and picture quality, and very nearly gets it right, too. Its tech spec is right up there with the best, providing full HD-readiness in the shape of support for both 720p and 1080i via an HDCP enabled HDMI socket. All the other requisite inputs and outputs are present. In fact, the only one missing is DVI, which is no big loss.

In terms of features, the TH-42PV500 has quite a lot more to offer than the average plasma screen. There’s a built-in Freeview tuner for a start, with full electronic programme guide (EPG). The screen also has not one but two slots for removable media, an SD card slot and a PC card slot that will accept PCMCIA adapters for a wide range of storage media. Interestingly, the TH-42PV500 will not only play back digital photos and MPEG4 video stored on memory cards, it will also record video to them – up to nine hours at ‘normal’ quality on a 1Gb SD card.

However, we do have a few bones to pick with the TH-42PV500. Firstly, the set seems unnecessarily bulky next to many of the other sets on test, with a much bigger surround framing the screen, which incorporates a pair of built-in speakers. Also, the input sockets are all on the back of the set rather than on the underside, which makes it a pain for wall-mounters to plug in and unplug external components. Then, there’s the fact that you have to navigate through an on-screen menu to switch from one input to another, rather than selecting each one via a button on the remote.

What is really annoying about the TH-42PV500, however, is the fact that its picture quality is almost excellent. We say ‘almost’ because, while the set boasts an amazing palette of colours, fantastic detail and sharp images on both HD and SD sources, the set suffers from some contrast issues that seem at odds with the claimed 3000:1 ratio. Even with the brightness adjustment turned right down or the contrast turned right up, blacks still looked greyer than on ther sets

[via: activehome]

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