The TV we’re reviewing today is actually quite a watershed moment. For despite being 42in across and sporting the Panasonic brand, the L42D25B doesn’t use plasma technology. Instead, Panasonic has caved in to public demand - well, that’s our take on it, anyway! - and for the first time released a TV bigger than 37in that uses LCD technology. Or edge-LED LCD technology to be more precise.
Given what a huge part plasma plays in Panasonic’s AV strategy, we can really imagine the tortured meetings at Panasonic HQ as people discussed the pros and cons of finally publicly acknowledging that maybe, just maybe, there really is a place in the AV firmament for big-screen LCD tech.
We can also imagine that Panasonic is on tenterhooks to find out how its big TV gamble actually shapes up when put through its paces by the likes of TrustedReviews. So let’s get on with finding out!
The L42D25B is thankfully rather more attractive than the vast majority of Panasonic’s rather dour plasma TVs. First, its bezel is coloured in a rather fetching, high-gloss grey rather than the usual black. Second, the bezel employs a gentle two-layer effect that looks quite stylish in the flesh rather than overcomplicated as it maybe sounds on paper.
Finally, the TV is unusually slim by Panasonic standards. The main panel is just 39mm deep, in fact - a clear product of its edge LED lighting system. Though unfortunately Panasonic’s apparent inability to shrink its overall electronic design means the full TV depth sneaks up to a rather less elegant 77mm in places.
The L42D25B’s connections are pretty comprehensive, and even include one unique feature - or at least it’s unique to Panasonic this year. That jack is an LNB connection, there because the L42D25B is another of Panasonic’s TVs with a Freesat HD tuner built in.
Not that you have to have a satellite dish to get HD broadcasts on the L42D25B, mind you. For it also enjoys a Freeview HD tuner if you’re in a suitable reception area.
As with any TV boasting an HD tuner in the UK, the L42D25B sports an Ethernet port for accessing potential future Freeview HD/Freesat HD interactive services (probably a version of the BBC iPlayer initially). But of more immediate interest are the Ethernet’s other two uses: as a means of accessing files from a DLNA PC, and as your gateway to Panasonic’s Viera Cast online platform.
We’ve covered this online service in numerous recent reviews and articles - in particular we refer you to our recent feature comparing all the different online systems. So today we’ll just say that while Viera Cast isn’t as content-rich as the online efforts of Sony and Samsung, its interface is excellent, and the likelihood of good new services being added in the future is high.