Despite the fact that I would expect anyone buying a TV like this to have a full surround sound system, the speakers in the TH-42PZ700B do give a good account of themselves. With surround switched off the sound is solid, with enough low frequency talents to give big explosions suitable gravitas. You also have the option of selecting both Simulated Surround and SRS TruSurround XT, both of which provide a convincingly wider soundstage, but are obviously still no substitute for a real multi-speaker system. On the whole though, as far as built-in speakers go, the TH-42PZ700B is up there with the best.
Considering how much R&D must have gone into this TV, it comes as no surprise that it’s not the cheapest 42in HDTV on the market. With a street price of £1,767 including VAT, it’s over twice the price of Toshiba’s 42X3030D, but then the picture quality is, quite simply, on another level. Whether you think the Panasonic is worth the money depends on your budget and how discerning you are when it comes to picture quality.
Panasonic has created something very special with the TH-42PZ700B. Not only is this the first 42in plasma TV to sport a 1,920 x 1,080 panel, but it also exhibits superior picture quality to any 42in HDTV I’ve seen. Feed this screen high quality, high definition sources and I guarantee you’ll be blown away, but arguably even more impressive is how well it handles low quality SD signals.
It’s a shame that the TH-42PZ700B doesn’t support 1080p 24, or in fact 1080p at all over component video, but even that can’t spoil what is a truly stunning high definition TV. Yes it’s a lot more expensive than a 42in 1080p LCD TV, but if you can afford the extra cash, you definitely won’t be disappointed.