Panasonic TX-P42S30B review

If you can live with its limitations, this plasma is still a decent budget TV

Panasonic TX-P42S30B
A great budget plasma TV, although not one for those who like fancy features

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Panasonic tx-p42s30b

Sound quality

The P42S30 doesn't sound quite as rich and rounded as we'd hoped given that it's not exactly the slimmest TV in town. The soundstage becomes a little brittle when there's a loud action scene going on, thanks for the most part to a rather 'poppy' sounding bass line and a lack of real treble extension.
With normal TV fare, though, the set sounds just fine.


At the £800 level quoted on Panasonic's website, the P42S30 only rates as average value. But once you're talking about the £500 or so mark available elsewhere on the Internet, it actually becomes outstanding value if its particular picture traits suit your circumstances and viewing habits.

Ease of use

While the remote control shipped with the P42S30 doesn't benefit from the rather attractive restyling found on Panasonic's high-end TVs this year, it's still mostly a perfectly functional device. Most key buttons fall easily to hand, and it supports control of DVDs and - shudder - VCRs too.

The only significant issues with it are that the main menu button is relegated to a small button tucked unhelpfully in the top left corner right under the 'standby' button, while the button to access Viera Connect is actually labelled Viera Cast - the name given to last year's Panasonic online service.

The onscreen menus on the P42S30 are hardly cutting edge in terms of their presentation - although Panasonic has at least introduced some basic graphics to accompany the white text this year.

While they might not look very enticing, though, the P42S30's onscreen menus are pretty easy to find your way round for the most part, and are enhanced considerably by the presence of a new 'interactive onscreen instructions' system that tells you briefly but effectively what each function does when you highlight it in the TV's menus.

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.