televisions

Panasonic TC-P42S2 Plasma HDTV Review

42 in.

An average plasma TV with a few notable problems, but some real bonuses, as well.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Motion Performance

Motion Smoothness (7.5)

The Panasonic TC-P42S2, along with most plasmas, seems to produce smoother motion that LCD TVs. It was clear that objects in motion lost some fine detail, but it was minimal compared to the last several LCD reviews we've done. The TV offers a Blur Reduction feature in the menu, but it seemed to have much less of am impact than similar features on LCD units. Typically, this feature produces a disarmingly smooth image that looks bizarre, especially when watching film-based content. The Panasonic TC-P42S2's Blur Reduction was more conservative, recovering some of that fine detail loss without making a movie look too weird.

Motion Artifacting (5.25)

The Panasonic TC-P42S2 is already at a little fuzzy, even at its best. It's the nature of plasma displays, and it's readily apparent if you sit too close. Given that baseline, we noticed a fair amount of detail and color smearing as the test patterns and other images moved across the screen. Like a vaseline lens, everything's a little fuzzy. It's not this way with all plasmas. The Panasonic TC-P42U2 seemed a little sharper than this. When we activated the Blur Reduction feature, it had very little effect on the sharpness or artifacting. More on how we test motion performance.

3:2 Pulldown & 24fps

The Panasonic TC-P42S2 had no problems with displaying film-based content in a 24fps format (i.e. most Blu-ray movies). In order to get the best performance, be sure to put the '3:2 Pulldown' feature (located in the Advanced Picture menu) in auto mode. More on how we test 3:2 pulldown and 24fps.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Resolution Scaling

The Panasonic TC-P42S2 has a native resolution of 1080p (1920 x 1080). But most of the video you'll be watching from cable, satellite, and other sources will be of a lower resolution. It's up to the TV's internal processing to upscale that content to fit on the screen. More on how we test resolution scaling.

480p

When viewing 480p content, the Panasonic TC-P42S2 lost 2% of the sides and 2% of the top and bottom due to overscan.

720p

With 720 p content, the TV also lost 2% on all sides due to overscan, and showed some problems with high-frequency patterns.

1080i

The 1080i content was the worst, which is unfortunate, because it's the most pervasive HD content resolution. While there was no overscan loss, we saw lots of problems with Moires appearing in high frequency patterns. False coloration, false geometric patterns, flashing, and jittering were all present in various types of patterns. How often you'll encounter these in everyday viewing is hard to say. We tend to notice it a lot in clothes with tight checkered or striped patterns.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Tour & Design
  3. Blacks & Whites
  4. Color Accuracy
  5. Motion
  6. Viewing Effects
  7. Calibration
  8. Remote Control
  9. Connectivity
  10. Audio & Menus
  11. Multimedia & Internet
  12. Power Consumption
  13. Panasonic Viera TC-P42U2 Comparison
  14. Samsung LN40C630 Comparison
  15. Sharp Aquos LC-40LE700UN Comparison
  16. Conclusion
  17. Series Comparison
  18. Photo Gallery
  19. Ratings & Specs
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

What's Your Take?

All Comments