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Panasonic TH-P42U30A review: Panasonic TH-P42U30A

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The Good Excellent HD image quality. Solid, deep blacks. Handles motion well.

The Bad Picture needs calibrating. 576i and SD material blurry. Sound not so great.

The Bottom Line If you don't need bells and whistles, the Panasonic TH-P42U30A proves that high levels of performance can still be had under AU$1000.

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8.5 Overall

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We remember as children getting a wireless remote TV — that was pretty cool. Changing channels and turning the volume up without getting off the lounge was seriously high tech back in the early 1970s.

TVs today have gone all clever on us: web browsing, running apps and social networking, not to mention 3D viewing, are all features of modern Smart TVs. But if you're after something a little less involved, what's available for, say, under one grand?

Design and features

Panasonic's new U Series comes in two sizes: 42 inches and 50 inches. We managed without any arm-wrestling to pick up a 42-incher for under AU$800 from a well known retailer.

Although it's not "Smart" as such, the TH-P42U30A ain't exactly stupid, either. It's a two-dimensional, full HD TV, with a few connectivity tricks up its sleeve. Bundled under the name "Easy IPTV", these include DLNA network and Wi-Fi-ready support, which is largely aimed at file sharing over a LAN network. Social networking via applications like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter is available, if you've nothing better to do with your time. Music and internet radio are also accessible via SHOUTcast. That's about the extent of the U Series' "smartness", but there are the usual Panasonic Viera features, such as the image viewer and SD card slot, Viera Link system control.

The panel features and specs remain the same as the previous G13 generation U Series panels — namely, 2,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, a 600HZ sub-field drive with 900-line moving picture resolution and 6144 steps of monochrome graduation. Specs aside, this is a tried-and-tested panel, which should promise excellent image quality.

On the connection front, it's all here, with three HDMI inputs, two USBs, one LAN, a component video and two composite video inputs, plus PC input. There are three line-level audio inputs and an optical digital output for hooking up to an A/V receiver or soundbar.

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