Panasonic TC-P42S60 (TCP42S60) Review
42" 1080p Wifi Plasma HDTV
by Jack Burden, Reviewer
The TC-P42S60 is a 1080p plasma TV that goes without 3D playback capabilities. Last year, Panasonic had the U50 but it did not offer the feature set of the S60. This shows a little support for those who are not interested in 3D, but still want a top quality picture with light internet functionality. The TCP42S60 is the perfect solution if that is what you are looking for.
Picture Quality Rating: 8.6/10
The TCP42S60 has a full 1080p display for showing HD content at its best. This is a great addition to the lineup considering that Panasonic's non-3D full HD plasma last year was on the bottom of the list. If you aren't on the 3D or LED bandwagon, this is the TV for you.
Video processing up-conversion from standard definition sources is strong, but not as good as the step-up ST60 in the 60Hz mode. There is apparent judder, but nothing out of the ordinary. There is no de-judder mode (Motion Smoother) on the S60 to smooth out the judder, but these de-judder technologies usually cause more harm than good by eliminating too much background blur.
Black Level and Contrast
The TC-P42S60 does not have the Infinite Black Pro panel of the ST60 series above it. This leads to black levels and contrast that are not as strong. Even though they are not as strong, they should still be considered excellent when compared to budget models. The S60 is especially strong when compared against low end LCD and LED displays.
Deep blacks are seen on the Panasonic S60 series. Color is also another strong point as seen in the example here. In a bright room, screen reflections tend to stand out more than desired
600Hz Sub-field Drive
This feature is really just the name of a plasma TVs refresh rate. Plasma TVs have always had a better refresh rate over LCD and LEDs simply because the display technology in plasma sets. The 600Hz sub-field drive in the TC-P42S60 handles fast action and side to side panning like the best of them. It lacks the 2500 focused-field drive of the ST60, but 600Hz is enough to handle the needs for most. There is little to no visible motion lag with fast action (at least not that the human eye can detect).
Picture Mode Options
Vivid – ridiculous overblown except you will want to use it with non-animated 3D content with the Motion Smoother on Mid setting.
Standard – Too dim, Panasonic's energy saving mode, best to avoid this one.
Home Theater – Very nice picture in this mode brings a lot of light into the picture. TV set to Warm1 white balance.
Cinema – Similar to Home Theater mode in quality except it introduces a much greener tint to the picture (Warm2 WB setting).
Custom – Of course meant to customize, it starts out with 100% contrast and the Motion Smoother set to Mid and totally juices the picture color, overblown like the Vivid setting.
Features Rating: 7.9/10
Online Movies, Internet TV, and Other Connectivity Features
The Online Movies is a feature that holds the middle ground between a full Viera Connect platform and no internet functionality at all. It basically offers access to the top online content providers like Netflix, Hulu, and others like it. This looks to be a very useful compromise for not implementing the full blown Viera Connect suite.
The TCP42S60 also includes networking features like DLNA for access to the home network. This allows for quick and easy sharing of content through the built-in wifi of the TV. Viera Link allows the user to control other Viera Link devices, like a blu-ray player, with the S60 remote.
The optional Electronic Touch Pen is also available on the S60 series. The pen allows you to add a pesonal touch to photos and video by writing directly on the screen. The result can then be shared using the Swipe & Share 2.0 features. 2 pens can be added for $80
As we go down the line, Panasonic continues to shed inputs. The S60 series includes two HDMI connections and two USB ports. Two HDMI spots may be too few for some, but that is nothing an A/V receiver can't fix. This is an especially easy solution if you already have a home theater of some sort. The two USB ports shouldn't be a problem since wifi is built into the set, which frees up a spot.
Sometimes there is hollow (tunnel-esque) effect that turning the volume up does not remedy. Sound is generally OK from the sound system that has 2 X 10 watt speakers. The standard modes are Standard, Music, Ambience, User. The Natural Surround mode isn't bad for movies but we prefer the simple Standard mode with everything else off. Treble (+6) and bass (-5) which helped slightly.
Appearance and Design
This shot shows the design of the 42S60. The silver trim only runs along the top and bottom of the screen. That small touch sets it apart from the ST60 series plasmas
I was pleasantly surprised by the design of this TV. It looks and feels more expensive than I though it would. The frame is about an inch and it has silver trim bars top and bottom. Depth is 2.5 inches except for the bottom of the panel which is just over 3” to accommodate the speakers.
Value/Bang for the Buck Rating: 9/10
It's hard to beat the S60 in the value department with price of $599. The TC-P42S60 is a fantastic deal as long as you don't mind going without the very best picture or 3D compatibility. General picture quality is outstanding for the money, just watch out for brightly lit rooms. The only other competing plasma TVs are 720p, so Panasonic has the smaller Full HD plasma covered. An equivalently priced LED TV like the Samsung UN40F5000 is about the same price but cant compete on picture quality unless it's in a very bright room. It goes without the limited interent features of the S60 as well.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
|Jack Burden has been reviewing and writing reviews in the consumer electronics category for 7 years with CEAG. He considers grayscale gradation, film patterned retarders, and focus field drives to be fun topics. Read more about Jack|
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