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Panasonic Viera TX-P42S10: Glorious 1080p for less than 1080 pounds

If you're looking for top-notch, 1080p picture quality from a 42-inch TV, may we suggest you consider the delightful new Panasonic TX-P42S10? At less than a grand, it's a smashing deal

We've long maintained you can't go far wrong with a Panasonic plasma. The company makes some terrific televisions, and because it's truly plasma-oriented, all of its corporate love goes into these gassy giants. The S10 range are 1080p TVs that come in three sizes: 42, 46 and 50 inches.

As you would hope, and expect, this TV can handle 24p video, for optimal Blu-ray movie viewing. There's also 400Hz image frame creation, which claims to do some motion-smoothing, but we're yet to critically assess its aptitude in this regard. As a rule, frame creation is not something we're thrilled about, because it can produce image problems of its own.

Because this TV is aimed at the more budget-conscious customer, there isn't any access to Panasonic's VieraCast service -- so no YouTube access. We're not sure if that's much of a worry for anyone at the moment, but with strong rumours of the BBC's iPlayer coming to services such as VieraCast in the future, it might be one to ponder.

What you do get is three HDMI inputs for your hi-def equipment. There are also component and VGA sockets present for HD analogue sources. Happily, Panasonic also includes an SD-card slot, which will enable you to view your photos on the TV at the press of a button.

The V Real Pro 3 Engine adds another steaming lump of jargon into the mix, but basically means this TV has Panasonic's latest picture-processing technology inside. The company also claims it's capable of producing 900 lines of moving-picture resolution. This might come as a shock to people who think their 1080p TV can do 1,080 lines, but sadly, moving images don't generally produce a full-resolution image -- at least, not on most TVs. Still, 900 lines is pretty good, and we'll tell you what the picture actually looks like in our review of the TV, coming soon.

The 42-inch TX-P42S10 will be available in the next couple of weeks. If you want one, you should expect to pay about £900 or so, but some sites are already offering the TV for £850. Although it's not the most highly specified TV on the market, we're already developing quite a soft spot for it.