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Panasonic TH-42PA20

42" EDTV plasma TV

Item # 13342PA20

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Our take on the Panasonic TH-42PA20

A TV that's thin and lightweight enough to hang on the wall is definitely cool, but it wouldn't be worth it if you had to settle for a mediocre picture. That's never an issue for Panasonic's well-built 42" TH-42PA20 plasma TV. When it comes to picture quality, it can hold its own against much more expensive models.

A TV that's thin and lightweight enough to hang on the wall is definitely cool, but it wouldn't be worth it if you had to settle for a mediocre picture. That's never an issue for Panasonic's well-built 42" TH-42PA20 plasma TV. When it comes to picture quality, it can hold its own against much more expensive models.

This overachiever has EDTV (Enhanced Definition TV) picture resolution — it can display signals up to 480p, like those from a progressive-scan DVD player. Sources ranging from low quality (VHS) to high (DVD) are automatically upconverted to 480p by the excellent built-in "scaler." With its bright, flicker-free picture, this TV actually looks better with these video sources than some HD-capable plasmas because the scaler has less converting to do. Widescreen DVDs will knock your socks off!

And if HDTV signals are available in your area, you can watch them in downconverted form on this TV. Just set your HDTV tuner to output a 480p signal and get ready for the cleanest, clearest non-HD picture you've ever seen! (Actually, the TV's built-in scaler is so good that you may want to experiment and set your HD tuner for 1080i output so that the TV's scaler converts it to 480p — it's that good!) The compelling picture is a result of Panasonic's superior plasma technology, which provides some of the deepest blacks, highest contrast ratio, and smoothest grayscaling you'll see anywhere. (The TH-42PA20 uses 10-bit processing for finer gradations, while many "bargain basement" plasmas are still using 8-bit processing.)

This is a completely integrated plug-and-play TV — it includes an NTSC (analog) tuner, stereo speakers, and a tabletop stand for a totally sleek, slim look. You can actually have this beautiful, high-tech flat-panel TV out of the box and ready to watch in minutes!

This is also one of the best-connected plasma models we've seen. Panasonic provides six A/V inputs, including dual component video inputs, plus a DVI connection for your highest-quality video signals. For regular video sources, you'll find two sets of rear A/V inputs and a set of front inputs (all with S-video) so you can easily connect a camcorder, VCR, video game console, etc. You can view standard 4:3 material with vertical bars on the sides, or choose one of the viewing modes that stretches and/or zooms a 4:3 image to fill up the panel's wide screen.

The TH-42PA20's ultra-thin design allows television to fit into your lifestyle in new and creative ways. The supplied stand is an oval pedestal design that provides a graceful look on a tabletop. Or you can remove the stand and wall-mount the TV (hardware not included). You will love this TV!

FREE In-home delivery! Because of its large size, the TH-42PA20 will be delivered to any accessible room in your home. Delivery is available to physical addresses in the lower 48 states. (Sorry, no P.O. Boxes or freight forwarders.) Transit time is 5-7 business days once your order has been processed. Extra charges may apply for delivery after business hours or on a weekend, or if the TV must be carried up more than 5 flights of stairs.
Note: Free return shipping not available with this model.

Product Highlights:

  • EDTV design (compatible with progressive-scan DVD — all signals displayed at 480p)
  • 42" plasma panel (measured diagonally)
  • widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 852 x 480 pixels
  • 160º(H) x 160º(V) viewing angle
  • Real Black Drive System
  • Progressive Scan Doubler (upconverts analog signals to 480p)
  • Progressive Cinema Scan de-interlacer with 3-2 pulldown processing
  • 181-channel NTSC tuner
  • 2-tuner PIP (inset and split screen)
  • illuminated multibrand remote control
  • 6 A/V inputs, including:
    • 3 composite video (2 rear, 1 front)
    • 3 S-video (2 rear, 1 front)
    • 2 rear-panel HD-compatible component video
      (accepts 1080i/480p/480i signals)
    • 1 rear-panel DVI input with HDCP copy protection
  • PC input: analog RGB (D-Sub 15-pin)
  • 2 RF inputs for antenna/cable
  • 8 watts x 2
  • mini stereo headphone jack (front panel)
  • detachable tabletop stand
  • 46"W x 25-15/16"H x 4"D (28-3/16"H x 12-3/4"D with stand)
  • weight: 77 lbs.
  • warranty: 1 year parts & labor
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • 42" Widescreen Plasma TV
  • EUR7603ZC0 Wireless remote
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 1 Pedestal
  • Two 3C-2V "F" type antenna adapters
  • Two 5C-2V "F" type antenna adapters
  • 5 Large ferrite cores
  • 5 Small ferrite cores
  • 1 Fixing band
  • 1 AC power cord
  • Operating Instructions (English)
  • Operating Instructions (Spanish)
  • Operating Instructions (French)
  • Warranty sheet
  • Customer Services Directory sheet
  • Product Registration card

Energy Guide:

View the Energy Guide


Hands-on research

Product Research

Remote Control
Inputs and Outputs Notes


Adaptive Brightness Intensifier (ABI): Plasma display panels control brightness by regulating the discharge cycles (time). Conventional plasma displays suffer from insufficient peak brightness in dark scenes, resulting in images that are less dynamic than those of direct-view CRTs. Panasonic's unique plasma ABI automatically increases the number of discharge cycles (time) to achieve a dramatic improvement in peak brightness. It expands the dynamic range of all images-from black-to-white peak-to deliver pictures with naturally high levels of contrast.

Asymmetrical Cell Structure Panel: The Asymmetrical Cell Structure Panel dramatically improves the light-emitting balance of reds, blues and greens. The use of florescent materials with superior light-emission characteristics, along with the improvements in the cell wall structure, serves to enhance brightness and contrast. Together, these technologies achieve a high level of plasma display performance with deep blacks, brilliant whites and dramatic color reproduction.

Real Black Drive System: Conventional plasma displays tend to illuminate blacks, which lowers the contrast. In Panasonic plasma displays, however, the pre-discharge emission intensity is greatly reduced, and the number of emissions per field is cut from the usual 12 to 1. This dramatically reduces black levels and provides deep, rich blacks. It also achieves a high contrast ratio of 4000:1.

Native Resolution: The TH-42PA20 has a display resolution of 852 x 480. The Digital input and component video inputs will accept 1080i, 480p, and 480i, and will display them as 852 x 480. All other input signals will also be displayed as 852 x 480.

Enhanced Progressive Scan Doubler: The progressive scan doubler displays a full frame of video in 1/60th of a second by de-interlacing the incoming video signal and progressively scanning the image. This new scan doubler also provides even more image enhancement by improving the quality of diagonal lines in a moving picture.

3:2 Pulldown Processing: The 3:2 pulldown processing corrects inherent flaws in frame transfer rates from film, making a smoother picture with less distortion.

Motion-Adaptive 3D-Y/C Digital Comb Filter: This filter is designed to eliminate hanging dots and work on diagonal patterns to eliminate the color rainbow effect in closely spaced patterns by compensating for the motion that occurs between fields. As a result, bright colors and fast action scenes are displayed with incredible clarity.

Color Matrix: When viewing digital television programming from a DTV receiver/decoder, this TV will automatically adjust the color parameters for 480p transmissions. Manual adjustments are also possible for non-standard DTV formats.

2-Tuner Picture-in-Picture: This feature allows you to watch two programs at once using the television's internal tuners. You can select PIP or Split operation. During Split operation, the main picture and split picture are side-by-side. During PIP operation, a small PIP frame is superimposed on the main picture. The PIP frame can be moved to any corner on the screen and the frame's size can be adjusted.

Freeze: This feature is used to freeze the main picture and display it in a PIP or Split frame.

Aspect Modes: Depending on the input signal, you can choose one of the following aspect modes:

  • 4:3: displays a 4:3 picture at its standard size
  • Zoom: magnifies the central section of the picture
  • Full: displays the picture at its maximum size but with slight elongation
  • Just: displays a 4:3 picture at its maximum size but with aspect correction applied to the sides of the screen so that elongation is only apparent at the left and right edges of the screen

Picture Mode: You can choose one of the following picture modes:

  • Standard: recommended for normal viewing conditions with subdued room lighting
  • Dynamic: provides enhanced brightness for viewing in a well-lit room
  • Cinema: for watching movies in a dark room; this mode provides a soft, film-like picture
  • Auto: automatically selects the mode that best suits the brightness of the environment
BBE High-Definition Sound: BBE High-Definition Sound provides true linear phase correction and dynamic amplitude compensation. With BBE, speech intelligibility is improved and the dynamic range of musical passages is restored to provide outstandingly natural sound.

BBE/VIVA 3D High Definition Sound System: BBE/VIVA provides a musically accurate natural 3D image with hi-fi sound. The clarity of the sound is improved by BBE while the width, depth and height of the sound image are expanded by BBE's proprietary 3D sound processing.

Surround Function: The surround function lets you enjoy a concert hall effect.

Sleep Timer: This television features a built-in electronic sleep timer, set by remote control, that turns the TV off automatically after 30, 60, or 90 minutes.

Programmable On/Off Timers: The two programmable timers allow you to program the TV set to turn itself on and off at designated times every day, while being tuned in to a selected channel.

Remote Control

Multibrand Remote: The supplied remote is pre-programmed to operate this unit and a number of functions on other brands of components, including VCRs, personal video recorders, DVD players, CD players, cassette decks, receivers, cable boxes, and DBS receivers. The Action and directional keys allow you to move the on-screen selector, making menu navigation simple and efficient. A glow-in-the-dark "Light" button allows you to illuminate all the buttons for three seconds, making for easy operation in the dark.

Inputs and Outputs Notes

Digital Input: This input consists of left and right RCA audio jacks and a DVI-D terminal. The DVI-D terminal can accommodate a copy-protected digital connection (HDCP) to other devices (such as digital set-top boxes) that have compatible interfaces. The DVI-D terminal is compliant with the EIA-861 standard and is not intended for use with personal computers.

Note: The DVI-D input will accept 1080i, 480p, and 480i.

Component Video Inputs: The component video inputs will accept 1080i, 480p and 480i.

PC Input: The TV has a front-panel analog RGB (D-Sub 15-pin) input, allowing you to connect a PC.



  • TV without Stand: W=46", H=25.9375", D=4"
  • TV with Stand: W=46", H=28.1875", D=12.75"

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