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    Panasonic TH42PF20U

    4 Comments by Ghost Published on 09-10-2010 04:27 PM
    I had a chance to evaluate a new Panasonic TH-42PF20U recently.

    First impression:
    This seems to be a very well built display. For starters, there are 2 loop handles bolted to the display at the top edges on the back. This makes it easy to move the display around and can easily be taken off if desired as well. Although they donít add to the depth of the display, they can be seen from any angle of the sides.
    The bezel on this unit is fairly slim, all connections are vertical, and there are 3 cooling fans on the back top. The cooling fans go to full speed for 1-2 seconds when 1st turned on, they can be quite loud at full speed. But even after a few hours of testing and many full screen white fields, the fans never went to full speed during use. At their low settings, they were very quiet (not noticeable at all beyond 2 meters, even in a quiet room).
    There are small speaker terminals at the outer edge, on each side. This makes for short jumpers to connect to the optional speakers. I hooked up some bookshelf speakers for testing. The display is rated at 8 watts per channel and it sounds solid. Certainly not going to be jamming out but it has decent power to fill a room, much like an ABUS system.

    Mounting:
    The mounting pattern on the back is 600mm x 400mm. Most any universal mount should work fine. The holes come with plastic plugs in them, to protect the threads. The holes are slightly recessed but only by about 1/8Ē. I didnít use spacers and had no problem, the back is sturdy.
    Weight is given at 53 lbs. The handles on back made it easy to move these 53 lbs. around with ease.

    Power consumption:
    UL sticker says 400 watts. Manual says average power consumption is 165 watts. I didnít test this to see what APL (average picture level) resulted in these numbers. Standby power is given at 0.2 watts (Energy Star sticker). During testing, I didnít notice a huge amount of heat coming off the panel. Modern plasma displays have come a long way in reduced power consumption & heat from what they use to be.

    Control:
    IR = I tested IR codes for this device from URCís database. All discrete functions are there & work. There are codes for discrete aspect ratio control but not in URCís data base (great oversight URC). They are in RTIís data base but didnít have an RTI remote at the time to test. So I donít know if these work on this display or not.
    RS232 = I have the .pdf of the ownerís manual, that has the RS232 commands and structure. It uses a Ďstraight thruí cable. Some of the protocol is scattered thru the manual in a few different places. I didnít test, so Iím unsure how much 2-way feedback is available with this panel.
    LAN = Network control is stated as using the same commands as RS232. The only difference is you have to engage the LAN control in the menu. This also means the TV will only go into standby (orange light) instead of shutting down (red light) in this mode. Standby power is listed as 0.9 watts.

    Menu items:
    There are endless things that can be set in the menu. Such as max volume levels, turn on volume levels, input to start on, input lock, lock remote functions, lock panel functions, lock both, etcÖ There is also a feature from the Premiere series that allows memory profiles to be stored. But oddly there are no commands to recall these profiles discretely; you have to dig thru deep menus to select them. So in the end, pretty useless except for a tech savvy user.
    Also the usual setup available for multi-display use Ė from 2x1 up to 5x5 and everything in-between. And multi PiP setup.

    Performance:
    I have the calibration data in .pdf and .jpg of the CIE chart. The data looks good with the exception of the CIE chart. For whatever reason, Panasonic has chosen to use primary colors far outside of any known standard. This is not uncommon to come across from manufactures (although itís been awhile since I seen one this far off) but it is always unacceptable to have such blatant disregard for standards. What makes this bad, is the fact there are no CMS (color management controls) on this display anywhere. So there is no way to correct this error on Panasonicís part.
    Other than that, the color tracked pretty flat, the GAMMA was good at 2.33, and video processing was OK. Black level was good; no side-by-side to compare to other reference standards but it was pretty good. Light output was solid 30 foot lamberts. 1:1 pixel map available for 1080i/p signals.
    Watching some Blu-ray at 1080p/24 I was pleased with the picture I saw. I was only distracted once in awhile when pure colors of green, cyan, or yellow where shown and the failing of the correct primaries were showed. This however is something almost no regular consumer will ever notice. If I hadnít known before watching, I might not have noticed Ė color is very subjective to the human eye.

    Notes:
    In the picture menu settings, the ĎMONITORí mode is suppose to be the most accurate and is the only mode to disable dynamic APL (varying black & white levels). Well it locks out a lot of controls in this mode and peak light output is set at 15 foot lamberts. No way to adjust. This is just too dark and washed out for reference quality, as well as other issues with this mode. The ĎCINEMAí mode is the next best one, with the least amount of dynamic APL applied. In this mode I was able to adjust everything as perfect as it could be. 30 foot lamberts was the most light I could get out of this mode, which is fine. More light output can be had from the ĎSTANDARDí or ĎDYNAMICí modes but it hurts the picture quality in many other areas. There is also a special picture mode in the Options menu for Studio W/B & Studio Gain Ė this mode completely trashes the displayís picture quality. I have no idea what Panasonic had in mind for this but I donít think it came out as they intended. Same with the ĎCOLOR MANAGEMENTí setting; if you turn this ĎONí, it really messes the color up on the display.

    Overall, itís not a bad display. It is certainly a good value for the performance, features, and quality you get at this price point. If only Panasonic would have chosen correct primaries and put CMS controls in there. That would only leave the video processing to whine about, which isnít that bad either. De-interlacing of 1080i material resulted in the usual jaggies you see with cheap on board processing.
    Attached Thumbnails Pana_42PF20U CIE.jpg  
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  3. #2
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    Re: Panasonic TH42PF20U

    I can NOT get the manual to upload. It's in .pdf and 3.07MB in size. But this site will not take it.
    Here is a link to where you can download it:
    http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp...U&displayTab=R
    Brad

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    Re: Panasonic TH42PF20U

    good review! What are equipment and software are you using for your video calibration? I just upgraded to Spectracal and Xrite stuff.

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    Re: Panasonic TH42PF20U

    It would certainly throw the thread off topic getting into the calibration hardware and all the snake oil out there- we've had a couple of threads about it already.

    But to answer your question, I'm still using my trusty old ColorFacts 7.5 (although latest update broke some things and there is NO support for ColorFacts anymore) with an assortment of meters from Milori, etc..., optical comparator from TVSPro, Sencore VP401 (P.O.S.), and Oppo BDP83. Also every test disc ever created (seems close to it anyway).
    Brad

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    Re: Panasonic TH42PF20U

    Just a follow up, I used an RTI remote to test the discrete aspect ratio codes in thier database, when I stopped by the customers house.
    They do work with one weird exception. The codes 4:3, Full, Just, and Zoom worked fine on the composite video input (VCR was hooked to it). But they did not work on the component input that had a DirecTV receiver sending 1080i. Didn't have time to play with that part to figure out why.
    Brad

 

 

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