Panasonic TX-L42ET5B review

It's passive 3D, it's LCD, but it's still Panasonic

Panasonic TX-L42ET5B
Panasonic's first passive 3D TV is a big slice of humble pie, but one with rather good picture quality

TechRadar Verdict


  • +

    Engaging 3D pictures

  • +

    Some good online features

  • +

    Pretty design

  • +

    Good HD pictures


  • -

    Average standard def pictures

  • -

    Not full resolution 3D

  • -

    More online content wanted

  • -

    Limited 3D viewing angle

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As arguably the biggest driving force behind full HD, 'active' 3D technology, you can understand why Panasonic has been so vocal with its attacks on LG's passive 3D alternative.

Why on earth, has argued Panasonic, would anyone want to buy a full HD TV only to then watch 3D on it at a reduced resolution?

So it's fair to say Panasonic's TX-L42ET5 comes as something of a shock. For the fact that it ships with no less than four pairs of cheapo, unpowered 3D glasses immediately alerts us to the fact that it's a passive 3D TV rather than the expected active one.

You couldn't really get a better barometer of just how much impact LG's passive 3D technology has had in the year since its launch.

That said, while Panasonic's brave/humbling (depending on your point of view) 3D move with the L42ET5 is certainly very significant, it must be said that the ET5 series is the only passive 3D TV series in Panasonic's expansive 2012 range, sitting alongside no less than seven active 3D TV series.

Furthermore, Panasonic has the ET5s positioned very much as its entry-level 3D LCD solutions. In fact, part of the reason Panasonic has turned to passive at this level of its range is the realisation that it's very hard to get a decent active 3D performance out of a cheap LCD panel.

The addition of a passive TV to its range is also, though, surely a recognition - however begrudging - of the convenience and affordability of the passive 3D experience. So from a consumer's point of view, being able to get Panasonic technology and operating systems married to passive as well as active 3D solutions seems like a very welcome expansion of choice from the Japanese brand.

Come to think of it, it might actually be nice if LG got off its passive 3D high horse for a bit and started to offer a few active 3D TVs among its LCD range as well!

The L42ET5's passive 3D 'headliner' is joined by the latest generation of Panasonic's Viera Connect online service, backed up by integrated Wi-Fi.

Joining the TX-L42ET5 are the 32-inch TX-L32ET5, the 37-inch TX-L37ET5, the 47-inch TX-L47ET5 and the 55-inch TX-L55ET5, while Panasonic's active 3D LCD options start with the rather similarly named ET50 series. These look set to cost around £200 more for each equivalent screen. But we'll be looking at those another day. For now it's time to find out just how good a job - or otherwise - Panasonic has made of its passive 3D debut.

John Archer
AV Technology Contributor

John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.