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The Panasonic TC-L24U25 shares the look of other Panasonic LCD TVs, with a boxy bezel and high-gloss finish, which seems to attract fingerprints. On the bottom of the set, there is a power indicator light as well as a light sensor.

Front Tour Image

The back of the Panasonic TC-L42U25 is where you will find most of the ports, with another panel facing the left side of the set for easier access. The power cable is hard-wired into the set, and it comes out near where the base meets the casing.

Back Tour Image

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 has a depth of 4.2", which is a fair bit thicker than other LCD TVs that use different backlighting or edge-lighting. On the left side is the panel of commonly-used ports for easy access. On the right side are the manual control buttons.

Sides Tour Image

The stand is as glossy as the bezel on the set itself, attracting fingerprints. Though it doesn't swivel, it is relatively sturdy. The stand will keep the set stable, but it won't take an earthquake to move the television set.

Stand Photo

The fixed stand makes access to the back a pain.

The on-set controls are located beyond the right side of the screen, near the bottom corner. Though the plastic buttons are responsive and easy to press, they are difficult to see without light.

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Controls Photo

The TC-L42U25's remote is virtually identical in every way to the remotes of other Panasonic LCD TVs made in 2010. In contrast to the glossy bezel of the TV set, the remote is a matte black plastic unit that is compact and lightweight. Like the others, the buttons are well-marked and the key travel (how far down you have to push the button) is poor and it slows down operation of the TV noticeably.

Remote Control Photo

The TC-L42U25 has the same remote as many of the other 2010 Panasonic models.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 comes packaged with its remote, batteries, stand, manual and setup instructions.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 has a poor black level, faring much worse than its competitors at 0.33 cd/m2. It is worthy of note that other Panasonic LCD TVs, including the TC-L37D2, also have similarly poor black levels. To be fair to the Panasonic TC-L42U25, the detail level in the shadows tested well. For more on detail performance, you can refer to the greyscale gamma section below. More on how we test black level.

Black Level Chart

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 had trouble producing a bright screen, at maximum producing a peak brightness of 217.6 cd/m2. At first we thought we had incorrectly measured this value, but subsequent testing showed that we had recorded the right value. Though the set will not have a problem viewing in dark environments, your viewing experience will likely be poor in a bright room or opposite a window. More on how we test peak brightness.

Peak Brightness Chart

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 has a contrast ratio of 659.39:1 that seriously lags behind the competition. The picture on a TC-L42U25 will almost always look worse than it would on any of the comparison models listed below. More on how we test contrast.

Contrast Chart

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 did not have any trouble maintaining consistency in black levels, no matter if the screen was all black or mostly bright white surrounding a small black square only 5% of the screen in area. We've come to expect this performance from an LCD TV, as opposed to plasma TVs which sometimes have difficulty in this test. More on how we test tunnel contrast.

Tunnel Contrast Chart

Like its performance in the Tunnel Contrast section, the Panasonic TC-L42U25 performed well with displaying consistently bright whites, regardless of the percentage of white area on the screen. More on how we test white falloff.

White Falloff Chart

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 has a more or less average screen uniformity. There weren't many obvious flaws on a black or white screen, and even fewer when watching cable television. It is worthy of note that the corners did seem to display brighter than the rest of the screen. More on how we test white falloff.

Keeping consistent with the Panasonic TC-L42U25's performance in white falloff and tunnel contrast, it scored high marks in greyscale gamma as well. Greyscale gamma measures how well a TV set transitions from black to white. The provided chart shows how smoothly the Panasonic TC-L42U25 made the transition by the shape of the curve. The slope of the line (2.35) was close to the ideal range of 2.1 to 2.2, which helped the Panasonic TC-L42U25's overall score.

Our test showed only one minor issue in the spectrum where the TV could not display the correct values, marked on the graph by the small bump near the beginning of the curve. This means that should something you're viewing need to display shades at the range of that bump in the gamma curve, they may appear as color banding or loss of detail in shadows. More on how we test greyscale gamma.

Greyscale Gamma Chart

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 displayed noticeable problems with color temperature consistency. Our testing showed that whites became cooler as signal intensity decreased, becoming more and more noticeable as this trend continued. Though you may notice this phenomenon occasionally, it certainly isn't the worst we've seen. More on how we test color temperature.

Color Temperature Chart

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 mostly fared well in the RGB color curve tests. Though the colors do not seem to have a problem with peaking, the reds and blues do appear to have some bumpiness. This means that there will be some shades of blue that the TV simply cannot display, though the average viewer will probably not notice this. In general, greens appear darker than blues and reds. More on how we test RGB curves.

RGB Curves Chart

The color bars below are a linear representation of each shade of the indicated color, from brightest to darkest. Note the very slight banding in the blue section, while the Panasonic TC-L42U25's green and red color bars are largely uniform, if a bit darker than ideal.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25's fared pretty well in the motion performance tests. Though it displayed the typical loss of fine detail and slight artifacting with all advanced features disabled, this is not unexpected as even the best TVs will do this to some degree. The Motion Picture Pro 4 feature will restore much of the lost fine detail, and prevent most of the artifacting. However, this setting may not be right for you, depending upon your viewing preferences. This feature has the tendency to make film-based content look weird.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 showed some artifacts with moving objects. With no correction enabled for motion, the set showed some trailing in contrast patterns, but nothing too worrying. The Panasonic TC-L42U25 struggled a bit with tightly-grouped black and white stripes, but we've found that this is common in mid-range television sets. With the Motion Picture Pro 4 setting enabled, some of the blurriness was corrected, but oddly enough some of the tightly-grouped black and white strips were not significantly improved in terms of motion artifacting. More on how we test motion performance.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 showed little to no performance issues displaying 24p content (e.g. Blu-ray movie content). To ensure that this will also be the case for your viewing experience, be sure to leave the 3:2 Pulldown setting in "Auto." More on how we test 3:2 pulldown and 24fps.

Panasonic TC-L42U25 has a native resolution of 1080p, but is capable of displaying content at lower resolutions as well. On the whole, the Panasonic TC-L42U25 handled the task of rescaling fairly well. More on how we test resolution scaling.

480p

When displaying 480p content, the TV lost 2% on each side to overscan.

720p

When displaying 720p content, the TV lost 2% on each side to overscan. We also noticed some difficulty with the Moiré patterns used to test resolution scaling.

1080i

When displaying 1080i content, the TV lost nothing to overscan, but suffered from the same difficulty with Moiré patterns that the 720p setting did, as well as some false coloration in high-frequency patterns.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 has a native resolution of 1080p and can play back all standard NTSC resolutions.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 has a relatively poor viewing angle, but it certainly doesn't have the worst. There is a significant drop off in contrast at 47 degrees (just over 23 degrees on either side). Though this isn't a strong viewing angle, we find that most LCD TVs tend to have similar problems in this area. Notice that the Panasonic has a greater viewing angle than the Sharp, but smaller than that of the Samsung and the Sony (both appear as one line in the chart due to nearly identical performance) in the viewing angle graph.

Viewing Angle Chart

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 has a fairly reflective screen. When a bright light shines directly at the screen, you can see a very distracting reflection on either a dark or light screen. However, if the source of the light is angled away from the screen even 30 degrees away from the center, the reflection reduces to a level that is more or less tolerable for normal daily viewing.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 has several video processing modes, some more useful or noticeable than others.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 is rather straight-forward in its calibration, as it does not require you to jump through hoops to access each visual display setting. With the exception of contrast, sharpness and Motion Picture Pro 4, most settings are close to ideal already. That said, it may be difficult to get the backlight to your desired level due to a poor peak brightness.

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All of our calibration is done in conjunction with the DisplayMate software.

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There is a small selection of different video modes on the Panasonic TC-L42U25.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 has an average level of ports, enabling the user with basic home entertainment functions. In addition to two composite video, one component and three HDMI input ports on the back, there is an SD card reader located on the side panel. Though most of the ports are on the rear panel, the side panel allows easy access to the more commonly-used input ports.

A major downside of this particular model against its competitors is the complete lack of analog audio out ports, including the lack of a headphone jack. Though there is a digital audio out port located on the rear port panel, users who like to wear headphones or use an older sound system will not be able to do so.

Connectivity Tour Image 1

As with the other recent Panasonic LCD TVs, the ports are easy to identify and access. Though the ports located on the side of the unit are easy to access, the ports on the back are more difficult to reach, as the stand does not swivel.

Connectivity Tour Image 2

The following is a chart comparing the number and types of port available on the Panasonic TC-L42U25 against similar competitor models.

All input and output ports are located on the back of the TV set, with an additional few on the side for easy access. All ports are well-labeled, but while the side ports are easy to reach, the rear ports are difficult to reach due to the fixed stand, forcing you to physically move the TV or fish around without looking to access the port you want if it is on the back.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 isn't a replacement for a dedicated home theater system by any stretch of the imagination, but its performance is par for similarly-priced TVs. You can manually adjust the bass, treble and balance via the advanced audio menu, but no full equalizer. It also has a simulated surround sound option that improves the performance, though nobody would be fooled into thinking that the sound produced from it came from a 5.1 channel system.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 has a standard menu. It is easy to navigate, and more or less the same as what you'll see on other Panasonic TVs. The menu is left-aligned, but takes up a significant amount of the screen, sometimes obscuring view. The menu itself is not visually appealing, but more or less standard fare.

Menu Main Photo

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 has a very basic menu

The Panasonic TC-L42U25's operating instruction manual is coherent and informative. Panasonic went out of its way to make sure that almost everything discussed had either a picture or chart to make sure the user knew exactly where to find or use what was being discussed. You can find the Panasonic TC-L42U25's online manual here. The table of contents is not always clear, but the manual itself is concise enough to find what you're looking for without too much trouble. The FAQ section in the back is especially helpful. You can find a copy of the manual online here.

Instruction Manual Photo

The Panasonic TC-L42U25's manual is fairly user-friendly.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 has no internet connectivity, and therefore no internet features. It also does not have DLNA support.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 can play back photos stored on an SD or SDHC card (for xD, miniSD, or microSD, you will have to use an adapter. By using the SD CARD button on the remote, you can access the photo viewer menu quickly. From there, you can set up a slide show, alter picture settings or browse separate directories. However, not only are you unable to load your own music, but any media files that are not .jpg format will not be read.

Local Media Playback 1 Photo

The Panasonic TC-L42U25's picture menu is ugly, but easy to navigate

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 does not play any other type of media.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 draws a fairly significant amount of power under recommended settings. Our calculations predict an annual operating cost of about $30.23 if you lower the backlight a bit. If picture performance is a greater concern for you, you may want to set the backlight at maximum.

Looking at the chart below, you can see that the Panasonic TC-L42U25 costs around 34% more to use per year than the comparison television sets. Typically, you would expect to see this kind of performance from a plasma TV, but not from an LCD TV.

Power Consumption Chart

The Samsung LN40C630 is a similarly-priced LCD TV that outperforms the Panasonic TC-L42U25 in contrast, motion performance and multimedia applications at the tradeoff of color performance and screen size. The option for online streaming content is pretty great, if you plan on taking advantage.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 performed worse than the Samsung LN40C630 in every metric used in the blacks and whites comparison. This may be a little bit misleading, however, as the level of detail the Panasonic TC-L42U25 displays is actually quite a bit better than the Samsung's. If you would like to know more about this, refer to the greyscale gamma section.

As shown on the chart, the Samsung LN40C630 has blacker blacks, whiter whites, and a higher contrast ratio.

Contrast Chart

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 has much more consistent color temperature error, even though both tend to have greater color error the darker the picture gets on the greyscale. Though the Panasonic TC-L42U25's color temperature error is greater than the perceptible error limit in a larger range of the greyscale, the Samsung LN40C630's color error is much more noticeable in the darkest shades of color. Still, the Samsung's color temperature error on the whole is better than the Panasonic TC-L42U25's, despite the Panasonic TC-L42U25's better RGB performance.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 and the Samsung LN40C630 have comparable motion scores, with the Samsung performing better with artifacting, and the Panasonic edging out the Samsung in terms of motion smoothness. Neither set holds a clear advantage over the other in this regard.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 lags behind the Samsung LN40C630 in viewing angle, as can be seen by the graph below. Because both are LCD TVs, their viewing angles will always be worse than that of a plasma TV.

The biggest difference between the Panasonic TC-L42U25 and the Samsung LN40C630 is the range of compatible media and internet connectivity. While the Panasonic TC-L42U25 has no internet content, USB ports or analog audio out ports, the Samsung LN4C630 has all of these and more. If internet connectivity and DLNA support are important to you, the Samsung LN40C630 is clearly a better fit.

The Sony KDL-40EX400 is a more affordable option than the Panasonic TC-L42U25, sporting an MSRP of $300 less than the Panasonic's. The Sony KDL-40EX400 will give you much more bang for your buck, but falls short of the Panasonic TC-L42U25 when it comes to motion performance and screen size (though only by two inches). Both TV sets have a comparable repertoire of features, but the Sony KDL-40EX400 has a better raw performance on the whole.

The Sony KDL-40EX400 far outperformed the Panasonic TC-L42U25 in all areas of our black and white testing, sporting a better peak white score, deepest black score and contrast ratio.

Contrast Chart

The Sony KDL-40EX400 has less noticeable color temperature error on the whole, despite a spike in error percentage in the darkest shades of coloration. You will probably not notice the color temperature error in your viewing experience.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 outperformed the Sony KDL-40EX400 in both the motion smoothness and artifacting tests.

Like the Samsung LN40C630, the Sony KDL-40EX400 has a much wider viewing angle than the Panasonic TC-L42U25, and about what we have come to expect from an LCD TV.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 differs from the Sony KDL-40EX400 in terms of available input and output port. While the Panasonic has an SD/SDHC card slot that the Sony KDL-40EX400 does not, the Sony offers analog audio out and USB connectivity, which the Panasonic TC-L42U25 does not offer.

The Sharp LC-42SB48UT provides better connectivity, contrast and color temperature error than the Panasonic TC-L42U25 at a comparable price. Because of the increased connectivity, the Sharp LC-42SB48UT is better suited for users who need more HDMI inputs and analog output for home audio systems. Each TV set has its advantages over the other, but overall, we really didn't like our experience with the Sharp enough to recommend it.

Like the other comparison models to the Panasonic TC-L42U25, the Sharp LC-42SB48UT outperformed the Panasonic in black level, peak white and contrast ratio.

Contrast Chart

The Sharp LC-42SB48UT outperformed the Panasonic TC-L42U25 in terms of color temperature error, only showing a perceptible error in very specific and limited ranges along the greyscale. However, the Panasonic TC-L42U25 did not have the same trouble with different shades of bright reds along the RGB curve. Oddly enough, the Sharp LC-42SB48UT's reds peaked early, which will undoubtedly lead to a posterization effect in some bright red objects with slight shadow detail, leading to loss of detail. The Panasonic TC-L42U25 does not have this problem, and scores better than the Sharp LC-42SB48UT in this area.

The motion rendering of the Sharp LC-42SB48UT is nearly identical in score to the Panasonic TC-L42U25, only showing an imperceptibly slight disadvantage in smoothness and an equally small advantage in terms of artifacting.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 sports a much better viewing angle than the Sharp LC-42SB48UT, which is unusually narrow. Though LCD TVs typically have narrower viewing angles than plasma televisions, the Sharp LC-42SB48UT's viewing angle is unusually narrow.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 sports a much better viewing angle than the Sharp LC-42SB48UT, which is unusually narrow. Though LCD TVs typically have narrower viewing angles than plasma televisions, the Sharp LC-42SB48UT's viewing angle is unusually narrow.

The Panasonic TC-L42U25 ($899 MSRP) falls short in performance for its price range, but that's not to say that it is irredeemable in quality. While it underperformed in many areas, it scored well in motion and color performance. That said, its awful performance in contrast ratio and connectivity seriously impede the Panasonic TC-L42U25's ability to compete with similarly priced models.

Especially curious is how seriously inefficient the backlighting is. Not only does it fail to produce a bright screen, but it draws almost as much power as a similarly-sized plasma television to do so. Considering that cheaper televisions offer better performance and more features, the $899 price tag is a little hard to swallow, especially when there are comparable TVs with an MSRP of $300 less (like the Sony Bravia KDL-40EX400).

The three televisions are basic models, each with relatively the same ports and features. None of these TVs have internet connectivity in any fashion.

Meet the tester

Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas

Staff Writer, Imaging

@cthomas8888

A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.

See all of Chris Thomas's reviews

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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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