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Panasonic Viera TX-P42VT30 - 3D Heroics And A Few Minor Niggles

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

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

Summary

Our Score:

9

More good news concerns the P42VT30’s 3D pictures. Once again, they prove Panasonic’s plasma advantage in terms of crosstalk, as 3D images show practically no sign of the tell-tale ghosting at all. This in turn allows the P42VT30 to do a superb job of reproducing the full HD detailing that’s so characteristic of the best active 3D pictures.

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.

Having lots of detail and no crosstalk with 3D pictures also helps the set produce a relatively untiring and convincing impression of extreme depth with good quality 3D sources.

Panasonic Viera TX-P42VT30 - angle left

The P42VT30’s 2D performance is perfectly acceptable, with good sharpness levels. But there’s a touch more noise than we’d ideally like to see, and with very low quality sources, the P42VT30 struggles slightly to retain the same degree of colour naturalism witnessed with higher quality images.

Overall, we’d say the P42VT30 does outperform the GT30 series, chiefly because of its class-leading black levels. However, we should add that the extra filter added to boost black levels does also seem to knock a touch of brightness out of the P42VT30’s pictures. With this in mind, if you’re looking for a TV to go into a room that’s prone to high ambient brightness levels, then you might actually be better off going for the GT30 series. The slightly reflective nature of the glass sheet across the VT30’s front underlines this train of thought.

We also found we had to work a little harder during calibration to get accurate colours out of the P42VT30, again potentially because of the impact of the extra contrast filter. But we certainly got there in the end, so ultimately this is no big deal.

Our only other gripes with the P42VT30 would be that the deep black levels feel a touch more forced than they do on our reference KURO plasma TV (in that really dark areas look fractionally crushed), and that very occasionally we spotted sudden shifts in brightness. But we didn’t feel that these occurred nearly often or drastically enough to make even a small dent in the P42VT30’s reams of strengths.

Finishing up with the P42VT30’s audio, it turned out to be... pretty good. There’s certainly more bass around than you get with many flat TVs thanks to the subwoofer on the set’s rear, but the main speakers lack the powers to go particularly loud or deliver the expansive mid-range we’d hoped for.

Verdict

The P42VT30 is another stunning Panasonic TV, with class-leading black level response, wonderful detail resolution and the cleanest 3D picture yet seen. It’s also beautifully built and rich in multimedia features, as well as being reasonable value when you take into account the two pairs of 3D glasses and USB Wi-Fi dongle it ships with.

People with quite bright rooms might do better with the slightly less contrasty but seemingly slightly brighter pictures of the GT30 series, and the P42VT30’s 42in screen frankly left us gagging for something bigger. But neither of these ‘philosophical’ arguments stops the set from being state of the art so far as current 40-42in TVs are concerned.

Enigma

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.

tele1962

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...........

tele1962

April 29, 2011, 9:27 pm

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

MrGodfrey

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?

Chris

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.

Insanity202

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.

tele1962

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.

IqbalM

May 3, 2011, 7:21 pm

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

Ed

May 3, 2011, 7:37 pm

We certainly plan to.

Enigma

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."

Enigma

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

IqbalM

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..

Chris

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

MrGodfrey

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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