I have a number of panasonic products so when I needed (wanted) a new tv I was not disappointed when looking at this product in store.
The tv is 42 inch plenty big enough for a normal sized living room. Its a plasma which are deemed better than LCD/LED for anything over 40 inches. It is quite weighty so make sure you have a sufficiently robust cabinet/base.
Now the important things. I have it connected to a normal aerial and the picture quality is excellent. I think the aerial has a big part to play in this. The picture has never pixelated like other tvs i have owned.
The instruction booklet is comprehensive for the most technically literate but also simple enough for those less so. Its pretty much plug it in and set up starts pretty much automatically
The ease of use is made even easy when its connected to other panasonic products through the viera link which means you can use one remote control for tv, dvd, surround sound, camcorder all through an on screen menu.
It has 3 hdmi ports which is more important than you would think. Some comparable machnes only have 2. The 3 ports allow connection of any combination of dvd/hdd, surround sound, satellite box, games console. I have the dvd/hdd, srround sound and games console (a fourth port would of been nice but I could not find anything price comparable that did. I wish all the manufacturers would just add the extra ports). You can get either mechanical or electrical switching boxes ranging from £5 to £100+ where you plug extra cables in to allow you to switch between devices if needed so you don't have to unplug cables.
Note that one of these ports is on the side of the tv and 2 on the back.
The guide menu is standard panasonic where you cannot watch in picture or even the sound. I have read that the new 2012 range of tvs (atleast the tvs) have this function so panasonic do listen to feedback from customers!!!!
The remote is pretty straight forward good quality with large enough buttons that its use becomes intuitive. In three years of daily use all the numbers and other writig is still in pristine condition and has not worn off.
The sound is crystal clear, you have the choices of virtual surround sound amongst other setting. I have not really figured out what difference they make but the sound is fine whichever setting is used
The quality is what you would hope for from premium brand and it bought throuigh John Lewis you get a standard 5 year warranty. I have not doubt it will easily last 5 years so amazon will certainy have some good deals.
If you want a quality tv that will last, has a great picture and will be compatible with other electrical components for years to come then you won't go wrong with tone of these.
We purchased a 42" Panasonic Viera from Curry's and paid a discounted price on it of around £350. We had debated as to whether we would buy a smaller LCD TV or larger plasma screen. We sought advice from the store manager who recommended getting the plasma as it was supposedly superior for watching films on. Where the LCD or LED is sharper and brighter, plasma screens are supposedly truer and Panasonic are apparently one of the leading manufacturers. We took him at his word and went for it and have not been disappointed.
The sharpness of image on this TV is perhaps not the best compared to LCD or LED screens but for a plasma screen in holds up excellently against the competition. The colours are true, rich and have depth. It doesn't possess the stark ultra reality of other screens and personally I prefer it that way. The TV comes HD ready so you can also view HD channels though it. This is possibly one it's let-downs if that's important to you as I felt that HD could have been crisper through it. The difference between the HD viewing experience and that of the standard digital is not as noticeable as it could, or maybe should be. Occasionally when action moves quickly there is a sense of pixelation but this only happens rarely. On the whole motion is fluid and crisp. The in built sound is also very good. It has good depth and bass and doesn't veer anywhere near the tin-y sound that some cheaper TV sets can give you.
The Set up and installation was very simple and largely involved plugging in and turning on. The in build digi box tunes at the push of a button and instructions were very simple to follow. We experienced no hick up whatsoever and were up and running in 5 minutes. All I would say is that with plasma you need to give it 24 hours once it's arrived home before set up to let the plasma settle so it's not quite as straight forward as get it home and plug it in, but that aside, it was very quick to install.
The unit itself is approx a few inches in depth. There are smaller on the market but this wasn't a priority for us. The build is quite bulky and heavy so if you require something sleek and lightweight you may want to look elsewhere - perhaps at an LED or LCD TV as these don't use plasma that tends to weigh more.
In all, I found the viewing experience to be excellent but I have two main grumbles about the functions of the set. The first is something I find with lots of Flat screen TVs - why is the 'on' button so hard to find? It's hidden about 1/3 of the way up on the side of the unit. What happened to putting discrete buttons on the front? There is room for it so I don't understand why they make it so complicated.
Grumble two is that there is only one scart socket in the back of it so to run more than one device through it (e.g external digital tv box and DVD player) is a little complicated or fiddly. It would have been very helpful if there could have been another. With over 42 inches of back paneling, I think there's space!
These gripes aside, for what we paid for it I think it's excellent value and has served us well. We have had it for over a year now and have encountered no problems at all with the picture or with the working of the in built digibox. If you are going to choose plasma then this is a solid option.
I don't know what it is with men but when you move into a new house one of their first purchases has to be a big screen television. When we moved into our house a few years ago this was definitely on the agenda for my husband so off we went to Currys to buy a TV. Now, I don't know that much about televisions so I mostly left it to him but I did know what I like when it comes to style and wanted to purchase a television that would like nice in our front room.
We decided upon a Panasonic Viera. According to their website a VIERA is, "a revolutionary line-up of digital TV in NeoPDP (new generation plasma technology with 600Hz sub-field drive), Plasma and LCD technologies - raising the standards in design, picture quality and home entertainment connectivity."
What I like about this television is that it's very sleek and stylish looking. It has a shiny black border all the way around it and then at the bottom there is a strip of grey chrome coloured panel that houses the on and off button and the manual television buttons. The on/off button is a press in one and so far, having had the television for a few years now it is still working well and we have not had to replace it. Apparently this button is one of the first things to go wrong on televisions.
We went for the 42" television which is lovely and big but not too overpowering for our somewhat small front room. The television sits on a black stand which it slots into and because it is so thin really does not take up too much room at all. The television came with HD, at the time we bought it it was just HD ready but now that a lot of channels are broadcasting in HD we watch in HD and the picture quality is really good. It has been tested this week whilst watching the football. We watched a little bit on non-HD and then when we switched to HD you could really tell the difference by looking up close at the grass and the footballers faces, etc.
The television came with a black remote control which is the only thing I don't like about the television. The remote is quite plastic looking and the buttons are quite hard to press, you really have to press them hard to make it register on the television. Other than that it is quite a standard remote with all the buttons you need on it.
The television cost us £700 in the sale and so far has been a great purchase.
Ok so I was going to buy a £400 bush or hitachi TV from a well known retailer but when popping into comet for a washing machine ended up buying one of these for £550 (ex display) along with the matching black glass TV stand at a discounted rate.
Ok so initially, its a good looking TV. Good design, good size and a fantastic picture.
I use the TV for Sky+ HD and Xbox Live via HDMI (I'll explain the relevance later in the review).
Freeview - Now I've had some trouble with the freeview because like many of the TV's it 'hides' channels that don't have a top quality signal which meant on initial tuning it only found 18 TV channels. After fiddling with the settings I managed to swindle 24, with a Bush freeview box I bought from Tesco for my previous TV for £60 I managed to push it too 29. I now have Sky+ HD so this is all besides the point now.
Picture Quality - The picture is top quality, the only thing I will say is that you really need to play with the settings. I find a lot of the HD channels are best to have set on cinema, TV on a set ratio and Xbox on the 'Game' setting.
User Experience - The general controls and Viera tools are very useful, enough so that even myself can manage to work the tools. The picture viewer and link seems to be ok although I hadn't really pushed it to the test yet as I havn't felt the need.
Gaming - Now quite important to me because I do get competitive is the game setting. This means that the picture wont be smoothed by the TV. In reality what this means is the picture your seeing while for example playing online is as real time as it can be (although we may only be talking about milliseconds) but more importantly it gives a sharper picture. My previous TV I would find had 'smoothed' edges to characters online, this did make it difficult not only spotting other players but also following their movements as the TV would in a way camouflage their edges. This was more so the case when playing online where I was aiming distances and so the enemy may be very small, TV would make it even more difficult.
Access - One thing I have found is that when I use a bracket, it is very difficult to get all the connections in, if the TV is faced down at all, scart leads wont really fit. I have mine on a TV stand anyway but I was initially going to mount it and have my bedroom TV on the stand.
AI - What is a very useful feature (more for convenience than anything else) is that you can set what AV setting you want the TV to start into. Not a big deal I know but it can get annoying having to switch it on then press AV till you get too HDMI, no longer is the case. Not only this but when switching AV settings the TV will automatically switch to AV settings with signal first so switching between HDMI1 and TV or SCART is just 1 button press rather than pressing AV then scrolling down the list.
Power usage - The only thing I will point out is that the standby mode uses more power than the manufacturer states. I've forgotten what it stated now but I think it was something like 3watt in standby mode although when using one of the plugs to measure it from amazon it came out as about twice what claimed, for the sake of a couple watts though its hardly the end of the world, just thought it worth mentioning.
Side note - Insurance, I'm not too sure why but the insurance on this TV is a fair amount more than my previous 42inch LCD TV of around the same price, I'm not sure if its a Plasma vs LCD thing but just generally worth bearing in mind if you are looking at getting the insurance. Just for your information my previous 42" LCD purchased for £599 was insured for £119.99 and for this through the same company and same cover was £169.99. I must say though that the better picture quality and other perks more than make up for this.
The only reason for giving it 4* is that the manufacturer's claims of lower power output on standby (this may be due to them playing with the settings or some other 'special' way, but again I feel this is a little cheeky), the fact that I would need another freeview box to get more of the channels (I do live in a weaker area) and that it does cost a little more to insure.
This television is proudly mounted to my living room wall, it's great. Being a 42" it really does give great detail when watching films and when watching HD it's just fantastic. The viera engine works really well as if there are colours missing in the picture the viera fills these in. This leads to a really good picture that has great colour and depth. The 1080p works great to show off your sky HD, i'm into watching a lot of sport and it looks amazing watching the big match on such a great T.V. The great thing about a plasma T.V is that you can view it from angles greater than a L.C.D. My living room is quite narrow so its great to be able to have a fair few people watching it and not have to worry about the angle. The only downside to this T.V is the expense involved in getting its full potential out. To really see the benefits you need H.D sky or blu-ray and the good HDMI cables which can be quite expensive.
This TV is my first foray into flatscreen. I've been very spoilt with a good quality Panasonic 28" which gave a beautifully sharp picture, and I've been nervous of the jump to a larger set as the majority of large sets give quite a pixelated picture from a standard digital signal. On viewing various sets, this Panasonic upscales a standard signal beautifully and the HD picture (That I'm using from Virgin cable) is absolutely stunning. Blu Ray gives even better results. I've always thought that Panasonic tend to give very realistic colours (Particularly on skin tones) and while I've always rated Sony for having the best picture on the market, the Sony sets that I looked at fell well short of this set's standards. I would also rate plasma above LCD - certainly for sports or movie watching. The set takes slightly more power but I'm led to believe it's fairly negligible. The only thing this set lacks is a self defense system to keep my 1 year old daughter's sticky fingers away from the screen!