Fujitsu has a long heritage in plasma. So will its peerless experience serve it well with the shiny P42HTS40 - arguably the company's most living room-centric screen effort yet?
The P42HTS40 is slick and modern, largely thanks to the extreme slenderness of its silver bezel, and the application of some tastefully subtle curves at the edges. The glass-based stand is a classy effort, too.
Found on a chunky external AV switching box, the Fujitsu's connectivity includes an HDMI jack, a DVI slot (not HDCP enabled), two HD-capable component video inputs, and three Scarts - all of which can take RGB. I told you this was Fujitsu's most domesticated plasma product to date!
Thanks to the company's Alternate Lighting of Surfaces (ALiS) PDP technology, the P42HTS40GS provides an HD-friendly native resolution of 1024 x 1024 (interlaced). And it completes its HD Ready compliance by handling all the key HD formats in both digital and analogue component form.
This set also employs AVM II, Fujitsu's latest scaling technology, claimed to deliver - among other things - improvements in MPEG and mosquito noise, contouring, colour tuning, and vibrancy. AVM II also automatically adjusts elements of the picture in response to the amount of ambient light detected by a built-in light sensor.
Unfortunately, while the P42HTS40's specification talks the talk, it doesn't walk the walk. The TV's colour palette is not very natural at all. Skin tones in particular often leave everyone looking decidedly green round the gills, especially during those difficult to render dark movie moments. Even after calibration, the colour temperature is overblown.
The screen certainly fails to impress with its black levels. The inkiness of space at the start of Alien (one of our most telling high definition test sources) is so obscured by grey mist that it loses all sense of depth - not to mention a few stars! The flatness of the picture isn't done any favours, either, by a shortfall in greyscale subtlety, which leaves dark areas looking hollow and one-dimensional.
In our Tech Labs, real world contrast was measured at just 240:1, which is surprisingly low.
Despite the resolution, the P42HTS40 in the configuration reviewed here, simply doesn't display enough clarity generally, leaving HD footage looking slightly soft. The only exception to this softness occurs during HDMI viewing. I'm tempted to urge buyers to sidestep the supplied media box and go straight to a scaler, and try and pixel match with their various sources.
On the upside, the glass suffers relatively little from plasma's traditional problems with fizzing noise on motion, colour banding/false contouring and dot crawl. In fact, noise in general is in short supply.
The speakers for this Fujitsu screen are an optional extra (£249), and we weren't supplied with any to evaluate.
Although the P42HTS40's pictures stretch to 'average or thereabouts' using the HDMI feed, with everything else they're decidedly below par. Hardly an ideal outcome for what is, after all, a particularly expensive TV.