Panasonic TX-P42X50B review

By making the mediocre look marvelous, this great value HD-ready TV makes a compelling argument for plasma

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We're not expecting fireworks from an HD-ready panel, but the TX-P42X50B quickly gets into its stride by presenting us with very watchable pictures from Freeview HD – albeit with the lights off.

During Fifth Gear from Dave we noticed strong contrast and well saturated, natural-looking colours (we settled on the Cinema setting).

In terms of detail, Fifth Gear looked clean enough to watch, though it's not perfect; finely detailed dark-on-bright picture elements – such as the ribs of a window – do break-up, and there is some low-res jumpiness to super-quick camera pans, rapid credit rolls, and around some moving objects – though there's no blur or streaking.

Although it suppresses lo-res noise reasonably well – also evident on our Children of Men DVD – the TX-P42X50B manages to make fast cars and action sequences whizz across the screen without any visible judder or added softness.

It might start with less native resolution than a Full HD LED TV, for instance, but its motion handling means it loses far, far less to blur than its rival panel tech.

Open the curtains to streams of sunshine and the situation changes somewhat. Suddenly the contrast doesn't seem half as convincing, and we did notice some reflections, too.

The brighter Dynamic preset is best avoided since it gives everyone a fake tan, so we'd advise the TX-P42X50B is used in as least dingy surroundings as possible for the very best results.

Putting the TX-P42X50B into Game mode, we tried out a few tracks on the Forza Horizon demo from an Xbox 360.

Panasonic TX P42X50B review

As a camera shot sweeps across a forest, that luscious motion handling is immediately obvious once again, though Game mode is a tad too bright in a darkened home cinema setting; we switched to the Cinema setting relatively quickly.

There's hardly a twitch in terms of graphics, thanks to that smoothness, while oodles of contrast lends the Colorado roads a convincing look and feel.

Engaging Hugo on Blu-ray – again with the cinema setting (True Cinema just seems a bit yellowy), we at last notice a slight drop in detail compared to watching a Full HD screen, though the opening sequence of snow flakes has never looked smoother.

Ditto the sweeping shot along the station platform, where passengers don't look quite as much like cardboard cut-outs as on Full HD screens, though to thank for that is the double-act of contrast and colour as much as motion handling.

Tech Specs

Product TypePlasma TV
Scan Format720p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Analog TunerPAL
Video Signal StandardHDTV
Number of HDMI Ports2
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyViera X50
EU Energy LabelB
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)17.50 kg
Operating Power Consumption150 W
Standby Power Consumption400 mW
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand657 mm
Width with Stand1007 mm
Depth with Stand231 mm
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
Teletext Memory1000
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Number of USB Ports1
Energy Consumption per Year139 kWh
Enhanced Refresh Rate600 Hz
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height615 mm
Width1007 mm
Depth81 mm
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus, Virtual Surround Sound, DTS
Product SeriesX50
Maximum Resolution1024 x 768
FeaturesMedia Player, Picture and Text (PAT), Teletext, PC Streaming, Web Content Access
Product ModelTX-P42X50B
Product NameTX-P42X50B 42" Viera Plasma TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTX-P42X50B
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

42" VIERA Plasma TV - An HD Round Performer with a Large Screen
600Hz technology lets you view superb motion images. For even greater clarity with motion images, Panasonic uses its own unique image-analysis technology. This technology converts the motion in each scene into data. And each frame is practically displayed for a shorter length of time than in previous systems, to reduce aftereffects. When using Cinema mode.

Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)16 kg