Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Panasonic TH-42PX700 Review

42in Plasma
The jury is out on whether the extra outlay is justified. What is not in doubt is that this plasma is an excellent all round performer.
HD Ready: yes
Resolution: 1,024 x 768
Rating: 92%

Reviewed: 14 January 2008


The TH42PX700 like its younger brother the TH42PX70, comes with a pedestal, wall-mounting brackets, or on a Panasonic cabinet. The panel itself has a stylish minimalist glossy black finish which has a distinguishing silver strip at the bottom of the screen. For real impact and presence go for the Panasonic cabinet which is perfectly matched to the panel.


The TH42PX700 is an upgrade to the TH42PX70 upon which it is largely based. A very useful extra HDMI input has been added (taking the total to 3) along with Panasonic's 'Advanced Smart Sound Speaker system', which incorporates twin passive radiator woofers. Finally, a card slot has been added which takes SD or SDHC for the display of JPEG stills.

Screen: 42in 16:9
Sound System: Nicam
Resolution: 1,024 x 768
Contrast Ratio: 10,000:1
Other Features: Vreal Picture Processing, Deep Black Filter, Real Black Drive.
Sockets: 3 HDMI, 2 SCART, Component Video, Composite Video, PC input.

The TH42PX700 is one of Panasonic's 10th generation plasma screens, and as such has a completely new panel, the G10.

Although there are some 'added extras', The TH42PX700 still forms part of the base range of new plasmas from Panasonic and comes with a 1,024 x 768 resolution.

At the heart of the TH42PX700 is the latest incarnation of Panasonic's picture processing technology, Vreal2. Vreal2 brings together an impressive range of technological picture processing wizardry adapted for the 10th generation screens.

A Digital Optimiser has been designed to reduce digital noise originating from the video source itself, and also motion pattern noise which produces false contouring during motion.

Complementing Vreal technology is Panasonic's 'Deep Black Filter' and 'Real Black Drive' technologies which build upon the companies already legendary black level performance capabilities.

Another feature of the TH42PX700, Viera Link, uses high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) connections to automatically switch between different devices, put them in standby and take control of them with full menu access using a single remote.


The more powerful speakers on the PX700 certainly make their presence felt. Bass sounds are much deeper and overall clarity is much improved from the PX70.

Over the years, Panasonic have gained a legendary reputation for their black level performance and the TH42PX700 carries on this tradition. In fact, you could make a good argument for buying the TH42PX700 on the strength of its capabilities in this area alone. You really need to sit this screen alongside any LCD to really appreciate its strength in producing a stunning black level performance.

Panasonic's TH42PX700, with its 1024x768 resolution will downscale 1080i content (such as Sky) and will inevitably lose a degree of clarity as a result. The results of this downscaling however are hardly noticeable. Put this screen next to a full HD 1080p enabled alternative and on close inspection you will notice a difference, but are you prepared to pay a substantial amount more for the improvement?

Colour on the TH42PX700 is superb, with a level of accuracy and saturation that is a match for some more expensive plasmas. Colours appear deep and natural, and skin tones are always subtle and believable.

As expected motion handling is one of the TH42PX700s strengths, with no evidence of smearing at anytime, even with the quickest movie action sequences or sporting action.

High Definition (HD) on the TH42PX700 is almost faultless, and for a screen in this price bracket this is quite an achievement. Worthy again of particular mention are the superb black levels and the greyscale graduation which seems to pick up every subtlety of shadowy scenes in any situation.

With Standard Definition (SD) the TH42PX700 suffers like all plasma and LCDs in that the technology was just not built for SD sources. Not as accomplished as its smaller 37in brother the Th42PX700 is nevertheless one of the better SD performers. Sharpness and clarity generally remain intact even with fast motion sequences. The SD picture is not perfect, but easier to live with than most flat panels.


The TH-42PX700 will cost you at least £200 more than its TH-42PX70 sibling. The improved sonic capabilities will be especially welcome for those of you with larger living areas and an extra HDMI will almost certainly come in handy. Otherwise, performance is identical to the TH42-PX70, and you might just want to save yourself that £200 ...


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