Whatever else we might end up saying about the PS42Q97HDX, we certainly can’t accuse it of not making a helluva first impression. For starters there are its extravagantly glamorous looks, which combine to uber-classy effect a high-gloss, minimalist and unusually slender black bezel with a tasteful little silvery wedge section along the bottom edge.
Then there’s the small matter of its price ticket, which we’ve found as low as £699. That’s under £700 for a 42in plasma TV from a big-name brand that doesn’t look it’s made out of toilet rolls and sticky-back plastic. Amazing!
Keeping the good times rolling are the PS42Q97HDX’s connections, which incredibly include three HDMIs. That’s one more future-proofing digital connection than we’re used to seeing on 42in TVs costing twice as much. What’s more, a dedicated D-Sub PC input means you don’t have to sacrifice one of the HDMIs to computer use as you do with some rival sets, and there’s ample support from the usual component video/Scart/S-Video suspects.
A CI slot, meanwhile, immediately reveals the presence of a digital tuner, which turns out to be backed up by all the customary features such as a 7-day electronic programme guide and programme reminder setting.
As if all this wasn’t already pleasing enough for your measly £700, the HDMIs have one extra trick up their sleeve: CEC compatibility. This industry standard for allowing intercommunication between digitally connected devices means you can use the PS42Q97HDX’s remote to pretty much totally control any HDMI-connected source that also meets the CEC standards.
The only even slight bum-note we can detect at this stage of our investigations is the inability of the HDMIs to handle 1080p sources. But given the panel’s 1,024 x 768 native resolution, not being able to receive 1080p is arguably no great shakes anyway given how much it would have to be downscaled before being shown.