Panasonic TX-L42E30B review

Not bothered by 3D? Panasonic's new 42-inch LCD TV be right up your street

TODO alt text

Panasonic tx l42e30b

Aside from a lack of 3D support, the TX-L42E30B is a state-of-the-art screen. It continues Panasonic's theory that a modern TV should act as a home's entertainment hub, by providing playback of video, music and photo files from USB and SD card, and DLNA media streaming from a network-connected PC or Panasonic Diga recorder.

Accessible files are displayed by tapping the green Viera Tools button on the remote and sectioned into Photo, Video, Recorded TV and Music (for USB/SD card) and Media Server for any DLNA-attached devices. Usability is good – we had no trouble viewing various music and video files located on a Western Digital NAS drive and a PC.

The TX-L42E30B is net-savvy, too. Viera Connect is the 2011 iteration of Panasonic's online portal – previously known as Viera Cast - and comes with plenty of new features. Described as a 'cloud-based internet service', Viera Connect currently offers music and video on demand in the form of YouTube, Acetrax, Dailymotion, Ustream and SHOUTcast; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Picasa, Skype and other apps; interactive games such as Blackjack and Catch Up TV from BBC's iPlayer.

That may not sound very different to Viera Cast, but the platform is now open to third-party developers, so expect much more to be added in the near future. For instance, Panasonic has said that the capacity to expand hardware functions through linking health and fitness equipment or game controllers will be introduced later this year, so maybe it's time to dig out your tracksuit bottoms.

The Viera Connect interface is a treat, and more finely tuned than that of the TV itself. A dedicated Viera Cast button on the remote control (Panasonic obviously hasn't got round to updating its handsets yet) brings up the bright, colourful, hi-res homepage, with icons for Skype, iPlayer, Acetrax etc.

The iPlayer app is particularly worth investigating. It includes BBC HD playback, is easy to navigate and picture quality is on a par with material from the TV's own tuner.

Prospective buyers should be aware, though, that Viera Connect doesn't allow unrestricted web browsing (a la Philips' Net TV).

Another handy feature is recording to a USB storage device, which brings with it trickplay features like pausing and rewinding live TV. Recordings can't be played back on other devices, though, which makes one wonder why Panasonic doesn't just build a hard-disk drive into the TV when it's on the production line.

The TX-L42E30B sports a healthy array of connections. The back panel houses three HDMI jacks, a component input, RGB Scart, PC input, stereo analogue audio in/out and an optical audio output. There's also an Ethernet port and pair of USB sockets. Further connections sit on the side of the bezel for easy access, including a third USB, HDMI input and an SD card slot - the latter perfect for owners of Panasonic's digital cameras.

Features related more to the TX-L42E30B's AV performance include Panasonic's V-Real Live picture processing engine, Intelligent Frame Creation Pro motion smoothing, a Freeview HD tuner; an IPS Alpha LCD panel, edge LED lighting and, of course, a full HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyViera E30
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Analog TunerPAL
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
Weight with Stand (Approximate)19 kg
Backlight TechnologyDirect LED
Operating Power Consumption102 W
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand646 mm
Width with Stand1002 mm
Depth with Stand288 mm
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
Height611 mm
Width1002 mm
Depth75 mm
Sound SystemSurround Sound, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS
Product SeriesE30
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesChild Lock, Picture and Text (PAT), Teletext
Product ModelTX-L42E30B
Product NameViera TX-L42E30B LED-LCD TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTXL42E30B
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The IPS Alpha panel, which is known for its wide viewing angle and excellent light transmittance, is now further enhanced with a bright, energy-saving LED backlight. Images do not fade when viewed from an angle, and a uniformly high-speed response across the entire range ensures crisp moving images with minimal afterglow. The IPS Alpha LED LCD offers superb contrast and also contributes to the display's slim design.

Weight (Approximate)15.50 kg