What is the Panasonic TX-P42X60?
Design & Connections
Basic SetupAfter disabling all the unnecessary ‘enhancement’ controls, the Custom Viewing Mode proved the most accurate starting point, although only by a hair’s breadth. Still, since we’ve no multipoint gamma or white balance controls, we’re best starting there. As it happens, with the Warm Colour Temp selected, the X60 was already in pretty good shape, with just a small excess of green throughout. Green is the colour we least want a surfeit of, however, so even getting rid of what look like relatively small errors – averaging around 4, where below 3 is the target – will make a significant improvement to the picture. To the right, we can see from the CIE chart, that the colours are also lining up nicely to the Rec.709 standard, with a general tendency for being a bit too bright. Those results were achieved using the ‘Normal’ colour gamut; the Native one is much wider and, in fact, extremely close to what the VT65 can do. One of Panasonic’s big marketing claims for the VT65 and ZT65 was their ability to produce 98% of DCI with their new red phosphor but it seems even this relatively lowly model has similar capabilities. Hmm.
Even with ‘only’ 2 point White Balance sliders to manipulate, it’s more often than not possible to produce outstanding results and, after a few passes, we were left with an extremely neutral greyscale. It’s certainly a little more higgledy-piggledy than the results we can get with the likes of the VT but you’d be very hard pressed to notice with actual content. There wasn’t much we could do to stop the 42X60B revealing a little too much detail in the shadows, with the kink in gamma between black and 10% grey but it’s quite a minor difference all in all.
Contrast, Black Level & Screen UniformityLast year’s 720p Panasonic’s were a touch disappointing here, but the improvements in the higher-tier sets translate down, somewhat, to the X60. With a full screen black pattern reading 0.025cd/m2, it’s more than a capable performer and the X60 also did almost as well with mixed content, delivering an averaged black level of 0.03cd/m2 on the ANSI checkerboard test. For the record, with a peak light output set at about 120cd/2, the on/off contrast came in at 4760:1 with ANSI a tad below 3000:1. For a budget TV these results are superb and screen uniformity was as we usually expect from plasma, pristine. Quite the little mover, this X60!
Video ProcessingPanasonic’s video processing has been going from strength to strength in recent years and the X60 represents another step in the right direction with excellent scaling of standard definition signals and a new film mode that picks up on the 2:2 cadence used in PAL DVDs. Deinterlacing of video content at 1080i showed some visible scaling artefacts around edges, however and one of the major challenges for a 720p panel is to display a 1080p24 signal cleanly and correctly and the X60B struggled a little here too with, again, some obvious scaling artefcats present but if you’re sat over 8 foot away, they are hard to pick up on.
Unlike the 3D models in Panasonic’s line-up, the X60B doesn’t have a Game mode and the reason for that is simple, it doesn’t really need one. With input latency of around 34 milliseconds, the X60 represents the traditional values of plasma gaming, i.e it’s super-responsive and fluid. It’s particularly suited to a console gaming where typical native resolutions don’t exceed that of the panel, in other words, most are 720p. With the next generation of consoles around the corner, with the hope they can do 1080p as standard, the X60 might not be that future-proof but it’s definitely a great gaming display.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Normal Mode: 175W
- Calibrated – Custom Mode: 182W
Panasonic TX-P42X60 Picture Quality
So what about the resolution drop with Full HD content? If your TV diet is largely broadcast or streaming based, you’re not going to miss much, if anything, given the compression used. One can certainly see the difference with Blu-ray disc, in terms of resolution – again, once within a given viewing distance – but it’s the small scaling artefacts that are actually more troubling than the resolution drop. They manifest as jagged/broken edges of objects, particularly under motion and can be seen from greater distances but we’d expect most would never notice but it’s a good enough reason for true videophiles to look in to the Full HD marketplace. So it comes down to a question of needs and expectations and we expect the Panasonic TX-P42X60 will fulfill both to a great many people.
Panasonic TX-P42X60 Video Review
- Impressive dynamic range
- Great colours
- Superb greyscale after calibration
- Excellent scaling of SD signals
- Fluid motion
- Some scaling artefacts with Blu-ray disc
- Virtually no smart features
- You'll notice the resolution loss, if you sit close
- Stand doesn't swivel
Panasonic TX-P42X60 (X60) Plasma TV Review
It’s a bit basic looking, by contemporary standards, but we’re sure the Panasonic X60’s classic bold black framed approach will find favour with many. It’s no frills inside and out, in many ways, and the only concession to the smart TV revolution comes in the form of a media player that supports an impressive set of video codecs. There’s also only a couple of HDMI inputs and the remote is a shrunken-down number but, target market considered, neither should be an obstacle. Thankfully there’s been no skimping when it comes to the Picture Menu and we were delighted to be presented with both White Balance controls and a Colour Management System to obtain accurate pictures.
With that calibration suite we were able to coax the X60 in to a virtually reference picture performance, in terms of greyscale and colour, which is hugely creditable for a TV priced at under £500. Out-of-the-box accuracy was good, in any case, and we’d hardly expect many end users to utilise the available calibration options but we’d fully anticipate that the vast majority will be hugely impressed by the striking blacks and contrast levels and fluid motion handling. The only issues you’re likely to encounter with the X60 are scaling artefacts when watching Full HD material, mainly apparent with Blu-ray Discs, but you’ll need to be sat relatively close to notice those and closer still to notice the drop in resolution.
Do you sit further than 9ft from the TV? Do you largely watch broadcast, streamed and DVD material? Is a Smart TV of no concern to you? Are you on a budget? If you can answer three or more of those questions with a ‘yes’ then the Panasonic X60B is certainly one for your shortlist. Recommended.
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Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
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