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This review is from: Panasonic TX-P42ST50B 42-inch Widescreen Full HD 1080p 3D Ready Plasma TV with Freeview and Smart Viera - Black (New for 2012) (Electronics)
Bought this Panasonic TX-P42ST50B (the 42" version) as a replacement for my six year old Panasonic 32" LCD which I've now moved to a new location. Always tend to stick to brands that I am familiar with, and as a bit of a Panasonic fan, had been waiting for their 2012 models and delighted with the new, much smaller "Samsung-esque" thin edges and crystal frame.
This is my first Plasma TV and have to say I am very happy. I spent a while researching and reading reviews and opinions online before I committed to this one. Winning several "Best Buy" or "Recommendation" awards from Tech Sites swayed me somewhat! (I was also considering the TX-L42DT50B LED, but the fact that was almost £500 more expensive than this one, I made the jump to Plasma).
Ordered on Wednesday afternoon at 3pm and Amazon delivered the following morning at 8am via City Link, so whilst I've only had it a few days, I am still finding my feet and still twiddling with settings and so on (and expect I'll continue to tweak it for a little while yet).
First impressions; Screen uniformity is very good, I have not noticed any splodges, smudging, blobs, banding or anything unusual. Watching Freeview HD is very good indeed providing a much better picture than their SD counterparts. That said, SD upconversion is far far better than on my previous LCD and more than acceptable. Obviously will never be as good as a dedicated HD source, but it's still good! Nice to see that Panasonic have listened to gripes regarding their intrusive use of Advertising on the Freeview TV Guide, and they have now been sent to the bin and no longer plague the set! (Hooray!) so can see more of the actual guide on screen. Still no Thumbnail of the channel you are on in the corner though, which would have been nice, but still, maybe next year, or maybe with a software update that will eventually arrive.
Sound. Has a couple of different sound modes built in, so whilst true cinema addicts and audiophiles will want to plug in a dedicated AV or Home Cinema Receiver with speakers, it's still adequate and does a decent job of providing good levels of audio, which will be perfectly fine for a lot of people. I've got it connected to an Onkyo HTS-4505 Home Cinema via Viera Link.
Viera Connect/Cast. Nice to see a built in WiFi (and a wired LAN as well if you prefer), so no need to buy separate cumbersome dongles or bridges, works straight out the box and simple to set up. BBCi Player, in HD mode is absolutely gorgeous. Never seen BBCi Player look so good! (I used to connect my laptop to the old LCD via a HDMI lead as a "2nd Screen" and watch it on the screen that way, but this blows it out the water, looks great). Be good to see ITV Player, 4/5 On Demand or even Sky Go appear at some point. As I subscribe to LoveFilm, disappointed that Panasonic still haven't (yet) provided access to LoveFilm via their service, instead partnering with NetFlix and AceTrax. Again, maybe this will arrive in the future, I hope so anyway! I guess most of the apps on there won't be used by most people, but things like BBC iPlayer, BBC News, Facebook and Twitter will be the apps most will get some time from.
If you have an IOS (Apple iPad/iPod Touch/iPhone) or Android device, you can download the Panasonic Viera Remote App from the relevant store to act as a remote control - particularly handy for the Keyboard as using the normal TV Remote is clunky and a time consuming pain in the derrière! Makes it much easier!
Hooking up my Sky+HD receiver, brings the TV to life. Watching parts of Transformers Dark Side of the Moon, Super 8 and Alice in Wonderland just look absolutely gorgeous, crisp, colourful and the black levels are spot on, no light greys or trails on fast panning or action, smooth, perfect frankly!
3D - Only got a set of 3D glasses this morning, so haven't really tested out that aspect of things, but Soccer AM on Sky3D looked pretty good! And Panasonic have a Showcase of 3D videos in their Viera Connect service and took the guided tour of the British Museum in London not long ago and that was very good! Sure there's some tweaks I can make to settings to make it even better, but my first impression of 3D is good. Haven't got any 3D Blu-Rays (as don't have a 3D player yet) so can't test any of that out.
Blu-Ray Movies. Had a bit of a play around with that and played the new version of "The Thing" in both normal mode and turning on the 24p Output option (which seemed to be much smoother and crisper). I don't really understand what the difference is with 24p output and normal 60hz, so will have to do a bit more research on that before I can decide what's best! But Blu-Rays either way look better than they have ever done.
External USB .. Downloaded some MKV content and popped that onto a USB stick and into the slot on the side of the set. Recognised I'd plugged it in and played it with no problem at all and looks far better on the big screen than it does on my 17" laptop!
Overall, I am delighted with it at the moment and would recommend it to anyone thinking about buying it!
Tracked by 4 customers
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 May 2012 09:20:08 BDT
A. N. Williams says:
Very good review Mr Potter, i'm also looking into a panasonic plasma to replace my ageing LG 32" plasma, have you done any gaming on the set (ps3) just wondering what your thoughts are.
In reply to an earlier post on 21 May 2012 17:57:39 BDT
N Potter says:
Hi Allister, thanks for the feedback. I'm not much of a gamer so can't give any experience on that side of things (sorry old chap).
In reply to an earlier post on 22 May 2012 06:54:10 BDT
A. Sehgal says:
The website HDTV test tested this television for gaming and worked out its input delay at 16ms - you;d be hard pressed to beat that.
Posted on 23 May 2012 04:27:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 May 2012 04:33:49 BDT
Malcolm M says:
Movies on blu ray are 24fps, well really they are 23.976fps, anyways its best to turn off most of the "enhancements" on the television and also use the 24fps option when viewing a blu ray film, there is an indepth review of the tv at the site below. If you must have 24p smooth film on then set it to Min or it will create a video look rather than a film look on movies. ( of course you might like the video look, i don't and prefer a film look )
A sample of that review, read the whole review at the site.
We performed a fresh black level calibration of our Klein Instruments K-10 meter - one of the few calibration devices which can measure black levels as dark as the best Plasma televisions can muster - and then measured a fully black screen from the TX-P42ST50. To our eyes, the black level was definitely something special, so we were happy to see the measurement come in at 0.009 cd/m2, which is an outstanding black level, especially for such an affordable HDTV. We haven't seen blacks at this level since the high-end VT20 series in 2010. The recently reviewed TX-P65VT30, a top-of-the-line display costing many thousands of pounds, performed similarly well (measuring at 0.011 cd/m2), but we weren't expecting blacks this deep on a mid-range television with a 3-figure price tag. It's one of the best HDTVs we've ever tested in this regard, tied in second place and only beaten by the considerably more expensive and discontinued Pioneer PDP-LX5090. The Panasonic TX-P42ST50B features the best black level we're ever seen from an HDTV costing less than £1800.
Benchmark Test Results
Dead pixels None
Screen uniformity Usually excellent, full white screen reveals very mild yellow-green tint in middle, with certain picture contents
Overscanning on HDMI 0% with [16:9 Overscan] set to "Off"
Blacker than black Passed
Calibrated black level (black screen) 0.009 cd/m2
Calibrated black level (ANSI checkerboard) 0.012 cd/m2
Black level retention Stable
Primary chromaticity Excellent
Video mode deinterlacing Very effective jaggies reduction
Film mode deinterlacing Passed 2-2 PAL and 3-2 NTSC tests
Viewing angle Excellent, screen filter blocks ceiling lighting, so vertical viewing angle lessened
Motion resolution Excellent (1080)
Digital noise reduction Present, optional
Sharpness No edge enhancement noticed during viewing, mild artefacts with Luma zone plate
Luma/Chroma bandwidth (2D Blu-ray) Full Luma, Full horizontal chroma, barely noticeable vertical limitation
Image retention Very little, clears quickly
Posterization Very small "hardened" edges during fast motion
Phosphor trails Mild, some red trailing noted
1080p/24 capability No judder in 2D, 3D tests coming soon
Input lag Excellent: 16ms compared to lag-free CRT
Full 4:4:4 reproduction (PC) No, 4:4:4 input subsampled
A side note about [24p Smooth Film]: in addition to the "Off" option which we elected to use, there are three processing settings: Min, Mid and Max. We couldn't see "Min" doing anything at all, and we even ran our completely brutal motion interpolation tests (designed to sniff out TVs which apply unwanted motion smoothing), which "Min" passed with flying colours, indicating that it doesn't actually seem to do anything. "Mid" produces smoothed video-like "soap opera" motion, and "Max" does the same, but at a different panel refresh rate, and presumably with more intensity.
Posted on 25 May 2012 13:08:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 May 2012 21:45:11 BDT
Mr. AP ROWLEY says:
Did you get the 5 year guarantee direct with Panasonic with this purchase?
Posted on 25 Jun 2013 20:20:33 BDT
K. Bevan says:
Hi, alot of people seem to think that the TV is quite dark. Have you found this?
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2013 21:26:33 BDT
A. N. Williams says:
Hi, no not at all, they are probably use to led tv's which can be brighter compared to plasma. I have direct sunlight through my living room am, so i tend to put the tv on a brighter setting if need be. the true cinema setting is pretty spot on for blu rays in the evening/night. My pana plasma is coming up to a year old and is better than ever. No negatives what so ever.
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