Panasonic TX-42AS500 review

A great smart TV for a very reasonable price

Panasonic TX-42AS500

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Though I wasn't expecting home cinema-grade images from the TX-42AS500, it provides an good all-round image.

The picture presets on the TX-42AS500 are useful; unless you're putting it in a very bright room, it's a straight choice between the cinema and true cinema settings, with the former being the least bright and with the most convincing contrast and black levels.

The ambient sensor is useful, too, slightly increasing the picture's brightness when it finds external light to bring out more detail, and vice versa.

Panasonic TX-42AS500

Stick with cinema mode when it comes to picture presets

Some action from Wimbledon on BBC One HD immediately shows-up the TX-42AS500's pros. Still images are highly detailed and plenty colourful, with skin tones accurate, and there's enough in terms of black levels to give colours boldness.

The players do tend to be less distinct as they rush around the picture, but it's highly watchable. However, switch to a live World Cup match on ITV One HD and as the camera pans there's a definite loss of resolution. Again there's no judder and it's not particularly uncomfortable to watch, but we're talking standard definition detail levels.

It's the same on the Blu-ray of Inside Llewyn Davis, where characters walking around are less detailed than still shots, which show plenty of detail. I also noticed a light 'black hole' approach to large areas of black, within which there's not much detail to be seen.

Panasonic TX-42AS500

If you don't want to use the presets you can adjust the settings yourself

My main concern about the TX-42AS500 is its treatment of Freeview HD channels. Programmes on BBC One HD and ITV 1 HD are clean and easy to watch, with great colours and contrast, but they just seem so soft and bereft of the extra detail those new channels bring. However, at least the motion blur and resulting loss of resolution isn't much of an issue here.

Standard definition channels fare worse, looking soft and containing a lot of picture noise. In fact, graphics suffer from muddled, ill-defined edges and lettering buzzes with mosquito noise.

Incidentally, having left the apps page on the screen for about five minutes, the bright white of the new Netflix logo remained for another five minutes after I'd left, suggesting some kind of minor image retention issue.

Lastly, the TX-42AS500's viewing angle is excellent, with contrast and colour not taking much of a hit at all when the TX-42AS500 is viewed from the flanks.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),