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Panasonic TX-P42S30B review

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

For

  • Good contrast
  • Fair value
  • Very natural pictures with no motion blur

Against

  • Currently underwhelming online service
  • Pictures lack brightness
  • Chunky design

It's fair to say that Panasonic has had a pretty good year, thanks predominantly to the critical and commercial success of its latest 3D plasma models.

The Panasonic TV under scrutiny today, though, the TX-P42S30B, is not a 3D model. Nor does it enjoy the new slender design sported by many of Panasonic's latest 3D TVs, or Panasonic's latest NeoPlasma screen technology; it relies instead on 2010's NeoPDP system.

So why should you care? Because the P42S30B is so affordable, for a start. Panasonic quotes a price of around £800, but a quick Internet search finds it going for as little as £500, which qualifies as a massive bargain for a new 42-inch plasma TV bearing the Panasonic name.

Also, even Panasonic's 2010 plasma panel technology is still a cut above the quality of most rival plasma sets, and the P42S30 manages to retain Panasonic's Viera Connect online service despite its affordability. It delivers a full HD resolution too, which is actually rare in the 42-inch plasma world.

Surprisingly the P42S30 is the only model in the S30 range; there are no other size options. So if you want a 50-inch Panasonic plasma set that doesn't have 3D, you'll have to step up to the TX-P50G30B (which adds Panasonic's contrast-boosting Infinite Black technology plus THX accreditation and USB recording), or down to the P50U30B (which doesn't have any contrast filters or multimedia/online playback options).

The P42S30 does have, of course, a 3D 'cousin': the P42ST30, which benefits from Panasonic's latest NeoPlasma panel design.

But if you're still reading this review, then presumably you haven't fallen under 3D's spell, and are instead interested in what sort of quality the P42S30 might serve up for so little money.

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
EthernetYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)23 kg
Operating Power Consumption255 W
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
VGAYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand671 mm
Width with Stand1023 mm
Depth with Stand288 mm
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
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
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelTX-P42S30B
Product NameViera TX-P42S30B Plasma TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTXP42S30B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
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.

SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)20 kg