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Panasonic TX-P42VT20B review

Panasonic's most advanced 42-inch screen yet brings full HD 3D to the plasma party

Our Verdict

For

  • Excellent overall picture quality
  • Bursting with cutting-edge features
  • Wireless networking made easy
  • Generally easy to use

Against

  • Expensive
  • Engaging 3D is a faff
  • Outmoded design
  • Annoying EPG
  • IFC side-effects

Panasonic tx-p42vt20 4

As flatscreen TVs go, the P42VT20, has pretty decent audio but despite the built-in subwoofer low frequencies don't have much more impact than the G20 models, which only have two speakers.

Dialogue comes through clearly even against noisy backgrounds but unsurprisingly, distortion at higher volumes make the use of a separate audio system mandatory when watching broadcast drama or HDMI sources.

Value

The non-3D version of this screen, the P42V20, sells for around £1,000 and you'll have to pay about £1,800 for the P42VT20. It may come out of Panasonic's top drawer for specs but that's a hefty premium for an extra dimension and one or two minor improvements. And with Samsung's 40C7000 going for £1,000 and Sony's Bravia KDL-40HX803 around £1,300 this Panasonic screen looks uncompetitive.

Ease of use

The hallmark of any well-designed TV is that you should be able to navigate its menu system with the greatest of ease and with minimal reference to the instruction manual. Panasonic only partially succeeds. There are three main menu options – picture, sound and setup – and the menu structure curiously locates some of the picture adjustment options in the set-up folder and some in the picture folder.

The remote control feels good in the hand and has decent sized and responsive buttons but is curiously laid out in places. Still, we've seen much worse.

The aforementioned propensity to change function names extends to removing some from certain menus when different picture modes are engaged. Confusing and sometimes a tad annoying.
Watching 3D – and switching back to 2D – should be as simple as possible. Not so with the P42VT20B. You have to get the specs ready and switched on, delve into the setup menu to access the 3D settings, select 3D display, scroll and select side-by-side or frame sequential, exit, enter the picture settings and change the mode to Dynamic.

There's no quick or simple way to switch back to a 2D channel and sometimes the Sky box doesn't respond to the remote control when the TV is in 3D mode. You also need to close the curtains if it's daytime as the specs strobe like mad in bright ambient light. Even with the lights down low there's still light pollution between the lens and the eye socket.

Otherwise, the P42VT20 is easy enough to operate although the menu system, like the EPGs, looks sadly dated.

Tech Specs

Product TypePlasma TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-S2, DVB-T (MPEG4)
Analog TunerPAL
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Number of SCART Interfaces2
Product FamilyViera
3D Type3D
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
EthernetYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)24 kg
Operating Power Consumption350 W
Standby Power Consumption400 mW
Dynamic Contrast Ratio5,000,000:1
RMS Output Power30 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
VGAYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand695 mm
Width with Stand1035 mm
Depth with Stand308 mm
Number of Common Interface1
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Teletext Memory1500
3D ConversionYes
USB RecordingYes
Motion Interpolation TechnologyIntelligent Frame Creation Pro
Enhanced Refresh Rate600 Hz
Height656 mm
Width1035 mm
Depth85 mm
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus, Virtual Surround Sound
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Colour Depth68.7 Billion Colors (12-bit)
FeaturesMedia Player, PC Streaming, Picture and Picture (PAP), Picture and Text (PAT), Child Lock, Sleep Timer, Web Content Access, Teletext
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelTX-P42VT20B
Product NameViera TX-P42VT20B Plasma TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTXP42VT20B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

FULL HD 3D makes you feel as if you'd stepped out of your living room and into the world on the screen. The viewing experience has never been so lifelike and compelling. The technology in which the left-eye and right-eye 3D images are sent to the viewer is the key to 3D image quality. For this, FULL HD 3D uses something called the Frame Sequential technology. A separate high quality image is sent to each eye. This addresses the image quality problems and blurring that were common to previous 3D systems, and creates sharp, crisp 3D images.

Package Contents
  • Viera TX-P42VT20B Plasma TV
  • 2 x Pairs of 3D Eyewear
SpeakersYes
Weight (Approximate)21 kg