Panasonic TX-P42S30B review

If you can live with its limitations, this plasma is still a decent budget TV

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Panasonic tx p42s30b

Although it can be found selling surprisingly cheaply if you look around online, Panasonic's P42S30 doesn't exactly 'leap off the shelf' at you. Its design is old-fashioned and chunky, it uses plasma technology rather than the more fashionable LCD technology, and its pictures initially look pretty dull and lifeless - especially if you make the mistake of using the TV's strange Normal picture preset.

Nor is it over-burdened with features. There's no 3D, there aren't as many picture adjustments as you get on higher-end Panasonic TVs, and there's no streaming from DLNA PCs.

You do still get Panasonic's Viera Connect online platform though - even if this is at the time of writing rather short of content.

Take a punt on the P42S30 despite its lack of overt glamour, though, and it's unlikely that you'll be disappointed. For in a normal domestic environment rather than a bright shop one, its pictures display some great characteristics, including an excellent black level response, some natural colours (with HD in particular), a wide viewing angle, and sharp motion handling.

If your room is particularly bright you might find the P42S30's images a little too dull for comfort. And if you can you should certainly try and step up to one of Panasonic's NeoPlasma models if you can afford it, as these deliver a marked improvement to pictures. But overall, film fans in particular will likely be very impressed indeed with that the P42S30 has to offer for its money.

We liked

It's really refreshing to be able to watch pictures on a cheap TV that aren't affected by motion blur, and which contain really credible black levels - complete with an impressive amount of shadow detail. It's also great to be able to watch a flat TV from a significant angle without colours and contrast diminishing.

Viera Connect shows potential too, and looks set to improve radically in the coming months.

We disliked

Pictures don't look as vibrant and bright as those from your average LCD rival TV. Also, the Viera Connect online system doesn't have enough content on it right now, and uses a rather long-winded interface.

There's some occasional dotting noise over motion too, and a few more colour calibration options would have been helpful.

Finally, the set's design is a bit bland and chunky.

Final Verdict

Unlike most of Panasonic's more high end plasma TVs this year, we can't quite bring ourselves to give the P42S30 an unqualified recommendation.

For while its impressively natural, contrast-favouring pictures are ideally suited to people who love watching films, its lack of brightness and vibrancy relative to most LCD TVs could be a turn off for people with very bright rooms or who prefer dynamism and punch to black level depth and motion clarity.

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Tech Specs

Product TypePlasma TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Analog TunerPAL
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports3
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyViera S30
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Memory Card ReaderYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
Weight with Stand (Approximate)23 kg
Operating Power Consumption255 W
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand671 mm
Width with Stand1023 mm
Depth with Stand288 mm
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
Teletext Memory1000
Motion Interpolation TechnologyIntelligent Frame Creation Pro
Enhanced Refresh Rate600 Hz
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD)
Height637 mm
Width1023 mm
Depth93 mm
Sound SystemVirtual Surround Sound, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse, DTS
Product SeriesS30
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Colour Depth68.7 Billion Colors (12-bit)
FeaturesPicture and Text (PAT), Child Lock, Media Player, PC Streaming, Web Content Access, Teletext
Product ModelTX-P42S30B
Product NameViera TX-P42S30B Plasma TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTXP42S30B
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The 600Hz Sub-field Drive in VIERA plasma TVs teams up with Intelligent Frame Creation Pro technology to deliver smooth, fluid, on-screen motion. By using an intelligent algorithm within the picture processing based on motion detection, the best combination of frames is created to deliver ultra crisp sports, film and game action.

VIERA incorporates an improved panel production process and the new Real Black Drive system. A pre-discharge control system, the Real Black Drive system achieves next-generation black reproduction. When you're watching movies, VIERA renders images just the way the director intended, even in scenes where it's difficult to achieve a proper balance of light and dark.

Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)20 kg