on 21 January 2013
UPDATE: Unfortunately, after about 10 months, despite the features to prevent it being turned on, the set developed a severe image burn problem with various channel logos becoming persistent and easily visible on lighter backgrounds. Cannot fault Amazon though, immediately agreed to collect it and provide a full refund - I have since replaced it with the TX-L47ET60B LED model. It's a real shame as it was a fantastic TV until this problem, but, again, thanks to Amazon for resolving without issue
Original review as follows:
Ordered at 10pm on Thursday, delivered at 7:15am on Saturday - great service by CityLink
This TV was purchased to replace a 32" Sony LCD in our new home, and it was with slight trepidation that I opened it - even though I'd measured the space and knew it would fit, the box was as wide as a two seater sofa, and not much of that width was excess packaging... But fit it did, and easily too, so with a mopped brow and a heartrate approaching normal again, I went about setting it up.
I'd put some research into selecting our new TV, initially looking at LED models, and came across this purely by accident - having clicked on it thinking I was looking at an LED model. My memory of plasma models from a few years back was excellent picture quality, but bulky, power hungry units prone to image burn. Well, how wrong was I? This unit is thinner than the LCD it's replacing, and around the same as most LED models, we all know image burn is a thing of the past, and power consumption is vastly improved (though not to LED levels). I was impressed before I'd even switched the thing on.
Connected it to the aerial, plugged my Sky+HD box, Blu-Ray player and Xbox 360 int the three HDMI sockets, and plugged in the Ethernet cable (not actually required as the TV has built in Wi-Fi, but I had a cable there for the Sony), switched on and went through the very simple setup procedure, to be presented with BBC One like I'd never seen it before - stunning! And in SD too. SD never really looks great since the old CRT days, but this TV does an excellent job with it, so have no complaints there.
Moving on to the Freeview HD channels, the improvement between this and the Sony set were as different as night and day. Everything looked so much richer, with a better depth of colour. Having read a number of reviews, all of which recommended 'True Cinema' for the picture mode, with all the additional processing features turned off, I tried this out for a while, but to my eye, 'Cinema' looked better - using Sky Sports News HD as a test, the white's and blue's just looked better. But each to their own of course.
Tested out the BBC iPlayer in HD using an episode of Africa and could see no discernible difference between the same episode being played back on the Sky+HD box - very, very impressive!
One big advantage of this set for me is I no longer need a separate media streamer - I have a large library of films and TV shows on a DLNA ready NAS on my home network, and the TV picked everything up and played it, bar some ISO images which I'll just convert. Removing a remote from the collection was very welcome...
For Blu-Ray, I have an old Sony BDP-S350 player (will be replacing this with a Panasonic 3D model in due course) and tested it out with the Star Trek film from a few years back - chose this as I wanted something with a lot of black in it, as that's the colour best used for bench marking a TV. Once again, the TV shone, the picture was perfect and the blacks were so very black. This is one of the advantages a plasma will have over an LED/LCD model.
Also tested with the Xbox 360, switching the screen to Game mode, and could see no lag at all. Playing Halo 4 on a screen like this really was some experience.
Sound is something that all flat screen TV's will fall down on, they just don't have the space for big speakers like CRT's did, but I have to say the sound on the TV was surprisingly good - certainly wasn't tinny or flat. Lacked a little bass, and some top end clarity, but it's perfectly acceptable for standard use. Purists will of course connect this to a home cinema set up, and it has both optical out and an ARC compatible HDMI socket, and those looking for something in between will probably go for a soundbar, but it's still pretty decent.
I haven't tested anything in 3D yet, am still waiting for the free glasses to turn up, but given how well this TV does everything else, I'm sure I'll be just as impressed by that.
Overall, this is a truly excellent TV, and for anyone looking at buying a 42" set I would look no further than this