Panasonic's 42-inch flat-panel plasma TV, the TH-42XVS30U/P, is part of the flagship Onyx product line. These TVs feature a new minimalist design with no exposed hardware on the front panel. The TH-42XVS30U/P is set to be released in October 2004 along with the 50-inch TH-50XVS30U/P and the 65-inch TH-65XVS30U/P with retail prices of $7,500, $9,000, and $20,000, respectively.
Upside: The TH-42XVS30U/P's nothing-but-the-picture design is attractive, especially if you're looking to the mount the TV on the wall. To accommodate the new sleek design, the TH-42XVS30U/P includes a separate multimedia receiver highlighted by an HDMI port, a CableCard slot, an HDTV tuner, SD memory card and PCMCIA Card slots, and two component-video inputs. The TH-42XVS30U/P also features a 1,024x768 native resolution, augmented by what Panasonic claims are numerous new picture-enhancing features. Given the performance of past Panasonic plasmas, such as the and the , we're excited to see it.
Downside: Although the separate multimedia receiver is a nice way to get cabling away from the back of the TV, it can also be an annoyance to have to deal with another set-top box. Also, be aware that if the included cable that runs from the multimedia receiver to the TV is not long enough for your setup, you may have to buy an expensive extension cable. That's on top of an already high price, even by plasma standards.
Outlook: While the price of TH-42XVS30U/P will keep it limited to the wealthy, it might be a good choice for those willing to dish out a lot for a TV with superior picture quality and a sleek design. However, we'd wait for CNET's full review, where we'll let you know if the TH-42XVS30U/P lives up to the hype.