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Panasonic TX-P46G20 June 2010
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n www.panasonic.co.uk n 0844 844 3852 n £1,300
test freeview hd
Tech Data Freesat only scan: 0m 15s 0
Full scan, Astra 2/Eurobird: 19m 0
Common Interface supports: Not specified Power consumption: In use 170W; Standby 0.04W
Features Model: TX-P46G20 Screen size: 46in Resolution: 1920 x 1080p Contrast ratio: 5,000,000:1 Tuners: Analogue UHF; DVB-T, DVB-T2, DVB-S Speakers: 2 x 10W EPG: Freeview 7-day, Freesat 7-day CI slot: Yes Teletext: Yes Software update: OTA SD out/in: 2 x Scart (RGB/S-video), composite video in, 2 x USB, SD card slot HD in: 4 x HDMI v1.4, component video, PC D-sub Audio out: Stereo phono, digital optical audio, headphones jack Audio in: 2 x stereo phono Data: USB 2.0, Ethernet, Wi-Fi (via optional extra dongle)
n Sensational HD pictures n Freeview, Freesat HD tuners n Excellent SD broadcast images
n Occasional motion-smoothing
artefacts n High-power usage at times n Speakers lack welly Build Setup Searching Navigation Performance Features Value
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Panasonic TX-P46G20 Panasonic steals the high ground with a feature-bursting Full HD plasma that covers all the bases – and a few others too The first TV equipped to handle Freeview HD and Freesat HD broadcasts, this is one of the most highly specified TVs ever made. It has four of the very latest HDMI 1.4 inputs, Ethernet for the VieraCast internet video service, Wi-Fi networking and even PVR recording via USB. You can record one (Freeview or Freesat SD/HD) programme at a time while watching a live programme on another tuner and timeshift TV. However, the hard drive must be selfpowered and recordings can only be played on the TV.
Intelligent design The image processor is the latest incarnation of Panasonic’s NeoPDP engine with 600Hz Sub-field Drive Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) Pro. This describes the process whereby 12 extra sub-frames are inserted into each of the 50 frames scanned per second. The result is super-smooth, judder and flicker-free images. Throw in a native contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1, more picture tweaks than there are buses in London and you have what amounts to one of the most cutting-edge screens on the planet, and not bad value for £1,300. The gloss black styling is a bit run of the mill, but it doesn’t distract from the picture. Installation is commendably straightforward for such a multi-faceted machine, with the option to add non-Freesat satellite channels manually or automatically via settings for Astra 2 /Eurobird, Astra 1, Hotbird or a user-specified satellite. Freesat’s EPG has the standard, multi-genre home page and the GuidePlus enhanced Freeview EPG is little
2 What Satellite & Digital TV June 2010
better, featuring tawdry-looking ads where you would hope to see a window of the live channel. Shows that are simultaneously broadcast in HD are flagged up on the BBC channels but, unlike Sky, you can’t actually tell what is native HD. The main drawback of IFC – which is not easy to switch off – is that a lot of content shot with a film grain (either original or simulated) often looks like low-budget video and introduces unwanted haloing around moving subjects. A bit of judder is infinitely preferable. At least IFC is automatically disabled when watching Blu-ray movies in 1080p/24Hz, and the THX mode is optimised for THX discs. Images are beautifully precise in terms of detail, resolution, and especially colours, which are so much more accurate than LCD or LED. The screen’s other fortes are HD sport (with IFC on) and broadcast HD on Freeview and Freesat. It also makes a jolly good fist of standard-definition content too, with commendably little MPEG noise n Adrian Justins
Verdict Given how well this set blends its cutting-edge image processing with its multi-platform capabilities, that £1,300 price tag seems even more like something of a bargain. The internet video service is a sideshow and while networking can be handy, the TV’s greatest strengths are where it really matters – in serving up astonishingly good images – especially HD movies and sport.