First, the bad news: The Panasonic TX-L42E6B doesn't deliver any 3D support. However, 3D remains a relatively niche interest in the UK, so if you're one of the many people for whom 3D isn't a big deal, the Panasonic TX-L42E6B has plenty of other things going for it.

For starters, it's a seriously good-looking TV for a mid-range model, with a super-slim frame and slinky silver finish. It's well geared up for multimedia functionality too, thanks to its playback of music, photo and video files from either USB devices or networked DLNA PCs, and it can also go online with Panasonic's Viera Connect platform.

All the Panasonic TX-L42E6B's many content sources can be accessed, meanwhile, through Panasonic's excellent new My Home Screen interface, and the TV's picture quality is mostly excellent, with rich colours, impressive contrast and well-judged detailing and sharpness.

You could get crisper motion processing if you spent a bit more, and it would be nice if Panasonic got round to adding a few more video services to its Viera Connect platform. Overall, though, the Panasonic TX-L42E6B remains a seriously attractive proposition for the £800 (around US$1,227/AU$1,182) price.

We liked

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Its 'barely there' design is a sight for sore eyes, its multimedia support is mostly strong, its My Home Screen interface is terrific, and its picture quality is consistently good - even during the sort of dark scenes that often catch mid-range LCD TVs out.

We disliked

There's a little resolution loss over motion, the online platform would benefit from a few more video services, and there's no 3D playback even though some rival TVs at the same price point do offer 3D support.

Final verdict

It's a pity the Panasonic TX-L42E6B doesn't support 3D when some similarly priced rivals do, and it would be great if Panasonic managed to add a few more video services to its online TV offerings.

That's where the bad news ends, though, because in terms of its design, its brilliantly friendly and well-organised interface and best of all its mostly excellent picture quality, the Panasonic TX-L42E6B is for our money the most all-round attractive LCD TV Panasonic has ever made.

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There are two main rivals worth thinking about as alternatives to the Panasonic TX-L42E6B. The most persuasive one of these would be the Samsung UE40ES6800.

This is a 2012 TV rather than one of Samsung's brand new models, but it still delivers a startlingly wide-ranging online service, an attractive interface, a design that's as attractive in its own way as Panasonic's, strong picture quality and something the Panasonic TX-L42E6B doesn't have: active 3D playback.

However, the Panasonic is overall the better picture performer, especially where dark scenes are concerned.

LG's 42LM760T, meanwhile, is also a 2012 TV, not a brand new one. But it's even more attractively designed than the Panasonic, and delivers pictures with formidable colour punch and sharpness.

It also supports 3D, this time of the passive variety, and provides a hugely expansive online service. The LG's picture quality is ultimately not as satisfying as the Panasonic's, though, thanks to it suffering with some quite aggressive backlight inconsistencies.