Panasonic TX-P42GT60B review
For this review we tested the 42in model in the GT60 range (TX-P42GT60B), but it's also available in a 50in (TX-P50GT60B) screen size. 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.
The TX-P42GT60B is one of Panasonic’s mid-range plasma TV sets, but it certainly makes an impression when you first set it up. Its slim bezel isn’t that much thicker than some of the high-end LCD TVs, and its brushed aluminium stand and silver finish makes it look just as smart.
The first thing you see when you turn on the TV is the Home screen. A live feed from your selected source takes up most of the screen with TV listings running down the side, but there are also smaller windows dedicated to Panasonic’s smart TV content, a photo gallery and a media player. Two other Home screens are also available with a different selection of apps, widgets and bookmarks, but all three can be customised to your liking. If you want to fit in more apps and shortcuts to your favourite channels, though, then you can always create your own Home screen using one of four different layouts.
Alternatively, you can bypass the Home screen altogether and jump straight into full screen mode. However, we found this caused an irritating pop-up ad to appear every time we turned on the TV. Luckily we were able to disable it by turning off the Viera Connect Banner in the Display settings in the Setup menu.
A SMARTER TV
There’s a good range of smart TV content to choose from in Panasonic’s Viera Connect menu, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube. Facebook and Twitter are also present along with Skype, but you’ll have to buy a webcam to take full advantage of it. It’s still not quite as extensive as other smart TV content you’ll see on other 2013 TVs, but you can download additional apps from Panasonic’s own app store, the Viera Connect Market, to help bolster the ranks. Most of them are free, but some require a small fee.
The GT60 comes with a Smart Pen, which lets you turn your TV into a giant digital canvas. It’s a novel idea, but while the drawing apps and touchscreen games might be mildly entertaining for young children, we doubt you’ll want to use it to poke and prod a £1,000 TV.
Inputs are located on the back of the. We were still a little disappointed to only find three HDMI inputs rather than four (one supports ARC, so you can send sound back to amplifier), but it also has component and composite video inputs, a Common Interface card slot, digital optical audio, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and aerial and satellite connections. You’ll have to use an adaptor for SCART, though. The TX-P42GT60B also has integrated Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port for connecting the TV to your home network.
If you want to take advantage of the TV’s integrated photo gallery and media player, there’s also an SDXC card slot, two USB ports and one USB3 port. Its file format support is quite selective, though. We could play most of our video files, including H.264, MKV, MPEG4, WMVHD and XVID HD formats, but it couldn’t detect MOV clips. It also only recognised JPG images and MP3, FLAC, M4A and WMA audio files. The media player can also play recorded TV files from your flash drive, but you’ll need to make sure it has at least 160GB capacity, as smaller external hard disks won’t work.
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