Panasonic TX-42AS500B review

This user-friendly TV with its rich, bright hues (and good value) is worth a viewing Tested at £450

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Our Verdict

This user-friendly TV with its rich, bright hues (and good value) is worth a viewing

For

  • Bright, detailed picture
  • Punchy whites
  • Good colour balance
  • Customisable interface

Against

  • Black levels need to be deeper
  • Yellow tinge
  • Limited connectivity

At just £450, (cheaper if you hunt online), this 42in Full HD smart TV looks like a steal.

Features

The My Home Screen interface is customisable and user-friendly

The My Home Screen interface is customisable and user-friendly

One of the biggest perks is Panasonic’s excellent, user-friendly My Home Screen interface.

You can customise multiple home screens with shortcuts to your favourite apps (BBC iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube, or Wuaki.tv), and you can access the guide in a sidebar instead of in fullscreen mode – it’s a nifty feature that makes channel-browsing a dream.

If the standard remote wand feels old hat, the remote app is a smart alternative. Picture settings can be tweaked from the app, alongside changing channels and launching smart apps.

The highlight is the ability to beam photos, music and video stored in your smart device straight to the TV using a simple swipe gesture. It’s quick, easy and works smoothly.

The perks you don’t get with this TV, compared to Panasonic’s pricier offerings, are Freetime (which lets you catch up with any TV shows you missed in the past few days) and the myStream programme-recommendation feature.

Performance

So far so good, but a personalised smart portal alone won’t win us over. The Panasonic TX-42AS500B’s picture quality is entertaining, though, with a huge helping of detail and a side order of crisply defined edges when watching DVD and Blu-ray films.

Standard-def content takes the expected dip in quality, but it’s still an engaging, colourful picture even with some noise creeping in. Whites are punchy and shine bright.

Panasonic’s naturally rich colour tone gives punch and vitality to the primary-coloured brick-world of The Lego Movie. The blocks of colour are bold, and scenes are brightly lit.

A slightly fatter chassis means the sound is meatier than many

A slightly fatter chassis means the sound is meatier than many

Much like the Panasonic plasma screens of old, there’s a very slight yellow tinge across the colour palette.

A ‘cool’ setting tempers this somewhat, but trying to get rid of it completely bleaches out the rich hues. We can forgive that sunny disposition – but not the greying black levels.

Play a more natural-looking film such as The Monuments Men, and the dark scenes show up as greyer on the 42AS500B than on some rivals, and it can be hard to make out objects and people in low light.

The blacks aren’t as inky and deep as we’d like – without darker, more insightful blacks we don’t get the dramatic sense of contrast we want.

The TX-42AS500B may not be as slim as a flatscreen TV can be, but the slightly thicker chassis means the sound is weightier than usual.

Connections

Black levels aren’t the darkest or subtlest on this TV, which takes away some punch and excitement

Black levels aren’t the darkest or subtlest on this TV, which takes away some punch and excitement

The AS500 is low down in Panasonic’s 2014 range, but still we’re a little surprised to see a scant offering of digital inputs.

There are only two HDMI connections (one supporting ARC) and a single USB port. You do get an optical output and Freeview HD tuner, while analogue connections are covered by composite, component and scart inputs.

Connecting to a home network can be done wired or wirelessly, and DLNA compatibility means you can stream media from connected laptops, smartphones or NAS devices.

Verdict

The lack of inky deep black levels may put some off, but this user-friendly TV with its bright hues is worth a look.

We are particularly fond of the customisable interface. Rivals may offer a more natural colour balance, but this richly detailed and colourful screen is still a pleasure

Specifications

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General Information

Product SeriesAS500
Product LineViera
Product NamePanasonic TX-42AS500B
Product ModelTX-42AS500B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Brand NamePanasonic
Product TypeLED-LCD TV
ManufacturerPanasonic
Manufacturer Part NumberTX-42AS500B

Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
CI+Yes
USBYes
Total Number of HDMI Ports2

Energy and Performance

Energy Efficiency ClassA+
Standby Power Consumption200 mW
Energy Consumption per Year65 kWh
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Operating Power Consumption92 W

Physical Characteristics

Depth with Stand24.7 cm
Weight with Stand Approximate10.50 kg
Width with Stand96.3 cm
Weight Approximate9 kg
Height with Stand61 cm
Width96.3 cm
Depth6.9 cm
Height56.6 cm
ColourGlossy Black
Dimensions56.6 cm (H): 96.3 cm (W): 6.9 cm (D)

Technical Information

FeaturesWeb Browser, Mirror, Teletext, Picture and Text (PAT), Hotel Mode, Child Lock, Ambient Lighting, Game Mode
Streaming ServiceBBC iPlayer, Netflix, BBC Sport
Aspect Ratio16:9
Backlight TechnologyLED
Internet AccessYes
Horizontal Viewing Angle176°
Smart TVYes
Interactive FeaturesVoice Guidance
PC StreamingYes
Electronic Program GuideYes
Vertical Viewing Angle176°
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")

Network and Communication

EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes

Audio

RMS Output Power20 W
Sound SystemV-Audio Technology, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS 2.0 Digital out

Video

Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Motion Interpolation Technology100Hz Backlight Blinking
Video Signal StandardHDTV
Scan Format1080p

Miscellaneous

DLNA CertifiedYes
Package Contents
  • LED TV Viera TX-42AS500B
  • TV Remote
Country of OriginCzech Republic

Warranty

Limited Warranty1 Year