Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A LED TV
Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A TV review: A simple, low-cost LED TV with some useful features
In addition to its excellent high-end plasmas like the ST30A, Panasonic has a good line-up of relatively cheap and reasonably cheerful LCD TVs. The E30A is one of these at only $1199 for a 42in panel, and the 32in is even cheaper at $949. The E30A is more stylish than most other Panasonics, although its picture quality is nothing special.
- Good design
- Reasonably good picture quality
- Nothing of note
Panasonic's VIERA TH-L42E30A is a good performer. It's nothing special compared to its peers, but we have no pressing complaints about its picture quality or design.
Price$ 1,199.00 (AUD)
Read our guide to picking the best LCD, LED or plasma TV.
Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A TV: Design and setup
The Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A is the largest and third most expensive LCD that Panasonic makes. If you want any larger you'll have to pick a (comparatively) power-hungry plasma or change brands. At 42in it's only a mid-size model, suitable for a small living room or large bedroom. The design of the E30A is refreshingly sleek and stylish, which is a departure from the slightly staid and boring piano black we've become used to from the brand. The edge LED backlight saves space compared to a CCFL (fluoro LCD) backlight and aids in dealing with contrasty video material. The TV measures 1002 x 646 x 288 mm, although if you're wall mounting the E30A, the panel itself is only 41mm thick.
Setting up the VIERA E30A is not difficult — there are a fair few analog and digital video and audio connectors arranged across the TV's rear and side panels. Four HDMI ports (with audio return support for connecting a home theatre), composite, component and VGA analog video ports are plenty of analog audio inputs and a digital audio output. We opted for HDMI when we hooked the VIERA TH-L42E30A up to a Apple MacBook Pro, a PlayStation 3, and a Sony BDP-S480 Blu-ray player.
Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A TV: Picture quality
The VIERA E30As's default home picture mode is a little bland and drab-looking — we opted to spice it up by boosting contrast and saturation slightly. Lowering sharpness and brightness has a positive effect on the quality of video being displayed, so we did that as well. The True Cinema mode is the most colour- and contrast-accurate that the TV can display, but this is not a daylight-friendly viewing mode. Standard is a good compromise between quality and a bright display, while the Game mode turns off all the picture processing to almost entirely elimate input lag (making the E30A a good choice for avid XBox 360 or PlayStation 3 gamers).
The Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A is a 100Hz panel and so displays fast-moving content (on-screen pans and tracking shots are especially testing for LCD panels) reasonably well. Extra-fast-moving shots are able to display a bit of tearing and on-screen jitter, but in the three Blu-ray movies we used to test the TH-L42E30A this was only an occasional occurrence.
During our watching of The Dark Knight we noticed a small amount of detail lost in dark and bright areas of the screen, but this is standard for edge-lit LED TVs. The white-lights-on-black-background opening scene of The Dark Knight doesn't look great on the E30A, with the entire screen tending to look a bit grey and over-brightened. This is similar to when watching rolling movie credits. Don't get us wrong, though — the VIERA E30A has generally acceptable picture quality and it's definitely no worse than competing LED TVs of a similar price tag.
Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A TV: Conclusion
The Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E30A is an LED TV with solid specifications and no major flaws. If we were looking for a mid-size, mid-range TV it'd feature on our list.
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