Panasonic Viera TX-P42GT30B
42in, Freeview HD, Freesat HD, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: yes, 4x HDMI
For this review we tested the 42in model in the GT30 range, but it's also available in 46in (TX-P46GT30B) and 50in (TX-P50GT30B) screen sizes. All models have identical specifications except for their dimensions and power usage. We're confident that image quality will be practically identical across the range.
As this year’s mainstream high-end plasma TV, the GT30 is bursting at the seams with features. This 42in model has everything you would want in a TV, plus more which makes it such an exciting proposition for anyone looking to upgrade their current set.
Design-wise, the GT30 doesn’t stand out as a high-end TV; its screen bezel isn’t the thinnest we’ve seen, but the charcoal grey colour scheme looks sleek and stylish. The entire set is less than 4cm thick so will look just as good mounted on a wall as it does on its thin reinforced plastic stand. In order to maintain these slim dimensions, all the ports on the back of the set either point downwards or out to the side, which could make it difficult to connect less pliable cables. There are four HDMI ports, component and composite video, digital audio and a Common Interface slot for pay TV channels. However, as with Panasonic's other 2011 ranges, there's no VGA input for older laptops.
There are three USB ports, with one of them turning the TV into a single tuner PVR if you connect an external hard disk. You can also play multimedia files from a USB memory stick; most file types are supported, including DivX and Xvid. Finally, an Ethernet port lets you connect the set to your home network.
There are several reasons to do this. Aside from software updates, it also provides access to Panasonic’s excellent Viera Connect portal. As well as letting you stream video from websites such as YouTube, it also includes high definition catch-up TV via BBC iPlayer. As the TV also supports DLNA, you can stream multimedia content from a PC, laptop or NAS on the same network. We were disappointed that Panasonic has stuck with the decision to cut off the audio and video when viewing the EPG - a frustrating and unnecessary 'feature'. At least the speakers are excellent when there is audio.