Panasonic opened up 2011 with a bang and they had to since manufacturers are getting a lot more competitive in delivering the best possible experience to consumers. But judging from the looks of Panasonic’s new 2011 lineup, you will notice that Panasonic hasn’t forgotten about the budget audience. In fact, they have a few nice treats with the new S30 series being one of the highlights. These new plasma displays can go as large as 60 inches or as small as 42 inches and the 42-inch Panasonic VIERA TC-P42S30 is an excellent value that still looks big and carries that essential 1080p Full HD label.
The screen of the TC-P42S30 does not have any fancy advancements but it is environmental friendly as it is both lead free and mercury free. Recycling this product after disposal will no longer cause a negative impact towards the environment.
From afar, the TC-P42S30 pretty much looks like a standard display and that is not a bad thing. The 42-inch display still looks big but can fit in the smaller living room configurations which is nice. The black finish that you can notice in all angles adds to the appeal along with the thin bezel.
“I was very happy with my LCD TV even in the middle of the day; maybe that’s why I never realized just how bright our living room is. The first time I tried to watch this TV from the couch, the reflection from the skylight was terrible. Around noon, the glare was nearly unbearable.
In late afternoon/full dark, this TV looks fantastic. It’s so good, in fact, that I couldn’t tear myself away from 2 Fast 2 Furious, which says a lot. The problem is that I do most of my viewing during the day, so I’m not sure that it’s going to work for me in the long run. I’ll have to give it a few more days. The preset color modes aren’t perfect, but they’re fairly accurate right out of the box. Both Netflix and iTunes movies streamed over the Apple TV look great. When I have some time I’ll run Video Essentials to get the levels dialed in.”– Curtis G (Surf City USA)
Getting your new Panasonic TC-P42S30 up and running is just as important as any other display even though it should work fine the moment you turn it on. In order to ensure that your display goes beyond its lifespan without encountering any issues, you should make good use of the various image retention tools.
Start by making sure that the Pixel Orbiter is switched on so your display will never suffer from burn-ins that normally occur if images are shown on the screen at the same location for prolonged periods. Many TV channels constantly show their logo in the same spot which is why the Pixel Orbiter can be a great help if you do not want to switch channels. You can also take the opportunity to explore the other options and calibrate the display to your liking. Once you are all set for regular usage, make sure you exercise the first 100 hours of your display properly.
To do this, you need to ensure that every pixel on your display is contributing to the overall picture. Watching any videos that show in full screen will do as long as you won’t see any hints of black bars indicating that these pixels are not active. The idea is to wear in the pixels and phosphors evenly for the first few hours. Once you have done that long enough, you can proceed to enjoying any content you like on your display.
If you are upgrading from an LCD display, you will be able notice some smoother visuals when watching movies like Tron: Legacy. You won’t be able to take advantage of the 3D features since the TC-P42S30 isn’t a 3D-enabled display but the 600Hz Subfield Drive is still present so you can see all those fluid action sequences without blurring. You can also witness the benefits by watching various sports programs.
Anime flicks like Evangelion 2.22 demonstrates how nice the colors are reproduced. The Panasonic TC-P42S30 adopts some of the standards that Blu-ray and DVD titles take advantage of like Deep Color and x.v.Color. These two features affect just about all types of movies including video games. In fact, you can vastly improve your gaming experience by switching on the Game Mode feature so all of the picture settings are optimized for your game. This also gets rid of the delays and lag while increasing the response time.
The Panasonic VIERA TC-P42S30 features the standard set of 20-watt speakers that should be enough to enjoy your favorite TV programs. When watching Blu-ray or DVD movies, you can make use of the surround sound feature which may give enough of a boost for you to hold on to your cash reserved for home theater speakers. But for the truly immersive movie experience it is preferable to incorporate it into a home theater system or something simple like the ZVOX 550 surround speaker system that comes in a single cabinet.
One of the biggest reasons to upgrade your older plasma devices is its energy saving benefits. Not only does it exceed the Energy Star requirements this time around but it also bumps down the energy consumption by up to 25% compared to the older models. This is a big leap forward in plasma technology and makes it far superior than the LCD models in more ways than one. As long as you set up your TV properly, your plasma panel should last beyond 100,000 hours.
Network connectivity is becoming more of a standard these days which is why a midrange model like the TC-P42S30 still gets its own Ethernet port. Backed with DLNA support, the TC-P42S30 can retrieve content from other devices like computers and other DLNA devices. You can stream, view photos, or playback music with ease as soon as you connect the Ethernet cable a router. If that router has Internet access, you can surprisingly access the Internet as well. It does not have the new VIERA Connect feature that the high-end models have so your Internet experience is a bit limited. However, you can still take advantage of your Netflix or Pandora accounts so you can stream all kinds of multimedia to your display. It also gives you access to other frequently used services like Facebook. Connect a special wireless USB accessory and you can access the network wirelessly.
There are also a few extra things that you can do even if your TC-P42S30 is not hooked up to the network. There is the SD card slot where you can insert any SD card with photos and view them on the display using the VIERA Image Viewer. This is a great viewer to use when checking out any HD photos that you might have. You can also display these photos in a slideshow and optionally turn on background music. This viewer can also use the USB port for reading flash drives that have photos in them.
The TC-P42S30 is conveniently priced at around $1,000 which is an excellent deal considering the added connectivity features and improved energy saving features. 42-inch displays are still impressive for watching Blu-ray content or playing the latest games. If you think 3D features are not a big deal, you won’t be disappointed by the quality and overall value of this VIERA display.
Actual User Reviews:
• “Appears well built. Set up is a breeze, took 10 mins. Picture will be dialed in during the week. As of now watching Fox News, on Cinema, with adjustments it looks just fine. I do not have a Blu Ray player yet. I would not be afraid of this TV. I personally prefer more picture adjustments. It however looks great with the existing adjustments at hand.” – J.Kosmal (Pittsburgh, USA)
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