Reviews for Panasonic 42" Widescreen Plasma TV

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Product Reviews (20)

Happy with commercial model

Strengths: low, low price, great performer, new anti burn-in technologies, connects to everything with expandable ports

Weakness: no stand included

Definitely, the #1 choice for those who doesn't want to overpay for useless speakers (most likely if you are reading this you already have some serious audio hardware) and tuner (yeh, like someone gonna watch HDTV over the air signal, get the HDTV cable box!!!) included with the consumer model. Too bad the stand is not included. However it's a money saver for those who'll hang it on wall. Picture quality on top of everything you'll find in the price range.

By gmakovoz - Dec 23, 2005

If you're in the market for a...

Strengths: Price, performance

Weakness: Add-ons are expensive, if you need them

If you're in the market for a plasma TV, this is the way to go, even if it is EDTV. According to a CNET article detailing the differences between ED and HD, you can't even reap the benefits of HD until you get to 50" and even refers to HD on a 42" as high "resolution" instead of "definition." The reason is because most 42s don't offer the 1280x720 resolution necessary to fully enjoy HD. Therefore, if you want legit HD, go 50". If you're looking at 42", save yourself some money and go ED and go with this model.

This model is from the industrial line of plasmas from Pany and is the only 42 ED they offer so the decision was easy. CNET goes so far as to say that the industrial line displays a better picture than the consumer line so I guess there's truth to the term "industrial strength." There is probably better circuitry in the industrial models and it can be had for less money than the consumer equivalent. The reason for that is you don't get a tuner, a stand, or speakers. Most consumer lines come with that but you're also paying for it. Do you really need it?

If you have a VCR or any other receiver from satellite or cable, you don't need a tuner in the TV.
If you want to wall mount your TV, you don't need a stand.
If you already have a home theatre system or any old speaker for that matter, you can use those instead.

The bottom line is that you really don't need all the components that are excluded from the industrial model and can save money as a result. Of course it's not all about the benjamins, is it? There are no compromises in getting a 42 ED TV because the picture versus a HD is negligible. In fact, the blacks look better on ED than HD.

If you want the most bang for your buck without sacrificing picture quality, get this TV. You won't regret it. I only regret not getting two of them but that's another story.

On another note, be careful with where you buy plasmas because these TVs should only be bought from Authorized dealers so as to not void the manufacturer's warranty. Having said that, there aren't many of those around for a reasonable price and good customer service. Fortunately, there's Visual Apex. They didn't have the "lowest" price but it was competitive ($1545 + $195 freight). The most important thing is that they are an authorized dealer, they don't use mom'n'pop freight companies, and they provide excellent customer service. They fulfilled my order in 24 hours and they shipped via DHL/Danza. I got my TV about a week after ordering. The box arrived in perfect condition and was in at least three boxes within each other. They also provided free BNC adapters and I had to call for support and they were excellent. They were also professional and courteous in dealing with me and I really felt appreciated and comfortable about my purchase. They even followed up to see how things were going. I strongly recommend buying your next plasma from there.

By jycho71 - Jun 24, 2005

If you are not subscribed to HD...

Strengths: Great picture quality. Easy to use.

Weakness: no tv tuner and speakers(consider TH42PD25UP which is the exact same product with TV tuner and speakers). Lack of AV inputs. Doesn't come with stand or wall mount.

If you are not subscribed to HD programming, this is definitely the TV to go to. In fact, when viewing regular TV, the quality is even better than the HDTV I have in my living room. If you don't have an AV system or are not using Satellite / Cable, then you may need to think twice because it doesn't come with tv tuner or speakers (speakers can be purchased separately). For me, no complaint so far.

By ronmate - Nov 9, 2004

Bought from Visual Apex...great...

Strengths: one of longest lasting screens in industry (60,000 hrs vs. 30,000 for everyone else...turn down the brightness!), best contrast ratio, best quality

Weakness: this is a monitor only...you're not paying for a tuner, speakers which may be a weakness for some (although anyone thinking about this purchase probably already knew that)

Bought from Visual Apex...great experience. Was a little more than the best price found, but those were from no or questionably rated companies with inflated accessory prices (I needed a stand...VA sold at MSRP, everyone else almost double to make up for their low price on the monitor). VA also included BNC adaptors (the standard connections for composity and component won't fit your home theater), others did not. Lastly, a little secret I learned during my research...bad pixels. Occasionally (depending on the manufacturer's quality control, but I guess it's not uncommon) pixels will be permanently turned on to a particular color. This is annoying in the middle of your screen having a few of these. This is not covered by Warranties or return policies from any of the companies that I found. It's known and accepted in the industry. Visual Apex will take exchanges up to 30 days on Panasonic Prof series to cover this because Panasonic has the best quality (they make their own screens).

By revnet - Jan 6, 2005

I am new to the plasma TV/monitor,...

Strengths: Picture quality, style, features, price, size

Weakness: AV video in works only if no S-video in, not both. Cheap looking remote. Pedestal stand costs extra.

I am new to the plasma TV/monitor, EDTV/HDTV scene. I have nothing to compare this to except what I saw on display at the home entertainment stores and the reviews I have read. Also, I purchased this monitor without ever seeing one first. That is not something I would recommend. From what I researched, enhanced definition was best for me for my viewing purposes.
I ordered from PC Connection.com and received it exactly one week later. It comes extremely well packed and was easy to set up with the optional (and kind of expensive)pedestal stand (it has built in handles that makes it easy to maneuver). I was very limited on space but it fit perfectly in my 41” wide opening. Kudos to this monitor for not having integrated speakers on the side or a large flashy frame around the screen. It is expensive and professional looking with little fuss or nonsense. It gives the impression of very high quality. The remote on the other hand is butt ugly, but very intuitive.
I had to make a trip to Radio Shack and purchase some adaptors since the AV Video and Component connectors are BNC. Once I had everything hooked up I turned it on and tested my connections. Everything worked except my VCR which is plugged into the AV Video IN on the board Slot 2. My Dish Network PVR is plugged into the S-Video In which is also on the board in Slot 2. My DVD is plugged into the Component In on the board in Slot 3. My VCR would only work if I unplugged the S-Video cable from the monitor. I even tried routing the signals through my receiver and switching back and forth, but it would only work when the cable was physically unplugged. I could not find any setting in the menu to change this.
Now to the picture. It is the best I have seen from an ED plasma monitor yet. I turned on all of the features this monitor has to offer (Adaptive Automatic Gain Control, 3D Color Management, Video Noise Reduction, 3:2 pulldown). When watching TV from my Dish Network receiver this monitor does a pretty good job of hiding the fact that that signal is actually pretty low resolution. This was a big concern of mine since all of the displays I looked at in different stores that weren’t showing a HD signal or DVD looked pretty crummy. I am very pleased with the picture I get on this Panasonic. Even my father who is a big critic of plasma displays was quite impressed. When watching a football game though I wished the picture was a little more vivid (maybe it’s just ESPN). Watching a DVD however is amazing. Better that most HDTV monitors I looked at. One nice feature is the Panasonic Auto setting for the aspect ratio. It is a nice (neat) feature, but I find that it gets a little fussy. I just leave it on JUST which works very well for reducing the image distortion that’s annoying on other wide screen TVs when viewing a 4:3 show.
This monitor has so many advanced settings and adjustments that I haven’t even begun to explore how much more I can customize it. I have only had it 3 days now. Besides the negatives I have already mentioned, I am very happy with my purchase and would be comfortable recommending it.

By gkcmilner - Nov 28, 2004

High definition is definitely not...

Strengths: great picture, good sound

Weakness: Needs extra adapter to go digital-to-digital (though picture seems fine without it) . Directions are (typically) barely decipherable for changing picture aspect, etc.

High definition is definitely not hype! We love it. Sports are distinctive and movies are better than in the theater (except perhaps for the popcorn). We stay away from zoom and other devices to fill the screen on over-the-air transmissions, taking the picture as it is sent to avoid distortions, blurriness or loss of high and low edges.

By fallcreeker - Dec 29, 2004

2 sets of HD component video inputs are available

Strengths: Vibrant image, long life professional panel, dark black levels. The image is as good as an HD resolution model.

Weakness: Not much for the price. Also, ignore the previous complains about lack of inputs. See my review bellow for details.

This monitor is capable of 2 sets of component inputs. First is the obvious 3 BNC type connectors and the other is the 15 pin VGA monitor connector. You will need a 15 pin VGA connector to 3 RCA connector cable. (Try Steren model: 253-506IV) Then in the TV settings you will need to configure the 15 pin VGA input connector as component input rather then the default computer RGB input. To do this: go to PC input, press setup button, then select component rather then RGB. Excellent true Japanese panel, much better image quality then the Chinese or Korean panels.

By maldonadojoe - Aug 26, 2005

Beautiful

Strengths: Fantastic HD picture. Unbelievable blacks. Thin bezel makes display look like a picture frame.

Weakness: Definite buzz heard from behind the panel when there is very low ambient sound.

This was my first purchase of a plasma screen. This was my first purchase of a high definition screen. This was my frist purchase from Visual Apex. Everything, everyone, exceeded my expectation. The screen is beautiful. Watching HD programming makes you want to contact all providers of content and knock them over silly for providing SD content. MAKE THE SWITCH.

The people at Visual Apex were wonderful. They helped me through the purchase, including a wall mount, and were readily available during my anxious anticipation of it's arrival.

By conversiondave - Nov 3, 2005

I bought this on-line from a panny...

Strengths: Great look in black. Picture quality with 480p DVD rivals HDTV and HD signal on this TV looks very close to HDTV quality at almost half the price

Weakness: can't connect s-video cable and composite video cable to the same card in the same slot on the TV at the same time. If you do, unit defaults to composite signal. No biggy since i use component input

I bought this on-line from a panny dealer and the experience was great. Price was within 10% of lowest price i could find, but cheapest vendors had bad/new BBB rating, overpriced accessories, and uncertain packing/shipping quality along with poor return policy if unit arrived damaged.

Given limited HDTV programming, limited difference in picture quality (actually better than HD for 480p DVD), and big difference in price over HD model, i think this is the best value for plasma-on-the-wall watching. Analog signals are of OK quality on this TV (and similar/worse when viewed on HDTV). Standard digital signals not bad, but not enough resolution in the signal to stretch to 16:9. Most are broadcast 4:3 and need to be viewed as such to maintain reasonable resolution (same holds true of analog channel shows).

I think if you don't believe you will have a place or the cash to upgrade in 3-5 years, you should consider an HD unit. For me, i will move this unit to another room in a few years - when HD shows and 720p DVDs are abundant, HDTV LCD prices have dropped to < 1/2 of today, and quality of LCDs have improved - and buy a 50" top quality LCD (with all of the reliability/picture motion artifact kinks worked out) HDTV as a replacement.

By joey ramone - Nov 24, 2004

The picture is crisp. Colors are...

Strengths: Awesome picture for the price. Easy to install. PC interface included. Split screens. Clean looking unit.

Weakness: Auto aspect ratio is not so "auto" but is easily changed via one button on the remote control.

The picture is crisp. Colors are very deep and the blacks are as good or better than a Pioneer or comparible units. Menus and setup are a breeze although on a few occasions I've had to change the aspect ratio manually via the remote when switching from DirectTV and DVD. The PC interface is great. I can split the screen to surf the web and watch a movie at the same time.

Buy the HDMI/DVI interface for a digital signal to DVD. It's worth the money. Besides everything is going digital anyway!

If your looking for a high-end picture w/o the cost of speakers, tuners and all the consumer trimmings that you'll probably replace later w/ higher end equipment anyway. This is the way to go.

By teflonron - Dec 14, 2004

Looked at a lot of TV's including...

Strengths: Excellent picture - Who needs HD? No LCD or DLP bulb replacement

Weakness: none

Looked at a lot of TV's including DLP's and LCD's but I kept coming back to the fact that I would have to spend around $200 about every year or two for bulb replacements to get HD quality picture. I found that the plasma picture looked better even in ED format compared to the Samsung LCD in HD plus the cost was much less and the plasma is built to last 60,000 hours.

Connections are limited as this is only a display but I have all components wired through my home theater receiver and go out to the plasma via component cable connection. I have DIRECTV and the picture is very good and DVD's are even better.

I purchased through Visual Apex and spent a little extra to get the display but didn't have to deal with bait and switch tactics or salesmen trying to sell additional componentry. I highly recommend them as they also threw in free adapters to go from the BNC input connections on the plasma to RCA component connections.

By rwwalker69 - Mar 15, 2005

I agree to all three reviews...

Strengths: Great picture quality, best value.

Weakness: BNC instead of RCA connector only. s-video overrides composite video. Pedestal stand costs extra and expensive. Additional terminal board is expensive.

I agree to all three reviews posted before mine. So I would just post what's important to me or impressed me most.

1) Picture quality is great, although the brightness doesn't compete to my 25" CRT.
2) S-Video and composite video are considered same source. You must physically unplug the S-Video CABLE for it to pick up composite video (AV) signal. Absolutely no way around it, which is bad.
3) tons of picture settings and settings are remembered per input source basis. very nice!
4) make sure you don't connect anything to composite video out unless you really connect the other end to another device. Not even the BNC/RCA adapter. Otherwise, the composite video picture looks overly white.
5) The picture quality of regular TV single is very impressive.

By frequentonlineshopper - Dec 4, 2004

I brought this TV from PC...

Strengths: Good picture. The black color of the TV is very nice looking. For me, no speakers is a plus since I use a surrounding sound system anyway. No stand is fine for me too since wall mount is better.

Weakness: Only one set of componet vedio input (preferred for HD). If you use component input from both cable and DVD, you need a switch box. Otherwise you have to use the super vedio input for the DVD signal.

I brought this TV from PC connection through pricegrab. First of all, do check the availability before you order since the aviliability information on the web site is not always accurate. The bottom line is to use a vendor with good customer service, not necessary the lowest price.

The TV was shipped on time. I also brought a wall mount from eBay for about $100 (including s/h). It works very well with this model. The set up is easy after the wall mount is in place. The quality of the picture is good. But you do need HD cable service to enjoy the HD quality. The remont control is so-so. So far, I have found any major weakness excepte the one I mentioned about. Some people perfer DVI vedio input which this model doesn't have. It supposes to provide even better signal. The PC input port is good if you want to connect your PC to the monitor.

By NJFun - Jan 17, 2005

What a great TV at a great price....

Strengths: Great picture, great brightness, easy to set up, incredible controls, picture settings are per input.

Weakness: Factory calibration poor.

What a great TV at a great price. Purchased at www.avdeals.com, along with an extended warranty.

Install: A breeze. straight forward, not confusing.

Viewing: Colors looked washed out originally. Purchased a calibration DVD and calibrated the monitor and it looked perfect. DVDs were absolutely incredible, but satellite still looked washed out. Found out that each input saves its own settings. So I calibrated the S-video input to match the component video input and the picture is stunning. Friends cannot believe that it is not "HD". The PC input is amazing. Just plug in your PC and its a monitor. What was especially "geeky" of me was using the "picture and picture" as opposed to picture in picture: Puts two 4:3 pictures next to each other.. GREAT.. I had football up on one side, and stats from the internet on the other side. A couch potatoes dream!! I had (actually still have) a 34" 16:9 Wide Screen Tube (34") HDTV. The brightness of the plasma exceeds that of the tube. DVDs look actually better on the plasma (likely since the resolution on the plasma is exactly what comes out of the progressive scan DVD.

Operation: The "AUTO" setting on the aspect ratio didn;t suit me. It tried to switch too much based on the signal coming in, and never looked right. I have it set to "Justify" and looks great.

Misc: Don't know what people are saying about limited options for inputs. With no speakers, it is not meant to receive your audio, although there are inputs for that. I run my sound through an amp and separate speakers, so it has not been an issue. For video inputs, you can get cards to accept anything you want. I have one S-video from satellite and VCR, one component from DVD and on PC from Home Theater PC. I anticipate purchasing the DVI input card in the future.

Versus cheaper brands: The blacks are amazing on this, especially when compared to "cheap" plasmas. The 60,000 hour half life exceeds any of the other plasmas that I looked at.If you think that any of the cheap plasmas are a deal (Dell, Gateway, Nexant, etc) check out those two specs. Most have 1000:1 or 1500:1 contrasts (versus the 4000:1 on the Panasonic) and most have half lives around 20,000 hours. While 20,000 hours is a lot (9 years at 6 hours of TV per day), I'd like to know that I can keep this TV as along as I am paying the mortgage on my house..

Conclusion: Despite what I learned and was told, I was a little nervous about whether I would be happy with an EDTV plasma after having an HDTV tube. I am very happy. I've seen HD on an EDTV plasma and it looks as good as a DVD... For the $1,500 saved on the EDTV over the HD version, the look a DVD for broadcast TV is good enough for me. Still amazing. In the spring, I will be updating my satellite and receiver to HD to watch on this plasma.

You can't go wrong with this one.

By darrinjc - Dec 30, 2004

Purchased at VisualApex.com...

Strengths: Value, value, value. Excellent color and black reproduction for money. Excellent choice for TiVo and DirecTV users.

Weakness: Dimensional diagrams are not included (but findable on the web) to assist in hanging the display on a wall mount.

Purchased at VisualApex.com (excellent authorized dealer) late on a Thursday and had my display in my home the next Tuesday morning, and couldn't be happier.

This display is *the* current value leader in a 42" plasma monitor. Please, please do yourself a favor, and resist the urge to buy the cheap sub-$2000 plasma you may see at Costco or Sam's Club. The picture quality and overall performance of this Panasonic is better by leaps and bounds.

While this TV lacks a tuner, you really should ask yourself why you'd even want one to begin with: TiVo and/or DirecTV owners especially will never use a monitor's built-in tuner.

It's EDTV resolution shouldn't make anyone wary. The HD version is literally 2x the cost of this one, and you would be hard pressed to find anywhere near a 2x increase in overall picture quality, especially at normal (over 6 to 7') viewing distances. This monitor will scale/convert nearly every computer and high-def signal at it, no sweat.

By biffster - Mar 11, 2005

One of the few products I have...

Strengths: Beautiful Picture! Great colors, great blacks. Simple to hang, use & configure. Reasonably priced for what you get. No speakers or tuner, but not needed with home theater system & cable/satalite box.

Weakness: No DVI-D connection input included (an option for $110), but composite video still looks great. Remote too simple. S-video is OK, but not nearly as good as composite or DVI.

One of the few products I have spent a reasonable sum of money on ($1,975 @ Visual Apex) that I am totally satisfied with. I meant for this plasma TV to be an interim step to a true high definition (1,000 megapixels or more) LCD that is too pricy ($10K) today. However, I'm not sure that the HD-LCD could look any better. Sometimes I sit and just say "WOW!" as I'm watching a HD broadcast of football, Alias or Desperate Housewives. The picture is great. The Comcast HD cable service is a great solution for a HD tuner & DVR (Tivo-like box). HD progrmming looks great on this TV. An HD-DVR cost $1,000 and a HD tuner can be $350. Through Comcast I got them all with HD cable service for $39/month. I was paying DirecTV $42/month for basic service with no HD tuner, DVR or HD service. No brainer, & I love the HD DVR.

By littleje - Jan 11, 2005

This Panasonic EDTV has a great...

Strengths: Great picture right out of the box, easy to use and ample controls, great price

Weakness: Manual is weak on hooking up peripherals (DVD, VCR, etc.), but, then, it only is for the TV

This Panasonic EDTV has a great picture (at less than half the cost of a HDTV). Even with standard cable, the picture on the Panasonic looks good even though it looks grainy on my CRT TV. Lots of controls for adjusting the picture quality, aspect, etc., though right out of the box the picture is well adjusted - skin tones look real, reds aren't too loud, the sky is blue, etc. The Panasonic also has ample connections on the back for hooking up a DVD, VCR, etc., plus an additional slot if more connections are needed. All in all - a great plasma at a great price.

By chicojerry - Jan 19, 2005

Prefer TH42PWD7UY (Pana 7th...

Strengths: great/sharp/picture quality...upgradable slot/blade advance setting available...

Weakness: need to pay for optional stand...only BNC no RCA no ATSC turner...

Prefer TH42PWD7UY (Pana 7th generation) to TH42PD25UP (Pana 6th generation) with longer glass hours and more grey shade

No need for speakers.. using external AV receiver

But too bad to pay extra for HDMI/DVI blade and stand

By kermitt99 - Dec 7, 2004

Panasonic TH-50PHD8UK from Visual Apex

Strengths: High definition picture Interchangeable inputs

Weakness: None so far

The Panasonic TH-50PHD8UK has a great high definition picture with multiple interchangeable inputs. It was easy to setup and the multiple inputs made it simple to connect all my other components. Since this is a commercial unit, I suspected the remote to have limited capabilities but was pleasantly surprised at its capabilities.

I have read complaints about the HDMI input, but mine works great with my DirecTV TiVo box and Oppo DVD player. The sales staff at Visual Apex talked me through the setup even explained some TiVo questions.



By ROLLSMAN - Sep 24, 2005

TH42PWD7UY 42

Strengths: Panasonic is the clear leader in 42" plasma displays. I bought this model because it has full HD capability, PIP, user changeable input cards, and clean look at a lower cost than the consumer model.

Weakness: It doesn't come with a stand. Not a big issue for me, since I wanted to mount it to a wall, but it would be nice to have. One way to look at it is that I didn't pay for something that I didn't need.

I purchased this plasma display from Visual Apex (visualapex.com), and I can't say enough good things about them. They are much different than the typical "etailer" that has an address in NY, and probably not much else. They may not have the very lowest price, but Visual Apex is the right choice. I spoke to a knowlegable sales person, the plasma display arrived on time, and they followed up. I had no problems, but I was sure that they would have been addressed if I did.

Check out avsforum.com for more information on this plasma display and Visual Apex.

By rgs79 - Nov 14, 2005