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Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pan-tastic Plasma, 23 May 2012
This review is from: Panasonic Smart VIERA TX-P42ST30B 42-inch Full HD 1080p 3D 600Hz Internet-Ready Plasma TV with Freeview HD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
First off i have to say how utterly pleased i am with this 3D Plasma TV, it really is astonishing what you can get for £500 these days! It took a lot of research, bouncing between different makes models and screen tech before landing on this the Panasonic TX-P42ST30B. In the eternal battle between LCD and Plasma...Plasma wins hands down. Frame rate, colour reproduction, black levels and viewing angles are all superior on Plasma at this price range and IMO in general.

Ok, down to the TV itself. The picture quality is astounding, once you have calibrated it yourself away from the factory settings. This is a pretty simple task, with a minimum of parameters to choose from. You have six basic picture presets, each with a different set of values. For example; "dynamic" mode is very vibrant, over saturated and uses a high amount of contrast. "Normal" mode is very dark with low contrast and colour, this incidentally is the setting that the TV comes shipped with and really doesn't do the set justice, but as i mentioned earlier in the review, once you choose your own settings and have calibrated it yourself, this Plasma really shines. The next two presets are the ones worth concentrating on, these are "Cinema" and "True Cinema" take the time to make adjustments to these, using the brightness, contrast, colour and sharpness settings and you won't be sorry you have bought this TV. Personally i use the "cinema" setting as i find it gives the best balance between brightness, contrast and realistic colour reproduction. The other two setting are "Game" and "photo", which are pretty self explanatory in what they are best used for.
A word of advise though. For the first couple of months it is recommended that you keep the contrast levels to about 50% to help combat image retention or as it is often called "screen burn" this is a common problem with plasma TV's and although Panasonic does have a method of eliminating it using something called pixel orbiting, it's better to keep the contrast settings low while the screen beds in.

Picture quality from the built in HD Freeview receiver is excellent, especially in high definition. Watching Avatar recently on terrestrial TV was a real eye opener and shows just how good this Plasma is. The clarity and sharpness was breathtaking, with even the most minute detail visible and the 600hz sub field scanning really helps keep the picture motion nice and smooth. To turn this on, simply go to the menu, select "picture", scroll down to advanced settings and set "Intelligent Frame Creation" to max. It takes a bit of getting used to but once you've used it for a while, you wont want to turn it off.

Picture quality in standard definition is equally impressive, which is important with most channels still broadcasting in this format through the Freeview system. If you have cable or satellite TV it wont be as much of an issue.

Of course to get the most out of this set you will need to hook up a Blu Ray player through one of the four HDMI sockets.
There simply aren't enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe how good it is. It's a definite step-up from DVD or HD television broadcasts! watching The Dark Knight was amazing. Again, the clarity, sharpness and colour reproduction was spot on. This set perfectly reproduces what the film makers intended you to see. There was no visible judder thanks to it's 24p compatibility and no noticeable motion blur or colour banding.

Playing video games is also excellent on this TV. The graphics from my XBOX 360 look superb and the ultra quick pixel response time means games play with minimal lag which helps when you're trying not to get your butt kicked playing multiplayer on MW3! The "game" mode on the picture presets work very well and is perfectly suited to playing video games.

In case you missed it, this TV is also 3D compatible and uses the active shutter system which means buying extra 3D glasses at some cost. Prices go from anything between £30 to £100 per pair. I was lucky enough to get 2 free pairs with the TV in a deal at Comet so it might be worth trying to find a similar deal. 3D is a kind of love it or hate it technology and to be honest i'm not totally sold on it. I haven't had the chance to watch any true 3D content on this TV yet, so i can't comment on it's quality or effectiveness. I have however used the 2D to 3D conversion that the TV provides which, while not producing true "jump off the screen" 3D, it does give the picture more depth and a layered feel to the image. I tend not to use it though. I am looking to get a 3D compatible Blu Ray player sometime in the future and look forward to seeing what a true 3D picture will look like on this TV.

As is common with most plasmas and LCD's the sound isn't all that great so it is definitely worth spending extra on a surround system but as plasmas go, it's definitely better than a lot of the others out there. The sound is clear with a better than average amount of bass considering it's slim frame.

Other features include "smart TV" allowing for content to be streamed over the internet through either the Ethernet port located at the rear or through a wireless dongle sold separately for an extortionate price. Panasonics "Viera cast" system works well, with most of the major players accounted for, including; BBC iplayer, Facebook and twitter with a host of other music and video streaming services also included. The interface isn't particularly pretty but it does it's job well and functions as it should.

There is also an SD card slot for memory cards and 2 USB ports. Apparently the USB ports allow for connection of an external HDD which will allow you to record TV and play films but i haven't tried this function out yet so i can't comment on it's usefulness or compatibility.

A few of the other reviewers have mentioned problems with their TV's such as a Buzzing sound or constant brightness fluctuations. As yet i am yet to experience any fluctuations in brightness but do have a very slight amount of buzzing, this is only noticeable when there is no sound coming from the TV and therefore doesn't cause any problems for me personally, though i can understand how this may be annoying for some.

This for me is an excellent TV especially for the price. There isn't anything else on the market and at this price point that can match what this TV can do. The positives hugely outweigh the negatives and it should be at the top of any wish list for anyone looking for an inexpensive, High definition 3D TV.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Jun 2012 19:02:41 BDT
The Fulwell says:
Superb review

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jun 2012 19:40:47 BDT
Birchiebirch says:
Thanks very much and thank you for taking the time to read it.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jul 2012 13:47:53 BDT
The Truth says:
LOL - Birchiebirch. A lot of thought went into that one hey. Good review though. Very thorough and quite nicely written too. I'm going to see what else you've been buying. I see there's a microwave fat boy!
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