Panasonic Viera TX-P42GT30B review
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.
Correct price links please?!?
Why review the 46 inch model, but link to prices for the 42 inch model?
By LeeC22 on 2 Dec 2011
nvm, I'll put my glasses on instead. :(
By LeeC22 on 2 Dec 2011
This is my 2nd Panasonic Plasma and I have to say it's really very good. Picture quality is outstanding on High Def sources and pretty good on standard def. I'd tried a Samsung LED panel before opting for the GT30 and the difference couldn't be more obvious. The GT30 delivers CINEMA quality pictures. Sound is also pretty good. Excellent range of connections on the back although the HDMI connectors are vertical so you may want to invest in some right angled HDMI cables if you don't want loads of stuff protruding from the rear. Has built in freeview HD (works great) and FreeSat receiver as well (also works great). EPG for both is a little ugly but functional. Also supports playback from USB and HDD and recording to HDD direct from broadcast which is quite nice.
3D playback is also pretty good although I've only had limited use of this so far... certainly the independent reviews online for it's 3D performance rate it very highly.
Also features VIERA Cast (now called Connect I believe) which has an 'app' portal for the TV (if you have a wired CAT5 network connection - or the WIFI dongle - this has to be purchased separately though). Works fine and has things like iplayer, although I would say that the Samsung has the edge with it's Smart TV implementation which had more apps (such as Lovefilm).
Screen reflection has been an issue on some older plasmas but I'm happy to report the coatings on this TV mean this is kept to a bare minimum..
Negatives :? Some people have complained about issues with brightness control. I don't seem to be suffering any major issues but it's certainly been reported elsewhere (search for FBr and Panasonic on google). The only other thing of slight annoyance is FAN noise. There _are_ some small fans which are used for cooling which can be audible very occasionally. If this is something you think could bother you I'd suggest demoing one of these in a quiet environment to see if you think it would be an issue. Certainly, it didnt bother me but we're all different.
Overall I can heartily reccommend this TV. Great picture, reasonable sound and feature rich. Also has loads of 'expert' settings so you can fiddle to your hearts content if you are into 'calibrating' your TV :-) Also THX certified if that means anything!
As always, demo in the real world before purchasing...it's a must. Some people seem to like the vibrancy of LED/LCD tv's but personally I'd rather have uniform backlighting and deep blacks any day... A great TV for SD/HD/BluRay.
P.S. If you will buy the GT30B I suggest you have to check for best price in UK before you decide at -> uk-tv.blogspot.com/2011/12/tx-p42gt30b.html
By Robinson2012 on 23 Dec 2011
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