Panasonic TX-L42DT50B review

Black is sacked as Edge LED set embraces metal design, smart TV, streaming and 3D

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There's no doubting that the TX-L42DT50B is one of the easiest TVs to use. Available on all Panasonic TVs for 2012, but barely mentioned or reviewed anywhere thus far, is Voice Guidance.

Designed primarily for blind and partially sighted people, though of great use to those with technophobia (does anyone still like techno?) or others struggling to understand modern TVs' increasingly complex features, Voice Guidance can be toggled on and off in the TX-L42DT50B's Sound menus.

Press Guide and the TV hoots before launching into what can be a quite lengthy female voiced explanation: "TV guide, today, 3, ITV1, The Jeremy Kyle Show, 09:25-10:30, press OK to select" is extended quite drastically if you engage 'Beginner' mode; "Use left or right to select programme, USE up or down to change channel, press green to advance 24 hours or red for previous 24 hours, future programmes will be added to the timer programming list, current programmes will provide an option to view, press yellow to list current channels by genre, press blue to list channels by category, press exit to leave and return to TV". Woah there!

If that's all a bit of a mouthful, it does add clarity, and serves as a reminder of how utterly nonsensical TVs can be to many viewers, though we're sure most users of Voice Guidance will be using the more concise 'Expert' mode within a few hours.

Although the support for the digital EPG is quite an achievement, Voice Guidance doesn't stretch to the TV's main user interface or the media player functions; press 'menu' on the remote and you'll only get an utterance along the lines of 'Voice Guidance not supported. Press exit to view'. Still, many functions are covered, including volume and the input list - and we've seen the latter fox many a fully sighted user.

Although it does issue system instructions such as 'software update available' and even 'USB drive detected', the TX-L42DT50B's core picture/sound/settings menus of the TV aren't supported by Voice Guidance.

Nor is VIERA Connect, though at least that remains the easiest to use of all the smart TV platforms around. The limit of seven over-size icons per page is perhaps its bravest, and best design principle since it helps avoid VIERA Connect feeling overcrowded. Still, it is worth spending some time customising to get your most often used apps onto the front page, because scrolling between panels is a bit long-winded.

The TV's central user interface as a whole isn't bad, though we're still wondering why the gesture-based, and incredibly easy to use operating system used on Panasonic's new Blu-ray players isn't employed yet on its TVs. Perhaps it's waiting in line for next year.

Sound

Despite its slim build the TX-L42DT50B somehow manages decent sonics. The array here, called V-Audio Pro Surround 2.1, comprises two lots of eight speakers on the front backed-up by a small subwoofer.

Neither V-Audio, V-Audio Surround nor V-Audio ProSurround have any effect in terms of rear effects, and are difficult to compare since they all keep dialogue central and clear, and generally impress. Detail is handled well, with an obvious emphasis on the treble part of the mix, though there's enough low frequency to make music at least listenable (when in 'Music' mode - it sounds clipped elsewhere).

Perhaps it's the strong treble skill that has the side-effect of making dialogue on a BBC iPlayer stream - in this case Formula 1 highlights - seem almost robotic.

Value

There's no doubt that this is an expensive TV that looks the part and has the features to match, with one exception. Without any 3D glasses in the box a lot of users won't take advantage of the TX-L42DT50B's excellent 3D images, which is a massive shame, and leaves it looking a little overpriced.

For some that impression will be backed-up by the lack of the likes of Lovefilm and other on-demand services on VIERA Connect, but personally we're more than happy with the platform.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4), DVB-S2
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Product FamilyViera
3D Type3D
EU Energy LabelA+
Smart TVYes
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Memory Card ReaderYes
EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Analog TunerPAL
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)14.50 kg
Backlight TechnologyLED
Operating Power Consumption116 W
Standby Power Consumption200 mW
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
VGAYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand615 mm
Width with Stand958 mm
Depth with Stand258 mm
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Number of USB Ports3
3D TechnologyShutter
3D ConversionYes
Energy Consumption per Year78 kWh
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
3D Glasses RequiredYes
Enhanced Refresh Rate1.60 kHz
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height569 mm
Width958 mm
Depth27 mm
Sound SystemVirtual Surround, DTS, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesWeb Browser, Teletext, In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology, Picture and Text (PAT)
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelTX-L42DT50
Product NameTX-L42DT50B 42" Smart Viera LED TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTX-L42DT50B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

42" Smart VIERA LED TV - Full HD 3D LED panel, Internet Browser and Wi-Fi Built-in (Energy Efficiency Class A+)

The display alternately shows images for the left and right eyes. The left and right lenses of the eyewear open and close in sync with this display timing to show separate images to the left and right eyes. By repeating this action at high speed, the brain perceives 3D images. And because this method displays FULL HD 3D images just as they are, both eyes receive 3D images in high, full-HD quality.

In addition to increasing the generated frames from 50 to 200 frames per second, backlight control has evolved through area splitting. The backlight's fine blinking reduces afterimages, to produce smooth, fast movements without blurring. Sports scenes, action scenes and other fast-motion images are crisp and clear.

Package Contents
  • TX-L42DT50B 42" Smart Viera LED TV
  • Remote Control
SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)11 kg