Panasonic TX-P46G20 review

It's not the best in its class, but this Freesat and Freeview HD toting plasma from Panasonic is still a bargain at this price Tested at £1200.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

If the ’G20’s an indication, Panasonic has taken some big steps forward with this generation of plasmas


  • +

    Loads of features for the money

  • +

    impressive motion and contrast

  • +

    decent stereo sound

  • +

    Freesat and Freeview HD


  • -

    Lacks the scintillating definition and colour neutrality of the best

  • -

    doesn't output DD 5.1 on Freeview HD

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Officially priced at £1350, Panasonic's TX-P46G20 has already seen discounts online that makes it even more affordable. Not that the specification reflects that.

This set has the company's high-spec NeoPDP plasma panel, complete with 600Hz sub-field drive motion processing, a THX certification, internet and network connectivity, Freesat and Freeview HD tuners, and USB recording.

It's a shame more effort hasn't been put into making the set as stylish as it is feature-laden, but it's the performance that matters most, and it's clear that a great deal of work has gone in here.

Play the opening of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Blu-ray, and it's obvious much work has gone into the 600Hz motion processing, which disappointed last year, but now grips challenging vertical and horizontal pans brilliantly.

Deep blacks and punchy whites
The Dementors' attack in the tunnel proves contrast has been improved, too, with typically deep plasma blacks joined by untypically punchy whites, creating a creepy but exciting scene.

Unfortunately for Panasonic, this isn't a perfect performance, though. There's a touch of overexuberance to the colour palette that some might describe as richness, but that none could describe as genuine neutrality.

More significantly, while perfectly reasonable in isolation, detail and definition look rather soft and lacking in insight next to the best in its class.

HD from both of the tuners shares Blu-ray's strengths and weaknesses, so again there's impressive contrast and grip, if not quite the greatest definition or colour control.

If you have the choice, HD on Freesat is marginally more insightful and composed.

Standard-def softer by a smidge
With standard-definition content, the Panasonic is closer to its key rivals. It's softer, but only by a smidge, and the overexuberance of the colour palette is less noticeable.

The Freeview tuner offers slightly more detail than the Freesat option – though, unless you're happy switching between the two, it's Freesat we'd prefer overall.

The 'G20's performance is rounded off with stereo sound that's pretty impressive by flatscreen standards, producing a little more weight and width than most, though there's a touch of fogginess in there, too.

And as with all Panasonic's 2010 Freeview HD-equipped sets we've tested so far, it won't transcode the multichannel AAC sound on BBC Freeview HD broadcasts to Dolby Digital 5.1, so you'll only get stereo through your home cinema amp or receiver via the digital connection. (More details here).

Overall, though, this is a fine large-screen plasma set.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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