When we reviewed Panasonic’s current 32in LCD TV a few days ago, we made the point that Panasonic is one of a dwindling number of companies still sticking to the mantra that while LCD is all well and good for small TVs, plasma is where it’s at for anything big. So we figured we really ought to find out if Panasonic actually has the plasma product to back up its anti-LCD stance.
The 42in Viera TH-42PX60B represents Panasonic’s very latest plasma range – the company’s 9th generation of plasma technology, in fact. But there’s no sign that Panasonic is running out of ideas for, as we’ll discover, the 42PX60 is actually packed to the gunnels with new tricks.
We must start, however, with a backwards step by the 42PX60B. For while it’s by no means ugly, it doesn’t look nearly as attractive as previous Panasonic Viera plasmas as a result of swapping its predecessor’s trademark glossy black screen frame for a much less distinctive plasticky grey. The TV still cuts a great shape if placed on its slenderness-emphasising cabinet, but it’s definitely lost a little glamour.
Connectivity gets things moving back in the right direction by including two HDMI sockets, meaning you can simultaneously attach two next-generation sources – say a Sky high definition receiver and an HD DVD player.
As required by the industry’s HD Ready specifications, the 42PX60B also sports component video inputs for analogue HD sources like the Xbox 360. Plus you get three Scarts, a PC socket, and all the other more basic stuff you’d expect from any self-respecting TV.
As well as being HD Ready, the 42PX60B ticks that other ‘box du jour’ by carrying a built-in digital tuner. And as we’d expect in this day and age, supporting that digital tuner is provision for the full Freeview 7-day electronic programme guide, right down to letting you set timer events simply by selecting them from the listings. The information in the guide is unusually well presented too.