Panasonic TX-P42ST30B review

An ugly, yet affordable 3D plasma capable of delivering very impressive pictures

TODO alt text

Panasonic tx p42st30b


Audio is a pleasant surprise. There are a number of tweaks and presets available including Balance Control, Headphone Volume, plus Music, Speech and user modes. Built-in surround options comprise V-Audio and V-Audio surround.

There's little sense of being surrounded by anything aural and while the speakers suffice for everyday listening, you'll certainly need a separate sound system for watching movies and dramas.


Given that it delivers much more than you'd expect of such a pig-ugly screen, the TX-P42ST30B seems reasonably enough priced at around £1,300, especially compared with Panasonic's TX-L32DT30B, a 32-inch LCD that sells for just £200 less.

That's 10 extra inches for not much more cash. Until now you simply couldn't get this level of 2D and 3D performance plus online TV and multimedia playback on a 42-inch screen for this kind of outlay. It's just a pity the 3D specs are such an expensive extra at around £100 each.

Ease of use

Unfortunately, Panasonic has not changed its Freeview guide from the GuidePlus, which is slow to load, doesn't maintain audio or visual contact with the current broadcast and has amateurish adverts taking up valuable space on the guide. It does at least tell you if a standard-def show is also in HD on one of the four HD channels and searching using the alpha-numeric keypad is a breeze.

Similarly, the TX-P42ST30B's own menu system is easy enough to operate if not as aesthetically pleasing as many others. The menu of greatest interest is the Picture one that reveals the pared down nature of its adjustments.

There is the usual gamut of preset modes (Dynamic, Natural, Cinema, Game, etc) and options to play with brightness, contrast, sharpness, colour balance (a bit like white balance) and a Vivid Colour on/off switch, but the lack of individual hue adjustments may be seen as a cut too far.

A 3D option provides minor tweaks to the way the image is detected and displayed but doesn't let you mess around too much with the depth.

The IFC off/mid/max button and Clear Cinema on/off control are – annoyingly – buried in the Advanced sub-menu. Connect a 24p Blu-ray feed and these are automatically replaced by Blu-ray 24p Smooth Film on/off. Other advanced controls include Resolution enhancer, a pixel orbiter and scrolling pattern for removing burnt-in onscreen logos.

It's annoying that no 3D specs are supplied, but at least the latest models are fairly comfortable and some can be recharged using the USB output. They do, however, cut out more light than other brands' glasses, but at least it means you can find a suitable use for the TV's otherwise ridiculously harsh Dynamic mode.

The remote control has, in keeping with the set, been given an inferior finish. Sprayed light grey, it's far from the most attractive handset you'll see and rams home the message that you're an entry-level customer.

Overall, it's a decent enough screen to operate and if you've got in a bit of a mess with the settings it's always worth giving the C.A.T.S control a go for a surprisingly good reset based on your room's ambient light.

Tech Specs

Product TypePlasma TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Analog TunerPAL
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyViera ST30
3D Type3D
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
Weight with Stand (Approximate)23 kg
Operating Power Consumption295 W
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand675 mm
Width with Stand1020 mm
Depth with Stand320 mm
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
Teletext Memory1000
3D ConversionYes
Motion Interpolation TechnologyIntelligent Frame Creation Pro
Enhanced Refresh Rate600 Hz
Height640 mm
Width1020 mm
Depth69 mm
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse, DTS, Virtual Surround Sound
Product SeriesST30
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Colour Depth68.7 Billion Colors (12-bit)
FeaturesChild Lock, Picture and Text (PAT), Media Player, PC Streaming, Web Content Access, Teletext
Product ModelTX-P42ST30B
Product NameViera TX-P42ST30B Plasma TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTXP42ST30B
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The viewing experience has never been so lifelike and compelling as it is with Panasonic's 3D Technology. The fast switching phosphors used in the Neo Plasma panels and an original light-emitting process minimise crosstalk (double images) to deliver clear 3D images and ensure comfortable viewing. This technology also helps to improve 2D picture quality.

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.

Limited Warranty5 Year
Weight (Approximate)19.50 kg