Connection wise, Panasonic has pushed the boat out with this TV. Kicking things off are three HDMI 1.3 ports – not only will you be able to hook up more high definition kit than with most other 42in TVs, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of high bit depth, Deep Colour content once discs appear that support this feature of course. There’s also a component video input for analogue HD sources like an Xbox 360, as well as D-SUB port for hooking up a PC. You also get three Scart sockets (two RGB), analogue audio in for the component video and D-SUB connections and analogue audio out. There’s also optical digital audio out, allowing you to pass through the digital audio from the HDMI inputs to a suitable external amp or processor.
At the front of the TV below the screen is a flap that hides even more connection options. Here you’ll find one of the three HDMI ports, conveniently placed for anyone with a high definition camcorder. Also under the flap is an S-Video input, composite video input and analogue audio inputs. Finally there’s a 3.5mm headphone socket, just in case you want to turn the sound up without disturbing the rest of the household. The only other connection is a CI slot for adding subscription channels to the built-in digital tuner.
Also at the front is another small flap that hides an SD card slot, which also accepts SDHC cards. You can show slideshows of digital still images from an SD card, while also streaming video in both MPEG-2 and AVC-HD formats. Interestingly you can only read from SD cards, unlike the Panasonic TH-37PX600 which could record TV to the SD card as well.
With its Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 panel, this TV looks like the perfect plasma solution for anyone with a normal sized living room. But Panasonic hasn’t quite ticked all the boxes that I would have hoped with the TH-42PZ700B. This TV will, of course, accept a 1080p signal, but strangely it will only accept 1080p 50 and 60, with 1080p 24 completely off the menu. This decision is all the more bizarre when you consider that Panasonic’s PT-AE1000E projector will happily accept a 1080p 24 signal. Another rather odd quirk is the fact that TH-42PZ700B won’t accept a 1080p signal through its component video input – for some reason component video maxes out at 1080i.