Whether it's an iPod or a robot vacuum cleaner, it pays to never buy a first-generation product, even if it seems startlingly impressive. The same is true of 3D plasma screens, as Panasonic's second generation of NeoPDP delivers a host of subtle but significant improvements.
The faster phosphor time, multimedia talents and general panel attenuation have been harnessed to deliver an enticing proposition for a 42-inch screen with 3D prowess.
The set's overall image performance with 2D and 3D sources is highly impressive. Once you've worked out which picture settings suit what sources you're guaranteed a rollickingly good visual experience.
The lack of artefacts with the IFC is especially good, as is the virtual absence of 3D crosstalk. The Viera Connect service has improved dramatically since last year and is a useful supplementary feature.
We're no fans of the drab grey styling and cheapo remote control that are such a contrast to the more expensive sets in Panasonic's 2011 range.
The fact that you have to buy your 3D specs separately is illogical because if you weren't interested in it you wouldn't be buying this set in the first place.
You do need to play around with the settings sometimes but the screen's failings are much less significant than its successes. The TX-P42ST30B doesn't look that nice but it delivers more than it promises, rather than less. If you can see past the drab frame, the TX-P42ST30B is a bit of a bargain.
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