Blacks can easily become too black when over
adjusted, reducing a lot of detail in the darker areas to an inky
Color can lack vibrancy compared to it’s
direct competition (NEC and Pioneer)
Don’t believe the contrast ratio claims. If
you do, I have some land in Florida…
Limited standard HD inputs
TH-42PHD8UK is Panasonic’s 8th generation plasma
display monitor. Panasonic’s reputation as industry leaders is well
deserved, and the PHD8 is no exception. It offers outstanding picture
quality without a high performance price tag.
Designed originally as a display monitor, Panasonic’s
PH line make great home theater pieces. You’ll need external
audio, like a surround sound system, and an external HD tuner for the
complete experience. We tested ours with an HD satellite box and a
Panasonic progressive scan DVD player working through a Denon surround
sound receiver with component video switching. Ours is mounted on the
TY-ST07 table stand.
Initial connectivity is limited. We normally
suggest using your HT receiver as a switcher, so this isn’t normally a
problem, given the Panasonic’s pro level BNC component connection. You
can also use the 15 pin D-sub input (computer connection) as an
additional component input with the correct break-out cable.
HDMI and HDCP DVI cards, or “Blades” are also available, but we
elected to test ours using a more standard component video
On initial set-up, you may notice your HD picture
is a lovely shade of green. Simply hit the “Setup” button on the
remote and switch the “COMPONENT / RGB-IN” to “Component”.
One of the first things you’ll notice is how
complete and well laid out the remote control is. Various features,
sub-menus on other models, have their own buttons, allowing for quick
changes to commonly adjusted settings. PIP is easy to use right off
the remote and doesn’t require elaborate menu surfing to make it work.
Out of the box picture quality is acceptable, but
with this piece it’s all about the tweaking. Being a professional
grade unit, the PHD8 offers an impressive array of advanced picture
controls, suitable for novice and power user alike. Just make sure the
“Advanced Menu” option is turned on to see all of the advanced picture
Using Digital Video Essentials by Joe Kane
Productions, we calibrated the monitor using the test patterns
provided. This easy procedure makes an immediate improvement in
picture quality, so is well worth the time.
We established the following settings
The advanced controls are where the fun really
begins. Panasonic features among the darkest black levels on any
display of any kind. Caution should be taken when adjusting Black
Extension, as over adjustment provides for a very dark flat looking
Black Extension 1-4, depending on taste
The on-screen interface is well designed and easy
to use, and very powerful at the same time. For example, it’s possible
to adjust the white balance, separately, of both the blue and red
The real strength of the Panasonic PHD8 is in the
picture. With proper adjustments, skin tones are accurate and
life-like, although color saturation lacks impact compared to other
Tier One manufacturers, like NEC and Pioneer. You’ll never notice it
unless you happen to have them side by side. The real color test with
any digital display is how they show gradients, like sunsets. Here too
the Panasonic excelled, showing smooth color shifts without the
edginess and noise associated with other displays.
The incredible value and quality represented by
Panasonic plasma should have them right at the top of your list.
Caveat : Must have surround
sound receiver and separate HDTV tuner
The Panasonic TH42PHD8UK is an
excellent HD plasma for the money. The picture quality is
extremely good (after calibrating with AVIA or Digital
video Essentials). The thin flat black frame fits in any decor
without overwhelming it, and the expandable card slots protect you
from the inevitable new connections that come to market every few
NOTES:Make sure you have the
RCA/BNC adapters tossed in by the store, they cost about a buck each
but you cannot hook up the plasma tv without them.