Panasonic also touts the TV's 900 lines of moving-picture resolution. This is something that's likely to confuse people who think they're getting a 1,080-line TV. The truth of the matter is that, on any TV, when there's movement in the picture, you get less horizontal resolution. In any event, 900 lines is significantly better than much of the competition.
We always moan about the performance of HD televisions when it comes to Freeview. This is because Freeview doesn't use an especially high bit rate to transmit its signals, and that means the picture doesn't scale well to larger screens. The TX-P42S10, however, manages to do a decent job with standard TV, for the following reasons. Firstly, at 42 inches, it's not massive. Secondly, Panasonic really seems to be getting the hang of its picture-processing modes, and that means a good, clean image for all types of video.
Blu-ray video looks superb -- and it's here that the TX-P42S10's skill with motion really shines. Pictures have all the detail we'd expect from a 1080p TV. In fact, we really got a kick out of using this set, because it seems to do everything pretty much perfectly. We watched clips from The Dark Knight and xXx: State of the Union, as well as some material from our Live from Abbey Road Blu-ray discs. Everything looked terrific, from the realistic but bold colours to the incredible picture detail.
This TV seems to balance SD and HD performance perfectly. Everything we threw at it was displayed with skill and precision. We found ourselves wanting to spend more and more time with this TV, purely because it's such a pleasure to watch.
The Intelligent Frame Creation system is one of the more subtle picture-processing modes we've seen. When watching video, you can't even tell the mode is engaged. Even so, we still think this TV handles motion better than most of the competition, and that means it gets a big thumbs up from us, no matter how the set achieves it.
We do have one small gripe about Panasonic TVs. Although the simplicity of their menus is very welcome, it means you don't get a massive amount of control over the TV. Some options are also very hard to find. For example, the Intelligent Frame Creation and overscan modes are both tucked away in 'set-up', rather than in the more logical 'picture' menu.
Sound from the built-in speakers is good, but not ideal for watching movies. If you're using this TV for simple, day-to-day TV viewing, you'll be more than happy. Film fans will want to get some sort of external speaker system, though.
It's possible to buy the Panasonic Viera TX-P42S10 for significantly less than £1,000 and we don't have anything bad to say about its performance. If you want a TV with more bells and whistles, then a Samsung or LG model is more likely to interest you. For day-to-day use, and enjoying HD movies and TV, this really is a lovely set. In fact, we'd really rather not give our review sample back.
Edited by Charles Kloet