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Panasonic Viera TX-P42VT30 review

John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic Viera TX-P42VT30 - head on


Our Score


User Score


  • Mesmerisingly good performance standards
  • Practically no crosstalk with 3D
  • Huge feature count


  • It’s not cheap for a 42in TV
  • Optimised pictures not spectacularly bright
  • Some judder with 50Hz PAL

Review Price £1,429.00

Key Features: 42in plasma screen; Active 3D built in, including two pairs of free glasses; Viera Connect online functionality; NeoPlasma technology with extra contrast filter; Extensive multimedia support, including DivX HD

Manufacturer: Panasonic

Panasonic’s new plasma range has already caused a stir here at TrustedReviews with the terrific mid-range 50in P50GT30. So it’s fair to say we’re pretty excited by the arrival of the P42VT30, since the VT part of its name means it belongs to Panasonic’s new flagship plasma range, and so will hopefully turn out even better than its cheaper sibling.

First impressions are good, as heaving the P42VT30 out of its box reveals that it’s extremely well built by today’s standards, weighing a ton and feeling like it’s been hewn from a single block of metal before having a big glassy top-sheet slapped across its front.

The top sheet runs over both the screen and the bezel, meaning Panasonic has finally delivered one of those ‘one-layer’ fascias that seem so fashionable these days.

Panasonic Viera TX-P42VT30 - head on

Behind the P42VT30‘s slinky exterior lies Panasonic’s NeoPlasma technology. We covered this during our P50GT30 review, so we won’t go over the same ground in detail again. All we’ll say here, briefly, is that NeoPlasma TVs use a new, faster-responding phosphor material; slimmer ribbing between plasma cells to boost brightness and efficiency; a reduced plasma discharge level; and a new 'louver' filter to reduce ambient reflections and boost image brightness.

There is one extra element to mention given that we’re looking at the P42VT30 instead of the P50GT30, though: the marvellously named Fishbone ITO. Only used on models smaller than 50in, the Fishbone ITO is a new design for the structure of the electrodes used to address each plasma cell. The ITO bit stands for indium-tin-oxide, which provides a highly transparent electrically conductive surface when attached to a glass substrate.

Before going any further, it’s probably worth detailing the ways in which the VT30 series differs from the GT30s. The most potentially significant difference is the inclusion in the VT30s of an extra high contrast filter. Given how outstanding the contrast of the GT30 models was, the prospect of what this extra VT30 filter might do is mouth-watering.

Panasonic Viera TX-P42VT30 - bezel detail

The VT30 models also ship with Panasonic’s Wi-Fi USB dongle included rather than just available as an optional extra. Even better, the VT30 models come with two pairs of Panasonic’s active shutter glasses included as standard, whereas the GT30 series ship with none.

This is a big deal considering that these active shutter glasses cost around £100 each, and goes a long way in itself to explaining the P42VT30’s price hike over the GT30 series.

The VT30 series should also sound better, as it enjoys a new speaker configuration comprising front-firing dual-range stereo speakers and a boxed bass woofer on the panel’s rear.

Finally, where differences are concerned, you can record to SD card or USB HDDs on the VT30 models, whereas with the GT30s you could only record to USB HDD.

Other key P42VT30 specs include a full HD resolution (Panasonic remains the only brand offering full HD on 42in plasma screens); Panasonic’s 600Hz ‘sub-field drive’ system and Intelligent Frame Creation motion processing; endorsement by both THX and the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF); and an unprecedented (for Panasonic) degree of set up flexibility. This includes white balance, gamma and colour management tools, including control over the secondary colours (cyan, magenta and yellow) that you don’t get with the GT30s.

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April 29, 2011, 6:48 pm

"weighing a ton and feeling like it's been hewn from a single block of metal" You sure there wasn't a concrete block inside like in the washing machines?

I think value for money score should've been 7/10.

It seems Pani's starting to over-price its wares of late. Just as well Samsung's (Samsung UE46D7000, value=9/10 or Samsung LE46C750 for £699!!!) and LG are starting to offer just as good picture quality but for a lot less.


April 29, 2011, 9:14 pm

I am realy sorry but "If you switch the set to its Dynamic mode and ramp up the brightness a few notches from its preset level, moreover, you can also get a reasonably punchy picture by 3D plasma standards. With any of the other video picture presets dark colours tend to mutate into black, and shadow details are crushed into oblivion, making us think it would have made sense for Panasonic to have provided a dedicated 3D picture preset. Maybe next time.
That is some of the worst advice i have read...........


April 29, 2011, 9:27 pm

You can not be serious mate " Switch to Dynamic and Ramp up brightness ".


April 30, 2011, 4:34 am

tele1962: We understand that you disagree with that particular bit of advice. Would you care to expand on your comments? What horrible fate will befall users who switch to Dynamic mode and increase the brightness?


April 30, 2011, 6:27 pm

@tele1962: I think the point is that the 3D glasses reduce perceived brightness, obliterate shadow detail and wash out the colours, much like wearing sunglasses would do. Under normal circumstances, I don't think anyone would recommend using dynamic mode and upping the brightness unless they actually like the retina-searing overblown colours you see on a shop demo set.


May 1, 2011, 6:39 am

I thought this TV was THX certified for both 2D and 3D? So wouldnt it make more sense to use the THX mode for 3D viewing so your seeing colours etc more like the directors wanted it to be seen than an over bright image that dynamic creates? Also I though dynamic gave poor gamma results that jumped all over the place.
Dont get me wrong I understand the glasses dull the image some but I thought the THX for 3D would counter this by slightly increasing the contrast and brightness and still give a great image with all the depth and detail and stable gamma and colours.


May 2, 2011, 10:40 pm

Incorrect picture something you don't want on a tv of this quality. Also Insanity 202 quite correct in saying there is a 3D THX setting on this TV. Most of the measurements reported up to now in 3D mode have been excellent.


May 3, 2011, 7:21 pm

Will you be reviewing the 65 inch version of this TV?


May 3, 2011, 7:37 pm

We certainly plan to.


May 3, 2011, 10:32 pm

@IbalM will you be buying one?!!!

The decline of the last remaining superpower continues with a little a help from expensive vendors like Pani:

"For the first time in nearly 20 years, the number of homes in the United States with television sets has dropped.

"The Nielsen Co., which takes TV set ownership into account when it produces ratings, will tell television networks and advertisers on Tuesday that 96.7 percent of American households now own sets, down from 98.9 percent previously.

"There are two reasons for the decline, according to Nielsen. One is poverty: Some low-income households no longer own TV sets, most likely because they cannot afford new digital sets and antennas."


May 3, 2011, 10:42 pm

Here's an interesting and less 'technical' explanation for the decline in US households with a tv set:

"...have you tried carrying a 50" plasma when someone's chasing you? No wonder laptops are more popular." by Richard, Barnsley


May 3, 2011, 11:53 pm

No Enigma, I don't. I'm not rich enough, but that doesn't stop me from reading reviews and dreaming.

Michael McG

May 5, 2011, 2:44 pm

i have this tv since last saturday and absolutely love it.. the shop took bak my vt20 and with a cash adjustment gave me a vt30.. its a lot better in most ways.. love the black level, the design, the lack of 'floating blacks' the lack of any buzzing from the set.. its just plain great.. yes its expensive and my retailer agreed its a hard sell when you can get a cheaper lcd for a 3rd of the price.. but for those who care about picture quality this is hard to beat..


May 5, 2011, 3:17 pm

Did you have a problem with the VT20 that prompted them to take it back?

Michael McG

May 5, 2011, 5:35 pm

Yes, my vt20 bugged the hell out of me with floating blacks and buzzing.. and to a lesser degree 50hz motion issues.. the vt30 has no floating blacks, doesnt buzz and is much better with 50 hz so a winner all round for me


May 5, 2011, 6:43 pm

Enigma: "The decline of the last remaining superpower continues with a little a help from expensive vendors like Pani..."...

... Seriously? What an odd claim. You seem to be suggesting that because poor people cannot afford an expensive Panasonic, therefore they are forced to go without any television at all. If fewer households in the US can afford to run ANY kind of television AT ALL, then it means their government needs to deal with the issue of dire poverty - not that Panasonic, Sony or whoever need to lower their prices!

As for your earlier post, yes Samsung and LG make cheaper alternatives. However this particular Panasonic is, quite simply, better in some key areas - especially in black levels, hence all the references to the Pioneer Kuro range. This is not a brand issue; you get what you pay for.

Louie Wilkinson

December 22, 2011, 10:07 am

This TV is worth every penny. From the moment it powers up it will bowl you over and amaze you. I bought the 42 in version. It didn't look that big in the shop, but when I got it home it was the perfect size. It's like having your own home cinema, only better. The one sheet of glass looks amazing. At under 5cm thick it's thinner than some paperback books that I have. Perfect for wall mounting. If you buy this TV make sure that you read the manual at least twice. All 132 pages of it. Even after doing this I still had to search YouTube for demonstrations. Make sure that your leads are connected to the right ports or your equipment won't work. It's essential that your HHD goes in USB slot marked HDD. Sounds simple right? Even the engineer that installed my TV got this wrong. Cable/Virgin, DVD players, everything has to go in a specific slot. I still haven't worked out how to record from anything but the TV tuner. Not even sure that you can. Timer recording is a pain as you can only record one episode of your favourite programme at a time. There is no series link in the TV guide at present. I hope Panasonic fix this sometime soon by way of download as it's driving me crazy. When you put your HD channel (I found BBC HD to be the best) on the TV you sit back and feel like you are actually there. You have to see it to believe it. Like 3D in the cinema? This is 100 times better. Do yourself a favour and go out and buy it. Now. But before you will buy it, I suggest you have to check for best deal at -> bestdealschecking.info/tx-p42v... Enjoy!

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