It's easy to get caught up in the Full HD hysteria and write off any HD Ready TV, but that would be a mistake. As I've often said, there's a hell of a lot more to a good HDTV than resolution. I'm not saying that having a Full HD pixel count isn't a compelling proposition for anyone looking to get the absolute best results from high definition sources like Blu-ray, but that doesn't mean that an HD Ready set isn't a worthy consideration for many consumers.
And that seems to be what Panasonic thinks, too, with its latest range of entry-level plasma TVs going down the HD Ready, rather than Full HD route. This particular range is available in three sizes - 37in, 42in and 50in - and it's the 42in TX-P42X10 that I'll be looking at today.
Even though Panasonic has been producing Full HD 42in TVs for some time, reducing the size of plasma chambers to that kind of level doesn't come cheap. Add to this the argument that the benefits of Full HD are more obviously realised on larger screen sizes, and it's clear that there's still scope for HD Ready plasma TVs. All that said, in these times of near ubiquitous Full HD resolutions in the LCD arena, an HD Ready plasma, even one as affordable as this one, has to be very good.
Does the TX-P42X10 measure up to the challenge? To a large extent it does, but there's no getting away from the fact that this TV has been built to a price. However, considering that you can already find the TX-P42X10 online for as little as £622 including VAT, you're getting quite a lot for that price.
Aesthetically, this isn't the best looking TV out there, or even the best looking set that Panasonic has made. That's not to say that it's ugly, but the somewhat common glossy black bezel and stand do little to differentiate the TX-P42X10 from the rest of the flat screen crowd. This TV sports an oval shaped base, rather than the square one seen on other Panasonic models, and for some reason I think that it spoils the overall look. Obviously that's completely subjective, and you may find that you like it.
The glossy bezel is pretty spartan apart from the centrally mounted Panasonic logo below the screen and a very subtle Viera tag at the top left. There's also a discrete and slim hardware power switch just below the logo, for anyone who's decided that leaving AV equipment on standby is destroying the planet, while still choosing to travel by air for their holiday! The other controls are mounted on the right hand edge of the TV, but it's unlikely that you'll ever touch these unless the remote control disappears down the back of the sofa.