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Panasonic TX-L42D25B review

LED back-lighting give Panasonic the edge, but there are plenty more features to its first LED model

Our Verdict

For

  • Excellent pictures, including SD
  • Well-featured
  • Excellent wide-angle viewing

Against

  • Disappointing sound
  • Local (not networked) MP3 playback

Panasonic is currently the king of plasma TV. So much so, that its LCD screens often get overlooked. Now, though, it's joined the LED market, with a range of TVs from 19-42in. This set, the TXL42D25B, is the biggest in its arsenal.

Is it good enough to challenge the LED lineups of Samsung, Sony et al?

Distinguishing features

The advantages of LED of CCFL are now well-known, and include energy efficiency, thin screens, improved brightness, and wider colour gamuts. But there's more to a good HDTV than how it's lit, and thankfully Panasonic hasn't eschewed other technology.

The TX-L42D25B features the latest version of a technology called In-Plane Switching (IPS). This produces a wider viewing-angle and addresses one of LCD's traditional bugbears.

The TV is also capable of playing a variety of media types, including JPEG photos, MP3 music and DivX/ MPEG/AVC-HD video formats. Multimedia alternatives to USB are present in the form of an SD card slot and networked playback. The latter gives you a choice of any DLNA-compliant media servers that may be on your home network and is one of the brand's Viera Tools.

On top of this is VieraCast, Panasonic's on-line entertainment and information portal. This enables access to on-demand video clips from the likes of Eurosport and YouTube. Skype is also supported, and if you buy Panasonic's optional USB camera, video phoning becomes an option. Networking is wired, although a wireless 'dongle' is available optionally, but I'd prefer to see the function built into the set.

The TX-L42D25B is also one of the UK's only TVs to boast no fewer than three types of TV tuner. One current trend that hasn't made it into the screen, though, is native 3D support. As far as Panasonic is currently concerned, 3D is suited to its plasma panels.

A way with hues

Up and running, the Panasonic's colour reproduction stands out – whether the green grass on a football pitch or the red blood in Ninja Assassin. I viewed both of these in HD – Freeview for the football, and Blu-ray for the movie – but the chromatic capabilities also extend to SD DVDs.

The latter cannot, of course, hope to get close to HD's detail, which is simply sublime, but the screen's upscaling acquits itself well. It's just a pity that none of the TX-L42D25B's armoury of electro-trickery can tame the feathery artefacts that spoil a fair few standard-def digital broadcasts.

Panasonic tx l42d25b

Contrast ratios and black levels were commendably good, especially after calibration. Of the picture tweaks on offer, 'intelligent frame creation' had a remarkable effect, especially with 60Hz film-derived video such as Region 1 DVDs. The judder disappears to the extent that the result could almost pass for genuine 1080p24.

The splendid images are let down by a gutless sound system that's suited only to uncritical viewing. For movies and music, add on an audio system via the rear-panel analogue and digital audio outputs.

As a first foray into LED tech goes, the TX-L42D25B impresses – it's definitely the best LCD screen I've yet seen from Panasonic. Well worth auditioning if you're looking for a new 42in set.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-S2, DVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Number of SCART Interfaces2
Product FamilyViera D25
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Analog TunerPAL
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)21.50 kg
Backlight TechnologyDirect LED
Operating Power Consumption152 W
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
Dynamic Contrast Ratio2,000,000:1
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
VGAYes
S-VideoYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand697 mm
Width with Stand1032 mm
Depth with Stand329 mm
Number of Common Interface1
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
Height655 mm
Width1032 mm
Depth39 mm
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus
Product SeriesD25
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesPicture and Text (PAT), Child Lock, Sleep Timer, Teletext
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelTX-L42D25B
Product NameViera TX-L42D25B 42" LED-LCD TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTXL42D25BA
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

The D25 Series includes a DVB-S tuner for Freesat HD and a DVB-T2 tuner for Freeview HD providing you with a convenient, subscription free way of watching HD contents like sport, as well as your favourite soaps, dramas and documentaries in full HD glory wherever you are in the UK.

SpeakersYes
Weight (Approximate)18.50 kg