Panasonic Viera TX-P42ST50B

Blog Aug 21, 2012

  Panasonic Viera TX-P42ST50B£ ★★★★  PICTURE QUALITY ★★★★★  EASE OF USE ★★★★★  VALUE FOR MONEY ★★★★★



Panasonic Viera TX-P42ST50B


The TX-P42ST50B is in the middle of Panasonic’s range of plasma TVs, but includes most of the high-end features and excellent image quality we expect from this type of TV.

It has superb contrast, which is achieved by plasma’s ability to control the light in each pixel. Its dark scenes are as good as you’ll see on any TV and pictures are astoundingly detailed. In Casino Royale’s opening chase scene, for example, which is set in a beach-front building site, the shots of the sea look amazing, thanks to the pin-point reflections in the choppy water.

Standard-definition pictures, like those from non-HD Freeview channels, are processed by the TV’s noise-reduction technology, which removes the blocks of colour you can often see on standard digital pictures very effectively. 3D images, too, are excellent.

Panasonic’s choice of internet services is good, and the interface is easy to use. You get a preview screen in the centre with seven apps arranged around it, and a market at the bottom from which you can select more. Major services include Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Skype, Picasa, ShoutCast Radio, Facebook and Twitter.

The TV also has a media player that can play files from a USB drive, SD card or over a network. It isn’t fussy about which USB port you use and it plays a wide variety of files, though not DivX HD video.

You can also plug a flash drive into the first USB port (marked HDD) to record, pause and resume live TV. Unfortunately this requires a drive bigger than 16GB, so you can’t use those smaller spare USB drives you probably have lying about.

We reviewed the 42in model, but it’s also available in 50in, 55in and 65in screens.

At £849, the Panasonic TX-P42ST50B is superb value. It has great image quality and some clever image-processing tricks that improve picture quality, even as it’s playing them. Its internet services are comprehensive and easy to use, and its media-playing tools are excellent, too. Its relatively small 42in size is one of the factors keeping its price reasonable, but it hasn’t compromised on quality or many other features to get there.