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


Our Score


User Score

Review Price £1,429.00

The P42VT30 scores highly for its connectivity. It’s both expansive - including four v1.4 HDMIs, three USBs, a LAN port, and the play/record SD card slot - and handily arranged so that every socket can be accessed from the side or bottom, to aid wall mounting. It’s notable, too, that the screen is so skinny that one or two connections can only be accessed via included ‘downsizing’ adaptors.

The last thing to point out about the P42VT30’s features is that it’s very multimedia savvy. Its compatibility with Panasonic’s Viera Connect platform provides access to such online services as Skype, the BBC iPlayer, Facebook, Eurosport, AceTrax and YouTube (with many more apps and services coming soon). It can play files from DLNA PCs on its network, meanwhile, as well as video (including DivX HD), photo or music files from USB drives or SD cards.

First impressions of the P42VT30 in action elicit precisely the gasps of ‘wow’ we’d been hoping for. Especially since the set’s black level response is not only palpably better than even that of the P50GT30, but also the richest and deepest we’ve seen since Pioneer’s KURO sets.

Panasonic Viera TX-P42VT30 - angle right

Obviously, this isn’t the first time we’ve drawn comparisons between Panasonic TVs and the legendary but sadly now extinct Pioneer KUROs. But with the P42VT30, the comparison is particularly justified, since we’d say the depth of its black levels really does finally tally with that of the last KURO set we tested. Dark scenes contain areas of blackness that really can look as black as the bezel around the screen, or the inky darkness of a blacked-out room.

Not surprisingly, this has a terrific impact on the TV’s portrayal of films, in particular, where extreme contrast ranges and really dark sequences are routine. Remember, too, that thanks to plasma’s self-emissive nature, the almost infinitely deep black levels can sit side by side with rich colours and punchy whites, without the usual contrast, brightness and backlight uniformity compromises you get with LCD/LED technology.

The P42VT30’s pictures are also stunningly detailed and sharp with HD material, with the high contrast range serving to underline the image’s crispness and texture. As you’d expect, this helps the set produce impressively finely delineated colour tones and blends too, and colours additionally look pleasingly vibrant and fully saturated. Though it did seem to us that colours on the P42VT30 weren’t quite as vibrant as those of the P50GT30.

The P42VT30 handles motion well for the most part too. Naturally, there’s none of the blurring that you get with LCD TVs thanks to plasma’s more or less instant response time, and judder is generally well contained. There can be some jerking - or perhaps more accurately, double imaging - with 50Hz PAL material, but this is only seriously distracting under very specific circumstances, such as when a camera pans over the lines of a football pitch. Plus you can reduce the problem considerably if it’s troubling you via the set’s Intelligent Frame Creation system - though if you do this, make sure the frame interpolation isn’t set any higher than its Mid setting if you don’t want pictures to start looking painfully processed.

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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 -> Enjoy!

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