Panasonic’s new 2009 plasma and LCD models are beginning to emerge on the market. Panasonic has released a huge amount of new TV series and some of them are even more exciting than the 2008 models. Until the V10 and Z10 series are available we behold the G10 series, which has the Neo PDP panel with better blacks. The G10 series also feature new setting options as well as digital tuners (country-specific).
We have the 42-inch European version. The model is called TX-P42G10.
The G10 design has changed very little from 2007 until today. The G10 series is also very similar to the much acclaimed and very popular PX80 model. Edges are more round and soft though. Between the frame and the plasma panel you’ll see narrow black border, which divides the frame and the panel.
The frame is built from glossy black plastic and at the bottom there is a grey line. The G10 series has also become a bit slimmer.
The stand is oval and provides a good basis. It is divided into two levels, as a design feature. The stand also swivels – only manually though.
Most inputs are located on the back of the TX-P42G10 and points toward the back wall. This is a problem if you want to mount the TV close to the wall. Inputs should point downwards instead.
In addition, there are some inputs on the left side, for connecting for example digital cameras. Here you also find a SD memory card reader.
Our TV signal is DVB-S (satellite) and DVB-T (terrestrial). We also have an analogue TV connection.
Testing is done with the DVE (digital video essentials) and Peter Finzel test DVD. Testing is also done with DVD, TV, Blu-Ray and Mediacenter/PC.
We also use our own monitorTest . The software supports some of the traditional test patterns used to evaluate displays as well as some new and unique test patterns developed by the people here on Flatpanels.
Sony PlayStation 3 is our Blu-Ray player.
One of the great new features in the Panasonic 2009 line-up is the new mepg4 tuners. Many current Panasonic owners miss this feature so it’s nice to see that Panasonic has incorporated a DVB-T Freeview tuner and a DVB-C cable tuner (country-specific) .
The remote can be seen below. It has not changed radically from previous Panasonic TV models. The colour mix on the buttons is still confusing but the most essential buttons are large and located in the center, which is nice.
The remote design is very similar to the TV; a conservative expression. The remote is - in my opinion - not very good, however. The weight is too low and it does not feel right in your hand. Panasonic has integrated one more IR on the front so now it has two. This means that you do not need to point directly at the IR receiver at the TV.
The OSD (on screen menu) has these image setting options: viewing mode (normal, cinema and dynamic), contrast, brightness, colour, sharpness, color balance, color management, eco-mode, x.v.Colour and P-NR.
Additionally, you can also access an advanced menu with a 4-step RGB parameter. There is no green “lever”, though, but two red and two blue called"high blue","low blue”, “high red" and"low red". Finally, you can adjust gamma, which a welcome feature, since previous Panasonic models had a tendency to reduce gamma somewhat which made the image slightly “milky”.
Finally you can activate/deactivate Overscan and the Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) system that we did not like on the 2008 model PZ85.
It seems that we Europeans have a few extra options in the menus compared to the U.S. version TX P42G1. Nice! :-)
There is also a"quick menu" where you can access some of the more fancy features. Including a function called"Pause Live TV". This feature is not available on DVB-T transmission, however, and I have no cable here to test it out.
The G10 series does not feature the new Panasonic VIERA CAST technology that allows the user to connect to the Internet where one can access trailers, Youtube, extra material etc.. If you go for the G15 series instead the VIERA CAST web service is included though. DLNA is also incorporated in G15. DLNA streams movies, music and images directly to the screen on your home network. Besides this – and the fact that G15 is slimmer – G10 and G15 are almost similar.
We have acquired measuring equipment to measure power consumption. The power consumption on the Panasonic G10 series is measured in the table below.
The measurements are seen below:
Power consumption on plasma-TVs varies because of the plasma cells. Very bright images required a high level of power and very dark scenes requires low power. I have therefore measured the average consumption based on a HD scene with both bright and dark sessions. The same scene will be used in future reviews.
Also, please note that the flat panel TV uses less power after calibration. This is common on flat panel displays because many picture parameters are reduced during calibration.
I have taken a preliminary measurement of the picture quality below.
I have used default settings and the profile called Normal.
The graph says this:
The number on the left is the delta value. Delta is a difference between two factors; here it’s the difference between the measured colour on the panel and the actual colour that is our target.
A delta value lower that 2 results in a visible deviation from the actual colour.
A delta value over 4 or 5 results in wrong colours.
A delta value between 1 and 2 results in precise but not perfect colours.
A delta value lower than one results in almost perfect colours. The target is 0.
Everything between 0 and 1 is barely visible to the human eye.
The only function I have deactivated is the Eco-mode. The Eco-mode option adjusts brightness according to your surroundings, so in the evenings the image will be darker. Colours seem to change too, though, and for example skin tones get a very brownish tinge. I therefore recommend that you deactivate eco-mode.
SD picture with eco-format activated
I measured some colour inaccuracy but the picture quality is indeed very reasonable. There are also some problems with reproduction of very dark shades, which in practice have the consequence that shadow detail suffers.
The technical explanation is that gamma is slightly too high. Gamma is the balance of light. Too high a gamma - which is the case here – will lead to too dark images.
Color temperature is very close to our target of 6500 Kelvin.
Below I have calibrated the TV to improve picture quality. You can see what I have changed in the table below.
Intelligent Frame Creation
W/B High red
W/B High blue
W/B Low red
W/B Low blue
I have also taken a new measurement after my calibration process:
I criticized the IFC (Intelligent Frame Creation) technology when I reviewed PZ85 some time ago. I'm still not thrilled by this technology although it has been refined. Artifacts from calculation errors are still visible and therefore I recommend you to turn off the system. This is not done in the picture menu, however.
I have also changed the colour balance with the RGB setting option; partly to eliminate the minor green push in the picture; partly to get color temperature and gamma right. The process was a little difficult because I could only control red and blue, not green. You can see the results in the table above.
SD (standard definition) reproduction is one of the G10 series’ strengths. It beats the vast majority of TVs on the market. The picture is beautiful, crisp and very natural. I saw minimal noise in the picture.
HDTV playback is equally impressive and detailed. The G10 series has carried on the very positive elements from the PZ85 series that we reviewed last year. The picture quality is very nice. I still see some minor dithering, primarily on dark shades but besides that I have nothing to complain about.
The picture quality has not been improved on a revolutionary level and the Panny G10 series is no Pioneer KURO, but Panny has definitely moved forward to improve some picture parameters compared to 2008 models. The nice HDTV reproduction is also one of the things that distinguish the G10 series with Full HD resolution from most of the new HD Ready models such as the Panasonic X10 series.
The G10 also supports 1080p24 playback.
All in all, the G10 carry on many positive pictures elements from previous acclaimed Panasonic models. No revolutionary changes have been made but image quality has been taken a notch up. It certainly does not mean that the G10 does not deliver stunning picture quality, because even the 2008 Panasonic models did that. I have no real criticism because the G10 series presents us with a beautiful, detail-rich, natural image, which also maintains a high degree of detail on moving pictures. Panasonic said that the moving pictures resolution is the same as the still picture resolution. I was not able to confirm this 100 % but it certainly seems close.
The last generation of Panasonic TVs did also reproduce sharp moving images because of a fairly good response time. They did, however, suffer from phosphor-trailing. The reason is that the phosphor used in the plasma panels do not"forget" the colour immediately, making some colour-shifts visible.
This translates into a light greenish / yellowish trail on very rapid movements. It is absolutely not critical for the G10 series performance but it is - just like on the PX80 and PZ85 from last year – noticeable sometimes, for example on some GTA IV scenes. But if you did not notice it not the old Panasonic models, you will not notice it on the G10 series. Phosphor trailing has been slightly reduced, although it is still not eliminated.
Panasonic has already praised their own new TVs and has promised that the reproduction of black has been improved considerably. It is not done with the help of cheap dynamic circuits, but instead it is a real improvement in black levels in the plasma panel. We have already seen indications of this in our tests but below we have measured how deep a black - and contrast - the panel is really able to reproduce.
So can Panasonic keep their promise? See the measurements in the table below:
Contrast ratio: +/- 100
I have measured black at 0.03 cd/m2 both before and after calibration. It is an improvement over the PZ80/85 series, and a serious improvement over the much acclaimed and very popular PX80 series. It is not Pioneer KRUO level, however, on which our measuring equipment unfortunately had to “give up” because the black was “too deep" to measure.
So, Panasonic has certainly moved forward and the improved blacks are visible and has a positive effect in practice. You get a picture with great depth and the black and dark shades are very convincing. The blacks are not perfect, however, and Pioneer KURO is still king.
Panasonic G10 had some trouble distinguishing between some of the darkest shades, and therefore the screen suffers a loss of detail in for example dark movie scenes. I was able to improve this - to improve shadow detail - after calibration, but it was never perfect.
I've included an image of the flat panels in a completely dark room. I examine backlight bleeding issues.
No backlight bleeding issues.
Finally, let’s do a comparison with previous years' models and the Pioneer KURO LX5090, which is our reference-TV. Compared to last year's Panny models, some of the most significant changes are the deeper blacks, better HD playback and the ability to adjust gamma and RGB, in order to eliminate the “milky” colours from PX80 and PZ80/85. All in all, G10 is a TV that is definitely better than the popular PX80 series and also better than the PZ80/PZ85 models.
Compared to the Pioneer, the G10 is still a step or two behind. G10 lacks the super deep blacks of KURO, some shadow detail and then it does not reproduce an image with similar “almost-perfect” color accuracy and detail of the KURO. I’m not saying that the G10 is not a very good TV, because it is indeed! Pioneer is still better though but the price is also very different.
PC and media center
The TX-P42G10 has Full HD (1920x1080) resolution like a lot of the new plasma-TVs from Panasonic. The TV also supports 1:1 pixel mapping. In order to achieve 1:1 pixel mapping you need to deactivate Overscan in the OSD.
Viewing angles are quite good. Plasma panels generally do not dramatically change contrast and colour saturation like some LCD-TVs. Plasma panels do however reflects some light objects, especially in the daytime. Also from angles; this is visible - for example – when you see a picture with white text on black background.
I have not taken pictures of the viewing angles, because in practice they are fine. There are some reflections but these are not different from other plasma panels. Panasonic has not incorporated the matte plasma panel in the G10 series..
The sound is provided by speakers at the bottom of the frame; producing a total of 20 Watts. The sound is not fantastic. I recommend a separate sound system for better performance.
Let's cut straight to the bone and announce that the Panasonic G10 is indeed a very good TV. It builds upon a proud generation of plasma-TV products, and it certainly does not disappoint us. It is not a big revolution, but a continuation of very convincing picture quality from Panasonic.
The picture quality has a lot of positive elements such as improved reproductions of black, better colour accuracy and improved HDTV details. The G10 series also has beautiful SD playback and fast response time; although phosphor trailing has not been completely eliminated.
The Panasonic G10 series does have some difficulties distinguishing between some of the darkest shades. In other words; shadow detail is not perfect. The black level has also been improved but not to Pioneer KURO levels
The technical features of the Panasonic TX-P42G10 impress us as well. The two tuners for Freeview antenna (DVB-T) and cable-TV (DVB-C) both support mpeg2 and mpeg4 (country-specific). The G10 also has had some extra setting options in the menus; more than on the US G1 model.
All in all, the Panasonic TX-P42G10 an excellent TV. The TV undoubtedly deserves a strong recommendation from FlatpanelsHD and is therefore awarded with the Top-Recommendation Award.
Press the award logo to learn more.
The G10 Series is also available in 46 and 50-inch models, called TX P46G10E and TX P50G10E. The G15 series is more or less identical, but contains the new VIERA CAST internet service and DLNA, which allows users to stream movies, music and photos over the home network.