Don't be put off by the lack of glamour exhibited by the P42ST60's exterior: inside beats a home cinema heart of gold.
Brilliantly cinematic picture quality
Friendly smart TV interface
Wide viewing angle
Lacks video streaming services
Design is rather lacklustre
Only 3 HDMIs
Doesn't like bright environments
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So plasma TVs are no more – at least so far as their biggest supporter, Panasonic, is concerned.
To be fair, LG has said it will keep making plasma TVs as long as there are people who want to buy them, and Samsung has not yet declared that it's following Panasonic out of the plasma market.
But for many AV fans, Panasonic simply WAS plasma TV, so the brand's decision to focus on LCD for the immediate future really is the death knell of the movie fan's flat TV technology of choice (at least until OLED becomes mainstream).
The good news is that the brand's plasma TVs are still available at the time of writing. So if you want one, now's the time to buy.
And as plasma TVs go this year, few seem more all-round 'buyable' than Panasonic's 42-inch P42ST60.
For starters, the P42ST60 is pretty affordable for a mid-range plasma TV, setting you back less than £750. It's also well-featured, boasting one of Panasonic's 3D-capable NeoPlasma 2500 panel designs;
Panasonic's latest smart TV system, complete with both online access and DLNA file streaming; and the brand's excellent My Home Screen interface.
Plus, of course, you'll hopefully get the outstanding contrast and motion picture traits that are plasma TV's trademark.
Alongside the P42ST60 in Panasonic's current plasma range are 50-inch and 55-inch models, the P50ST60 and P55ST60 respectively.
Or, if you really want to celebrate plasma's passing in style, you could step up to the GT60 series (42-inch P42GT60 and 50-inch P50GT60) with its slightly superior (in terms of contrast and colour handling) panel design, or even the gorgeous VT65 range, as represented by the P50VT65, P55VT65 and P65VT65.
Plus there's always Panasonic's ultimate 'blaze of glory', the 60-inch P60ZT65, which produces simply the best plasma TV pictures ever seen – so long as you've got £3,200 to spend.
So far as rivals are concerned, both LG and Samsung have alternative plasmas in their TV ranges, with Samsung's PS6500 series being the closest in spec to the ST60 models. But our hope is that the P42ST60 on our test benches today will prove the one to beat.
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.