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Panasonic Viera TX-P42V10B review

Barry de la Rosa
10 Feb 2010
Panasonic Viera TX-P42V10B
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
981
inc VAT

Packed with features, the TX-P42V10B has decent image quality, but not good enough to justify its higher price and power consumption.

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Specifications

42in, Freesat, Freeview, analogue, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: , 4x HDMI

Panasonic's TX-P42V10B is a plasma TV with a built-in Freesat HD receiver, which gives you access to 140 TV channels including HD broadcasts from the BBC and ITV. It also has an Ethernet port for streaming media across your home network and accessing Panasonic's Viera Cast service, which is a web portal with weather and news feeds, plus YouTube and Picasa.

You don't have to pay any monthly fees for the Freesat service, but it's supported by advertising in the EPG of all Freesat TVs. This means the already cramped Panasonic EPG shows only seven channels at a time and only one and a half hours of programming. You can flip between standard and now-and-next modes, filter by channel type (e.g. Freeview, radio or favourite channels) and by genre, plus set timers for future programmes.

Viera Cast, despite Panasonic's suggestions that it will add more UK content, is still the same as it was a year ago. There's only one dedicated video feed, and that's the German-language Tagesschau. It's nice to be able to log into your YouTube and Picasa accounts and watch videos on the big screen, and soon BBC iPlayer will be available on all Freesat-equipped TVs.

Plasma screens are known for their great contrast, and we found the TX-P42V10B to be no exception. In Dynamic mode the picture was a bit dark, with oversaturated colours. Standard mode is decent enough, but there aren't a lot of controls to tweak for colour and contrast. A couple of vague settings, including Digital Cinema Colour, promise to improve image quality but we saw little effect when applying them.

There's a frame smoothing technology called 24p Smooth Film, but it's buried in the Other Settings menu under System rather than the Picture menu where we'd expect to find it. Its effect is subtle, unlike Philips Natural Motion at 'Maximum' which can make movies look too real. Image quality when watching DVDs was superb, with no ghosting and good digital noise reduction. We had no problems connecting our PC, either.

Sound quality from the integrated speakers was good. Bass sounded a little crude and when playing back music with a lot of bass, we couldn't turn the volume past 50 per cent without the sound distorting. There are a couple of surround-sound presets that expand the sound stage nicely, and there's enough volume to fill the average living room.

It's worth noting the downside of plasma screens, which is high power consumption. With the backlight setting set to maximum, the TX-P42V10B drew a greedy 390W. It's also worth pointing out the lack of a USB port, although an SD card slot lets you view digital photos. Bear in mind only photos and movies can be viewed via the network or from a memory card, not music files.

The TX-P42V10B's design isn't that attractive, and despite the inclusion of Freesat HD, network access and Viera Cast, it isn't particularly good value for the money. The image quality simply isn't compelling enough compared to cheaper LED and LCD TVs.

Basic Specifications

Rating***

Physical

Viewable size42in
Native resolution1,920x1,080
1080p supportYes
Aspect ratio16:9
HD readyyes
Contrast ratio40,000:1 (2,000,000:1 dynamic)
Speakers2x 10W
Bezel (top/side/bottom)53mm/64mm/93mm
Screen depth85mm
Screen elevation135mm
Stand size (WxD)497x328mm

Connections

DVI inputs0
D-sub inputs1
HDMI inputs4
Component inputs1
SCART2
S-Video input1
Composite inputs1
Audio outputsoptical S/PDIF out, 1x stereo phono
Otherheadphone output, 3.5mm minijack audio input, CI slot, SD card slot, RJ-45 network port

Tuner

Tuner typeFreesat, Freeview, analogue
EPG8-day, Now and Next

Environmental

Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption on390W

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£981
Supplierhttp://www.beyondtelevision.co.uk
Detailswww.panasonic.co.uk

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