Panasonic TH-42PA20 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 211 Old 07-11-2003, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, the kids are finally asleep and I've been able to play around with the new set for an hour or so. First impressions have been very positive...so far. Please remember that these are just one man's opinions and by no means am I an expert at judging PQ.

I will say that I have spent the last month viewing several, if not all, plasmas mentioned on this forum in person. The reasons I decided on the Panny 42ED (in no specific order):

-Panasonic seem to display solid black levels
-Seem to have been recognized as a top plasma on this Forum
-cost
-size was perfect for my viewing. I have an office that has about 7 feet of viewing distance from the couch and chair.
-HDCP (DVI) and built in tuner. This wasn't a deal breaker, but made it an easier decision.
-Most of the content I will be viewing is Direct TV SD and DVDs. I do watch plenty of HD, but that will be done downstairs on a different set.
-Integrated speakers. No Receiver in office.
-New display. I figured it would have the latest and greatest.

So, on to the good stuff. I was quite impressed with the esthetic's of the set when I first pulled it out of the box. Personally, I like the silver on black look. The Display was bundled in a very large box which included the TY-ST42PA20 (that what the manual calls it) stand, manual, a bag of large and small ferrite cores, remote(batteries included), they also bundled some tie wraps for your wires.

I was looking for anything about the Contrast Ratio but couldn't find it.

The Dimensions: 46.06W X 29.91H X 3.90D
Weight: 77.2 LBS

Features:
BBE VIVA - Audio feature
Closed Caption
3D Y/C Filter
Linear PIP
V-chip

I went straight to the DVI hook up out of my HD200 receiver and plugged in my Panny RP-91 to Component 1. The display is housed with a nice selection of inputs: Component 1 and 2, SVIDEO 1 and 2, 3 Composite inputs and the DVI input.

My first thoughts were, "Man, this is way too bright!". The picture looked like a DLP picture (brightness wise). I quickly went into the Video settings and changed it off the VIVID picture setting. By the way, this was around 3:00 PM and I have some serious ambient light working. After changing the video settings to Normal, the picture looked much better, but I was still feeling like the brightness was too much. I switch to CINEMA mode which seemed to help out a bit. Based on trial and error, I felt the sweet spot for PQ was to set the STB on 1080i output and set the picture to Panoramic via the Sony. I played around with 480P and 480i via SVIDEO, but settled on 1080i. SVIDEO was just too dull IMO. It was very bright and the coloring was dull. AS I flipped through the channels, one item I noticed very quickly was that SD via Direct TV was stunning. IMHO it was the best I have seen from my Plasma ventures. There was no signs of artifacts or pixelation (SP). Just a nice clear picture. Very nice black level and the colors were stunning. HD was very impressive as well. Watched the Discovery channel for awhile and thought this is really CLOSE to HD caliber viewing. Not quite there, but very close. It seemed like the HD content was still a bit bright and you could see some graininess in the picture.

DVD was next. I spun through a few chapters of ATOC and was very impressed with the PQ. Once again, I was not blown away, but thought it was a very nice picture. I noticed the same graininess (not sure the term) I was seeing on the HD content. The picture appeared to be a bit more blurry than watching it on an HD display (maybe the settings). I switched it to CINEMA mode as well.

The sound, well, it serves its purpose. Nothing that you would show off to your buddy, but certainly nice for watching TV.

All in all, I am very pleased with my purchase. Based on the little time I have had with the set, I truly believe this set needs some time to warm up and be tweaked. Out of the box, it seemed that most settings were just too bright.

On a side note, it does allow you to label inputs (or SKIP them). It has a few Surround sound features in the audio menu. Picture in Picture or Split screen. Four aspect modes (JUST, FULL, ZOOM , and Normal). The remote is very user friendly. And the manual actually spend about 4 to 5 pages on PC HOOK UP. Haven't read through it all, but curious what it outlines.

Anyway, I going downstairs to play some more and will certainly update the latest findings.

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post #2 of 211 Old 07-11-2003, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Picture of the display
LL

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post #3 of 211 Old 07-11-2003, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Letterman show in SD: 1080i output and Panoramic stretch
LL

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post #4 of 211 Old 07-11-2003, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Bad HD pic (camera issue), but you get the point. Discovery
LL

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post #5 of 211 Old 07-11-2003, 09:24 PM
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Thanks for the information!

Are you watching SD Directv through composite or S-video cables?
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post #6 of 211 Old 07-11-2003, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Max's Dad
Thanks for the information!

Are you watching SD Directv through composite or S-video cables?
Actually, I'm watching it through the DVI input and it looks wonderful. I tried SVIDEO and wasn't overly impressed. Once again, this is just my two cents. I'm open to suggestions.

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post #7 of 211 Old 07-11-2003, 10:32 PM
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Thanks Cabber for the info.

For DVD you should try The Fifth Element (Superbit version is even better) and Monsters INC. AOTC has a soft picture IMO. Braveheart and Blade also are excellent.

More suggestions here:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=fifth+element
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post #8 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 12:04 AM
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Are you going to calibrate the panny with an Avia, if you do can you post your settings, especially if you use component inputs. Having read posts on the pwd5, I see that the scale for the new panny is different the range for brightness, color etc. going from 0-63. Thanks
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post #9 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 01:52 AM
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<<Features:
BBE VIVA
...
V-chip>>

I've said it before and I'll say it again: "Do not buy a TV without BBE VIVA *and* the V-chip.









OK, I'm kidding. It's nice to see that as a TV it has a CC decoder. I'd very much like one of those on my next plasma as an integreated feature.

There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working.
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post #10 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 06:50 AM
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What's BBE VIVA and what's a V-chip?

"Common Practice Does Not Necessarily Mean Common Sense."
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post #11 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 07:02 AM
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Cabber

First off I'm jealous :D

In your opinion does the included stand make the plasma feel solid and secure and do you have complete confidence that your plasma will not tip over easily with an accidental nudge or what ever? From the picture it(plasma panel) almost looks as though it's balancing instead of secured if that makes sense.

Keep the reports coming as you spend time with your new toy.

Harley
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post #12 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike52
What's BBE VIVA and what's a V-chip?
BBE VIVA is an audio feature that quite frankly is marketing garbage. As I mentioned the speakers are not something you would brag about and VIVA is just an added 3D SOund feature.

V-CHip is a locak or parental guidance feature for specific programming. Nothing I have ever used.

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post #13 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by HuskerHarley
Cabber

First off I'm jealous :D

In your opinion does the included stand make the plasma feel solid and secure and do you have complete confidence that your plasma will not tip over easily with an accidental nudge or what ever? From the picture it(plasma panel) almost looks as though it's balancing instead of secured if that makes sense.

Keep the reports coming as you spend time with your new toy.

Harley
Interesting question. I've been moving the display around to get it in the right spot and have found it to be very stable. I wouldn't say that it cannot be pushed over, but it very much serves its purpose. I've been able to move the display a few inches at a time and the only way I see it falling is farward based on the weight distribution. It would really have to be hit or pulled pretty hard.

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post #14 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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I could really use some help on setting this bad boy up. I have not been able to find a picture that I am convertable with. Interestingly enough, when I set the PICTURE, SHARPNESS, and BRIGHTNESS to the bare minimum I get really close. Is this normal? The picture jsut seems to have a haze or "screen door" effect.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still very impressed with this unit, but still tweaking it out a bit. I'm using the DVI connection as my primary input.

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post #15 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 09:17 AM
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If you don't have the Avia or other such calibration disc handy, try Rich's Steaming Rat method. It's been tested by many folks around here and seems to hit the spot for eyeball calibration.

Remember, no matter where you go... You're not where you were anymore.
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post #16 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 12:43 PM
 
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How close is your viewing distance? The "screen door" effect may be noticeable within 8feet on an ED plasma.
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post #17 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 01:54 PM
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I'm not sure what a haze effect it, but a screen-door effect is a very specific thing and cannot be adjusted away on a plasma.

You gotta be a little specific in what the issue is and definitely, definitely get Avia and/or try Rich's method as Moebius recommends.

There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working.
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post #18 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
I'm not sure what a haze effect it, but a screen-door effect is a very specific thing and cannot be adjusted away on a plasma.

You gotta be a little specific in what the issue is and definitely, definitely get Avia and/or try Rich's method as Moebius recommends.
Rogo,

It's almost like a whitish greyish haze over the picture intead of a nice bright, clear picture. I mostly notice it on the HD material. I've been able to lower the brightness, which helps a bit, but I can't take it any lower.

By the way, for my learning purposes, would you be so kind as to define the "screen door effect"? Thanks for your help.

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post #19 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by ThumperBoy
How close is your viewing distance? The "screen door" effect may be noticeable within 8feet on an ED plasma.
Nine feet...maybe ten since I pushed it back a few inches due to the size.

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post #20 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by cabber
Rogo,

By the way, for my learning purposes, would you be so kind as to define the "screen door effect"? Thanks for your help.
Here's a good definition by ThumperBoy:

The "screendoor" effect is when you view too close to an ED plasma display
(42" resolution 852x480) you can see the pixel structure in the background
like looking thru a screendoor.
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post #21 of 211 Old 07-12-2003, 11:11 PM
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I actually just pulled the trigger and bought one of these today. Got a fantastic price on it here in Chicago. Can't wait to play around with it.


Quick question for anyone who knows
I bought the Peerless PSWPAN42 wall mount on the assurance that it worked with last year's Pannys, but is the correct model for the 42PA20 as well. Can anyone confirm this?
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post #22 of 211 Old 07-13-2003, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by nick376
I actually just pulled the trigger and bought one of these today. Got a fantastic price on it here in Chicago. Can't wait to play around with it.


Quick question for anyone who knows
I bought the Peerless PSWPAN42 wall mount on the assurance that it worked with last year's Pannys, but is the correct model for the 42PA20 as well. Can anyone confirm this?

The four screw holes position on the TH-42PA20U are the same as the current/older models
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post #23 of 211 Old 07-13-2003, 11:14 AM
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Cabber, any more updates for us yet? Enquiring minds want to know.

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post #24 of 211 Old 07-13-2003, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Ah yes, the weekend has come and gone and I have settled into enjoying what I consider a fabulous investment. I just got through watching Alias, MLB on ESPN HD, and ZORO all in high def. One word - fantastic. Maybe it took some getting used to or needed to settle in for a day or two, but the picture has really taken on a serious "WOW" factor for me. The colors are extremely vibrant, the black levels are outstanding and I'll say this again, the Standard Def programming from Direct TV is amazing IMHO. I notice zero artifacts or picture degradation....really. It looks like I am watching OTA Digital.

For SD, I have my HD200 outputting 480P and the FULL mode is very acceptable. I haven't noticed the stretching yet.

The more I look at it, the more I enjoy the silver on black casing. At night, it seems to give an interesting 3D perception. I walked into the room last night and thought I was looking at that floating glass Sony XBR. The only difference is that the black level actually matched the casing of the display. When I viewed the Sony I saw two shades of black (the black trim and the picture black).

Anyway, I let the kids watch Monsters Inc, and Toy Story yesterday and had a few people over that immediately said, "HOLY COW" that looks awesome. Followed by, "How much did you pay for that?" Followed by, "That's it!" (We all know that these movies look great on just about anything.)

Three interesting notes:
-DVI seems to clearly provide a better picture. I have watched a few hours of SD and HD via Component and noticed a slight grain or pixlelation to the PQ.
-SIVDEO is lacking serious color compared to 480P and 1080i output from my HD200. I wouldn't keep the set if I had to watch it via SVIDEO. No "WOW" factor for me.
-720p Material from ESPN HD and ABC look better than 1080i material. I watched Discovery a few hours and as I mentioned the Cubs game and Alias and felt the 720p Material was more vibrant than 1080i.

I must say, my first impressions were very subdued, but I cannot turn this bad boy off right now. Really. This is a great display for the price. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking at a 42 Display. HD or ED.

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post #25 of 211 Old 07-13-2003, 07:47 PM
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I'd like to extend a personal "thank you" for the updates and descriptions of the experiences with your new plasma. It's contributions like this, from you and the many other members of this and all of the forums at AVS, that make this place what it is -- excellent and highly recommended.

It was probably rough tearing yourself away, from what sounds like a wonderful product, and posting your impressions for those of us that are so very interested in the purchase of a plasma monitor. I and many others appreciate the effort.

And to everyone else that contributes and provides the first hand, up-to-date, behind-the-scenes and tough-to-get information that's so hard to find elsewhere -- many thanks and 3 cheers to you!

The most efficient path is seldom a straight line.
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post #26 of 211 Old 07-14-2003, 04:49 AM
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Cabber
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Three interesting notes:
-DVI seems to clearly provide a better picture. I have watched a few hours of SD and HD via Component and noticed a slight grain or pixlelation to the PQ.
-SIVDEO is lacking serious color compared to 480P and 1080i output from my HD200. I wouldn't keep the set if I had to watch it via SVIDEO. No "WOW" factor for me.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm excited and disappointed at the same time, first of all what is a HD200?

My equipment (TWC, DVD player & Denon 3803) does not have DVI, I would have to use component or S-Video and after reading your explanation of how it looks makes me wonder if I should start looking at an alternative display.

Harley
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post #27 of 211 Old 07-14-2003, 05:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by HuskerHarley
Cabber

Three interesting notes:
-DVI seems to clearly provide a better picture. I have watched a few hours of SD and HD via Component and noticed a slight grain or pixlelation to the PQ.
-SIVDEO is lacking serious color compared to 480P and 1080i output from my HD200. I wouldn't keep the set if I had to watch it via SVIDEO. No "WOW" factor for me.


I'm excited and disappointed at the same time, first of all what is a HD200?

My equipment (TWC, DVD player & Denon 3803) does not have DVI, I would have to use component or S-Video and after reading your explanation of how it looks makes me wonder if I should start looking at an alternative display.

Harley
Harley,


The HD200 is a Set Top Box made by Sony for Direct TV viewing. You can read more about it by running a Search in the Hardware forum.

The difference between component and DVI is very slight. I wouldn't rule this display out based on that data. I'm reporting my first impressions and IMO the DVI input provides a slightly better picture. Someone else may have a different perspective.

Does your TWC provide component out or is it Svideo? The interesting part about the HD200 is it lets you determine how you want to output the format to your display. I'm not sure what the hardware for TWC does. I've found that outputting 480p for Standard Broadcast produces a very nice picture. I believe that is because it is the native resolution of the TV (don't quote me on that. Some of the experts can validate that). I have a few other options as well. 1080i and alter the picture with Panoramic mode on the HD200. 480i which I have to run through Svideo. The Display will take these feeds and scale them to its native resolution up or down.

After watching a few hours of Standard Def via 480p or 1080i, I feel that using svideo is a waste. The colors are bland and the PQ is just flat. This may be due to my current settings, but I did make an attempt to alter those on each input.

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post #28 of 211 Old 07-14-2003, 05:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Murphy Jr
I'd like to extend a personal "thank you" for the updates and descriptions of the experiences with your new plasma. It's contributions like this, from you and the many other members of this and all of the forums at AVS, that make this place what it is -- excellent and highly recommended.

It was probably rough tearing yourself away, from what sounds like a wonderful product, and posting your impressions for those of us that are so very interested in the purchase of a plasma monitor. I and many others appreciate the effort.

And to everyone else that contributes and provides the first hand, up-to-date, behind-the-scenes and tough-to-get information that's so hard to find elsewhere -- many thanks and 3 cheers to you!
Joe,

Thanks for the positive reinforcement. I hope I have been clear in my posts that I am not an expert videophile. These are just the opinions of an addicted electronics junkie.

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post #29 of 211 Old 07-14-2003, 06:09 AM
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Cabber. I, too, would like to thank you for your help...so I will. THANK YOU.
I have just regular 'ol cable, no box, just a coax cable coming through the wall. What would I need to enhance the picture on a panny like yours?

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post #30 of 211 Old 07-14-2003, 06:12 AM
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Are the NTSC tuner and speakers removable in the new panny 42" ED?
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