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Panasonic TX-P42X50B review

By making the mediocre look marvelous, this great value HD-ready TV makes a compelling argument for plasma

Our Verdict

For

  • Unbeatable value
  • File support via USB
  • SDXC Card slot
  • 2D Blu-ray quality
  • Versatile pictures

Against

  • Two HDMI
  • No smart TV apps
  • Lacks brightness
  • Limited shelf-life

Does everybody need a Full HD TV?

Blu-ray discs demand a 1920x1080 pixel resolution, but for anyone without a Blu-ray player – and no plans to get one anytime soon – spending out on resolution that you won't use is a waste of money.

Step forward this deliciously dependable 42-inch HD-ready plasma. It may have a list price of almost £600, but we've seen the TX-P42X50B selling for under £400 online – and that makes this one of the bargain TVs of 2012.

Why do we dare to make such a pronouncement about an HD-ready TV? In truth we've had our eye on Panasonic's more basic plasmas for some years, and this is merely the latest in a very long line of plasma TVs that treat both dodgy and high-quality sources seemingly equally.

Panasonic TX P42X50B review

That makes it ideal for this in-between age of TV where Freeview HD only contains four hi-def channels, and all are broadcast in 720p quality.

Most games played on the Xbox 360 or PS3 are rendered in 720p quality, too, or upscaled – at least for now – making the TX-P42X50B technically absolutely fine for most households.

As adept with DVD as any TV we've seen this year, the major downsides of the TX-P42X50B for movie fans will be both its lack of Full HD resolution for Blu-ray discs, and the absence of any streaming movie apps.

Panasonic TX P42X50B review

VIERA Connect is missing from the TX-P42X50B, but you'll do well to find any smart-ness on TVs under the £600 mark.

However, it's not like the TX-P42X50B is living completely in the dark ages; digital media can be played from a USB stick as well as from an SDXC Card – and this is one of the few TVs around sporting the latter.

That's a bit of a boon for photographers, though arguably anyone seriously into imaging should head for a Full HD set.

A possible drawback for some will be the TX-P42X50B's drab styling. Though perfectly acceptable just a few years ago, its combination of a 61.5cm depth (and a little more if you count the speakers that protrude out of the rear), 32mm-wide black plastic bezel and generally industrial gloss black design won't suit everyone.

Also available

While the Panasonic TX-P42X50B is joined in the X50 Series by the 50-inch Panasonic TX-P50X50B, these two plasmas comprise the Japanese brand's only two HD-ready plasmas – and also the only two that aren't 3D-ready.

On the next rung up the VIERA ladder is the 42-inch Panasonic TX-P42UT50B (£600), which is something of an upgrade: it's adorned by 1080p Full HD resolution, VIERA Connect smart TV apps and active shutter 3D.

Other 42-inch plasmas in the stable include the Panasonic TX-P42ST50 and Panasonic TX-P42GT50, both of which sport Full HD resolutions and contrast-boosting filters, though Edge LED TVs are also available.

Consider the 42-inch Panasonic TX-L42ET5B, a polarised 'passive' 3DTV that includes a stunning four pairs of 3D glasess as well as VEIRA Connect apps, or the active shutter alternative, the Panasonic TX-L42ET50B.

Meanwhile, the step-up 42-inch Panasonic TX-L42DT50B and high-end, dual-core-processor laden Panasonic TX-L42WT50B impress, though both cost considerably more than this plasma.

Tech Specs

Product TypePlasma TV
Scan Format720p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Analog TunerPAL
Video Signal StandardHDTV
Number of HDMI Ports2
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyViera X50
EU Energy LabelB
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Memory Card ReaderYes
EthernetYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)17.50 kg
Operating Power Consumption150 W
Standby Power Consumption400 mW
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand657 mm
Width with Stand1007 mm
Depth with Stand231 mm
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Teletext Memory1000
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Number of USB Ports1
Energy Consumption per Year139 kWh
Enhanced Refresh Rate600 Hz
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height615 mm
Width1007 mm
Depth81 mm
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus, Virtual Surround Sound, DTS
Product SeriesX50
Maximum Resolution1024 x 768
FeaturesMedia Player, Picture and Text (PAT), Teletext, PC Streaming, Web Content Access
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelTX-P42X50B
Product NameTX-P42X50B 42" Viera Plasma TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTX-P42X50B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

42" VIERA Plasma TV - An HD Round Performer with a Large Screen
600Hz technology lets you view superb motion images. For even greater clarity with motion images, Panasonic uses its own unique image-analysis technology. This technology converts the motion in each scene into data. And each frame is practically displayed for a shorter length of time than in previous systems, to reduce aftereffects. When using Cinema mode.

SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)16 kg