Part of Panasonic's 2007 700U Series, the TH-42PZ700U plasma HDTV has a 42-inch screen size and 1080p resolution. The number of inputs is solid but not as generous as you'll find on other models. It includes two HDMI, two component video, and one PC input, as well as an RF input that lets you access the internal ATSC, NTSC, and Clear-QAM tuners. The HDMI inputs accept a 1080p signal from a Blu-ray player, but they will not accept a 1080p/24 signal. Picture-in-picture is not available. The TH-42PZ700U has an SD card slot through which you can view your own digital photos or view professional photographs and artwork via the GalleryPlayer system.
This TV has a solid but not extensive amount of image adjustments, including four picture modes and three color-temperature settings. You can't adjust each picture mode separately for each input, and the TH-42PZ700U lacks advanced options like precise white-balance and gamma controls. The TV has five aspect-ratio options and allows you to display 1080i/1080p images with no overscan.
The audio system includes four speakers (two woofers, two tweeters), and the audio menu includes bass, treble, and balance controls, as well as an audio leveler and the BBE ViVA HD3D surround mode.
• This plasma offers a solid black level and has good light output, so the picture has excellent contrast and rich color.
• High-definition sources look very detailed, and digital noise is not a concern.
• Because this is a plasma TV, it does not suffer from motion blur or viewing-angle limitations.
• The TH-42PZ700U uses an anti-reflective screen to help cut down on light reflections off the glass panel, a common issue with plasma panels.
• The TV's film processing is only average, so you may see some digital artifacts.
• The internal speakers are not very robust, so the sound quality is somewhat thin.
• While the anti-reflective screen is effective, plasma is generally not as bright as LCD and is not the best choice for a really bright viewing environment.
Panasonic is one of the few plasma manufacturers that currently offers 1080p at the 42-inch screen size. While this TV's features and connections aren't as generous as you might find elsewhere, it offers very good performance at a good price.