Panasonic TX-P42ST30B review

An ugly, yet affordable 3D plasma capable of delivering very impressive pictures

Panasonic TX-P42ST30B
An ugly plasma TV but one that produces good pictures at a decent price

TechRadar Verdict


  • +

    Effortlessly good 3D images

  • +

    Excellent 2D pics

  • +

    Viera Connect and multimedia capabilities

  • +

    Good build quality


  • -

    Ugly design

  • -

    Lacks a couple of vital manual tweaks

  • -

    Horrible Freeview EPG

  • -

    Picture tweaks buried in menu system

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The Infinite Black Pro-toting TX-P42ST30B is 2011's most affordable active 3D plasma screen. It has been shorn of one or two fancy features that Panasonic reckons the mass market won't feel deprived of, but is still crammed with the latest plasma technology, including faster-switching phosphors, reduced power consumption and a new screen filter.

The most immediate difference between the TX-P42ST30B and its superior stablemate, the TX-P42GT30B, is that visually this is clearly no catwalk queen with a 2-inch wide gunmetal grey plastic bezel, industrial-looking base and a grey-green screen that when switched off is reminiscent of an old-fashioned CRT.

Compared with its pricier sibling, also missing from the spec sheet are DLNA networking, a built-in Freesat tuner, USB HDD recording, colour management and THX/ISF calibration.

The even more expensive flagship TX-P42VT30B improves on both models by also offering 2.1 audio, a Wi-Fi dongle and two free pairs of 3D specs. Despite the TX-P42ST30B's 'affordable 3D' tag you're going to have to shell out a fair bit of dough for the specs.

As with the GT series, the ST is available with a 46-inch screen in the form of the TX-P46ST30B and as the TX-P50ST30B with a 50-inch screen. Only the VT series also comes in 55-inch and 60-inch sizes, which is just as well, because it's hard to imagine anyone wanting anything so dull-looking as the TX-P42ST30B in such a large screen size.