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Best HDTV of The Month

October 30, 2011 – 2:41 pm No Comment | 7,469 views

December 2012

If you are looking for the best in HDTV, we suggest you do check out our top 5 best rated HDTV of the month. Their rating are based on consumer reviews at Amazon.com. …

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Panasonic VIERA TC-L42U30

Submitted by on October 22, 2011 – 5:55 am10 Comments | 3,980 views

Panasonic VIERA TC-L42U30

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10 Comments »

  • Customer Rating Very happy!, 2011-05-05
    This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-L42U30
    Had it for about a week now. Excellent TV…..exceeded my expectations! The HD feeds from the networks are blowin’ my mind! Beautiful color and black levels. I’m a newbie there so keep that in mind but it looks great and can really mesmerize me. Before this, I bought a 1080p vizio 22″ LED for my bedroom…..thought that was great and that the larger screen would not hold up in comparison….but it’s so much better!!! And great fast service by Amazon!

    Pros: Beautiful colors
    Deep Blacks
    Motion Pro works well
    Even light across screen
    Energy saver!!!
    Just the right size for up to 10ft. Viewing
    Great viewing angle
    And of course, Blu Ray looks beautiful

    Cons: Optical audio out only.

    Other thoughts:

    Motion Pro 4 : I think it works well. You can set it to strong, weak or off. On the strong setting, yes, some moments in film look like video….it’s not that it’s not pleasing, it’s more like it’s distracting at first because I keep noticing it. I turned it to strong for the Amazing Race the other nite and it worked well with all the action and camera cuts. For general viewing, I’ve settled in on the weak setting which is perfect for me.

    Power Consumption: I’ve found by using a watt meter that the backlight is the main variable in using more or less power. Power consumption can easily be tuned down to as little as 50 or 60 watts….and a setting that uses the advertised 80 watts looks relatively good…..however, my favorite setting with the deepest blacks has the backlight pumped up and uses about 135 watts. I can compromise at 80 or 100 watt setting and pump it up when watching a movie or fav show.

    A.I. picture: Enriches black areas without affecting brightness of overall picture…..I think it works well and I leave it on…..does not seem to affect power consumption

    C.A.T.S. adjusts for ambient light….doesn’t do much during the day but at night, it significantly reduces brightness and I don’t like it so I leave it off…..does save some energy.

    ECO mode: In Viera tools….standard looks better….saving is less bright but saves energy.

    There’s other settings to play with.

    My custom settings for average viewing that uses about 100 watts:

    Back Light 50
    Contrast 85
    Brightness 65
    Color 40
    Tint 0
    Sharpness 50

    A.I. On
    C.A.T.S. Off
    Motion Pro 4 set to weak
    ENJOY!

  • R. Garrido says:

    Customer Rating Upgraded from a 42″ plasma, 2011-05-16
    This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-L42U30
    I’m not really into 3D (yet) so I was basically looking for a TV that has 1080p and 120hz. I used to own a Panasonic TC-P42X1 and was very impressed by it. It didn’t bother me that it is a plasma and only has 720p. Picture quality was awesome and absolutely had no complaints.

    TC-L4U30 did just that but better.

    There’s very little configuration to get this unit going out of the box. Picture is crisp and the colors are full and rich. The sound was surprisingly good, far better than my previous unit. I thought the surround sound option was on but I looked in the settings and it isn’t. I’m loving my purchase so far. I was looking at the other 42″ LG but decided to take this instead.

    I think I made the right choice.

  • W. Huang says:

    Customer Rating New Model, 2011-05-24
    This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-L42U30
    When I ordered the TC-L42-30, it is new no one reviewed it, I don’t know the difference between model TC-L42U30 and TC-L42U25, since U30 is new, cost little more, I still order U30. It is Shipped on time, delivery people opened the box to check it is not damage.
    The color is great, the view angle is wide, I bought it for couple of months, so far so good, I heard some of brands, it will be out of order easily after one or two years, I think Panasonic has good reputation, hope it is good for many years, so far I gave it 5 stars.

  • Mudrunner says:

    Customer Rating Excellent LCD TV for the money., 2011-08-24
    This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-L42U30
    I wanted a well made 42″ LCD television with the best picture I could get for the money, based on research and owner reviews.

    I referenced numerous consumer sites. I had expected Sony and Samsung to come out on top, and although my personal experience with Samsung (screen halos, popping speakers, poor viewing angles, finnicky connections) has been less than ideal, many other Samsung owners seem happy. Nevertheless, where the research led, I would follow. I found Panasonic LCD TV’s have the lowest incidence of serious problems. Most owners/reviewers raved about the immacculate image quality as well. So, the nod went to Panasonic.

    I ordered this TV Next Day from Amazon on a Thursday evening and it was delivered the following afternoon just in time for the first preseason NFL game for my team.

    This TV appears to be made from quality components with good construction. Set-up was quick and easy, install a few small screws and your ready to fire it up. On screen menus are simple with a logical layout and most settings can be changed quickly.

    Picture quality is fantastic overall, much better than the 42″ Samsung it replaced. The screen is very evenly backlit with deep blacks, bright whites. Color saturation is excellent without being oversaturated. 720p is stunning and 1080i is truly breathtaking. I haven’t tried BlueRay yet, but can only imagine a non-compressed 1080p signal.

    The 178 degree viewable range equates to a great viewing experience anywhere in our living room, with virtually no wash-out until the most exreme angles. The 120 Hz Motion Picture Pro 4 works well on sports and other fast moving images, with almost no perceptible blur. I do tend to leave it off or on the “weak” setting for most other programming. This is because it tends to make some things, like movies, look a little unnatural and kind of like a home video or soap opera effect. Some may like it, so it’s more of a personal preference. SD images are much better than most of the competition I’ve seen as well. Overall, this set has a stellar picture and is unlikely to disappoint even the most discriminating buyer. The best picture I have ever seen on any TV.

    Sound is much better than most of the competition with plenty of volume. The sound is clear and balanced, not muffled or hollow. The surround sound is a nice enhancement. If using the internal speakers alone, it should be ok for most applications, just don’t expect awe inspiring sound. Mine is hooked up to a Pioneer home theater system via optical cable with good results.

    This is a sleek looking set, albeit thicker than some of it’s competition. I don’t mind considering the phenomenal picture quality and above average sound. So, if absolute slimness is a priority, you might want to keep looking or go to edge lit tv’s instead.

    Connectivity options are a bit limited, but should be ok if most of your components are newer. No RCA, S-Video, or USB ports are built in. There are 3 hdmi ports, 1 component hook-up, an SD card slot, 1 optical audio jack, 1 antenna/coax input, and 1 VGA port. I currently have an HP laptop connected to the VGA input and is fuctioning perfectly. I actually don’t mind the somewhat limited inputs, as it will likely encourage me to upgrade to some of the newer technology.

    We originally looked at ‘net capable televisions but opted instead to stick with our existing ROKU XD through hdmi, and I’m happy with the decision. This set-up has been problem free, gives us far more options than most sets with built-in capability and it saves some cash to boot.

    The remote is responsive, works well.

    Using the SD card photo viewer is easy with no fuss. I do wish it had the ability to play videos and music though. I simply hook my smartphone up through hdmi for this. Works for me.

    The only negative aspect of this experience has been the shipping/delivery. The cardboard box had noticeable crushing on the top and bottom, it wasn’t severe, but you could tell it was there. The delivery driver had dropped it off and set it on our patio. When we picked it up to carry it into our living room, the remote/documentation packet fell out through the bottom of the box onto the concrete. The entire bottom seam on the box had been slit. I’m just glad the entire TV didn’t fall through. When we opened the box, the protective blocks of foam packaging were split and in multiple pieces from being crushed.

    Thankfully, everything was there and the TV works as it should, so far. The way this item was handled, as an obvious high value package, is unreal. I was not happy about this. I am basing this review rating solely on the product and not the delivery, however, as it’s not fair to the manufacturer.

    This product has exceeded my expectations and I have had zero problems. Everything just works as it should. If anything changes, I will update.

  • Thomas says:

    Customer Rating Bought for my dad, 2011-07-06
    This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-L42U30
    My dad is legally blind but he loves to watch sports and Gunsmoke on TV. It had gotten to the point where he couldn’t see well enough to make out the screen of his standard definition TV. So we decided to get him a HD TV and began shopping. The whole family got involved, going to different stores to check out good deals. It took several days of looking around but without any doubt, this TV was the best picture for the price.
    It was very easy to set-up – the only problem being the new remote that came with the new HD cable box. He’s 84 and can barely see, so leaning a new remote was challenging. But he says he can see everything very well.
    One of the things we noticed was that the TV has much better viewing from angles. I had read this at Panasonic’s website and it is true. We have a HD and it loses picture quality when we view it from the side; we have to turn it to face us if we are both sitting to the side. This is not an issue with my Dad’s TV – you can see very well when sitting to the side.
    We are all very happy since he can now resume falling asleep in front of the TV while the game is on.

  • Customer Rating I highly recommend Panasonic Viera., 2011-06-06
    This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-L42U30
    Excellent picture, sound and set up was fairly easy. I would recomment this TV. I have several items by Panasonic, all are great. I am an older lady, and I can rely on Panasonic and Amazon. Good price also.
    Nancy M.

  • Old Grizzle says:

    Customer Rating Very pleased by both price and product quality., 2011-04-16
    This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-L42U30
    Having both sold and owned a multitude of electronic devices that included Sony, Panasonic and others too numerous to mention and I freely admit to being a Sony lover until this purchase. This set replaces a Sony rear projecting Sony flat screen that required a blub replacement, the cost of which was over 30 percent of what the new set cost me. After comparing the picture quality and features offered by various brands including LG, Sharp and Sony among them, I found Panasonic equaled or exceeded what the competition offered and till now I have no reason to regret my dissension to buy it.

    That being said, I am very pleased with Amazon as a seller. Having been a retailer who considered service of prime importance, I hate Box Stores approach to merchandizing that relies on the Hard Sell by their employees and considers the obligation ceases once the item moves out the doorway and becomes the buyers responsibility should a problem surface. Not only did Amazon have my purchase delivered free to my living room in perfect condition, but also guaranteed a replacement should it be defective without the hassles one can expect when dealing with WalMart, Best Buy and others like them.

    Would I recommend both the product and the seller? Yes!

  • Dan D. says:

    Customer Rating Very Good TV, 2011-05-16
    This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-L42U30
    Last television I purchased was in 1997. This is my first flat screen, high definition television. Until a few weeks ago I was not that versed in discussing state of the art televisions (I still am not).

    This television is everything it advertises. I have not used the online features but it does link up to my Panasonic blu-ray sound system. I had to spend three minutes setting it up but I imagine that would be the case with any tv.

    I bought a Cheetah mount and mounted the television easily (after three days its still on the wall). I bought Amazon brand HDMI cord. I find the picture quality excellent. I imagine the picture can be manipulated to please 97% of the population.

    The unit is a bit thicker than some of the units out there but once its on the wall, it doesn’t bother me. The power cord could be a bit longer. My brother was glad it had an hdmi and card slot on the left side.

    When I read reviews, I look for the “gotch-ya” that is not mentioned in the description. Things like only works with European outlets or requires monthly subscription. I did not encounter any surprises with this television.

  • Celilo says:

    Customer Rating Panasonic Viera TC-L42U30 input, 2011-06-24
    This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-L42U30
    I spent many months figuring out what TV would suit my interests best, incluing things like price, size, multimedia/input options, picture quality, and reliability. A few weeks ago I settled on Panasonic for the latter three, with size and price being congruous because most TVs are relatively the same price at the same size by any manufacturer.

    I received my shipment via Next-Day air after ordering it on a Wednesday night- the TV (and HDMI cable I ordered) were both processed and shipped that night and arrived at my door 11am that Friday. The packaging was very sturdy and the TV / cable neither had any defects, scratches, or signs of mishandling. Thank you UPS and Amazon warehouses.

    The setup for this TV was simple and smooth- Comes with a flat, sleek base that you attach a bracket to and then slide the TV onto via grooves in the mid-bottom of the device. Screws are then placed through the TV-into the bracket to secure it. I have no worries about the possibility of it being accidentally being bumped and knocking over.
    The setup of the HDMI input labeling and screen settings was very simple and fast and the TV did not go around the bush trying to teach you everything there was to know about the interface and menu selections — it knows there is a manual (very clearly written and illustrated) and it does not assume you are remedial. That was a plus in my book.

    I hooked up my Xbox 360 via HDMI cable purchased from Amazon (the one they sell had a lot of complaints about the cable being too stiff but I have experienced no such thing just for you information) and then turned on my console– The precision and clarity of the picture of the menu alone was very admirable and I was able to appreciate the Xbox logo for the first time. To test the picture I decided to play a couple of games: Mind you, I will not tell you what settings I use because everyone likes their picture to look different, but the ones I used I thoroughly loved.
    While playing Fallout 3, the textures and colors were very precise and true despite the game lacking in graphical detail in general. (most of Fallout 3’s graphics seem washed-out or faded, relying heavily on pale tones to produce a post-apocalyptic feeling. For those that are not familiar with the game.)
    While playing Call of Duty, after I got a feel for the wider and larger screen, I was able to pick out people and details in the distance that I could only make out with my best guess before… Example: On Launch when you spawn as a Defender in Search & Destroy, I ran to the left side by Bomb B and peered out over the barricades in the middle of the tracks looking at the large container in the enemy spawn– I could see very clearly the head of the player that peered out from around the crate and earned myself a quick and easy kill. This was not the case in previous TV experiences, so I was thrilled.
    I turned on Netflix and watched some Lord of the Rings streaming with HD quality and was pleasantly surprised by the clarity of the picture. The Motion Pro 4 technology is decent and does add to the fast-paced scenes and makes the video experience much more enjoyable. Colors were true and the details of faces were easily discernible at my 6-7 ft viewing distance. I also watched a little bit of Futurama (Suwoop) and some Grey’s Anatomy with my girlfriend and both were incredible.

    The sound quality on the TV is astounding as well. The biggest problem I came across with Flat-panel HDTVs of any brand was the sound quality sounding muffled or tiny, but this Panny produces some very clear, crisp sound ranges even at lower volumes. I am able to have the volume at/or around 28 and hear everything perfectly. I also live in an apartment that has single pane windows and noisy neighbors. 5 Star. Be sure to activate the Surround Sound feature because that does not come activated initially.

    So far I am extremely pleased with this TV and am no longer stressing about whether or not I made the right decision. All there is to do now is to purchase a nice 3-4 year warranty (unlikely to get Panasonic’s warranty) and go on enjoying my gaming/movie watching experience. 🙂

    If you have any questions I will be happy to update my review if I am able to answer them. Especially in reference to games. The Xbox 360 is my only entertainment device currently so be aware that quality of picture is significantly less than that of a PS3 or Bluray — I know this, and hope to get one or the other just for this TV!

  • Allen says:

    Customer Rating Great Mid-Range HDTV!, 2011-04-23
    This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-L42U30
    I wanted to purchase an tv that didn’t break the bank, but met my criteria of
    40-42″, multiple HDMI input, PC input, 1080p, 120hz and this fit the bill. I stayed away from plasma because to me the LCD picture quality is much crisper and I stayed away from LED because for the same sized LCD I can get a bigger screen.

    Note: The room that this tv resides in is 11′ by 15′ and it sits 8′ away from the couch. The size is just right for the room.

    Initial Setup

    Setup was very easy and I was up and running within minutes of taking the tv out of the box. I had to install the included stand and then set a couple of options and the date once the unit was powered on. The stand base is made out of plastic but is connected to the tv with a metal bracket. That said, when we first set the tv on the console it wobbled and I was concerned at first, but after a few days, I already forgot that it initially wobbled, so this was a non-issue. The unit itself is beautiful with a black plastic frame with a glossy finish. It should be noted that the tv monitor itself sits very low with the stand, once installed, there is a 1.5″ clearance from whatever the tv is sitting on and the bottom of the monitor itself, there is no way to adjust the height.

    Remote Control

    The remote control is standard, nothing fancy. I like the over-sized volume and channel buttons, very easy to find without looking at the remote.

    Sound

    Please keep in mind my room size above. The sound from the speakers are very good. Volume ranges from 0 to 100. When I want to immerse myself in a movie, I set the volume at 45, otherwise I set the volume between 25 and 30. Just don’t expect surround sound from them and you won’t be disappointed.

    Presets

    There are 5 presets in the Picture Menu: Standard, Cinema, Game, Custom and Vivid. I wasn’t a fan with the Standard, Game and Cinema presets. After playing around with the settings, I settled on a Custom preset I liked.

    Picture Quality

    I have my PS3 connected via HDMI and watching 1080p movies on this tv is stunning. I watched Pixar’s UP on blu-ray and the quality is surreal, it’s so life-like that it almost looks 3D, I noticed myself paying attention to little details in the movie that I never saw before. Even watching non-1080p video is great, 120hz just makes everything smooth. I also have my Roku connected via HDMI and streaming HD content is great, the only downside with HD is that when you watch non-HD content, it’s quite noticeable, but very much watchable on this tv.

    Games

    There is a Game preset and the tv states that this is optimized for gaming, however, I found that I preferred playing games on my Custom preset. I played FF XIII and Uncharted 2 and the quality is great. My guess is that the “optimized for gaming” is mainly for games FPS games, where every millisecond counts… but that’s just my guess.

    Turning Off 120hz

    A frequent complaint I’ve been reading regarding 120hz units is that it looks like a soap opera. I can confirm this initial impression, but you do get accustomed to it and I actually like it now. There is an Advanced picture option Motion Picture Pro 4 that can be set to Off, Weak or Strong. I like it, so I leave it on Strong.

    Viera Tools

    The remote control has a dedicated Viera Tools button and when pressed, it shows you 5 options: Viera Link, Slideshow, Viera Image Viewer, Game Mode and Eco. Here’s my thoughts on those options…

    1. Viera Link: since I didn’t own any compatible products, I don’t have any feedback on this tool. I guess to me it’s useless.

    2. Slideshow: the unit has an SD card slot, so you can load pictuers and run a slideshow. You can set the soundtrack of the slideshow to one of 5 music tracks built-in to the tv. Other slideshow options you can set are transition effect (11 types, including collage), photo effect (sepia and gray scale) and display interval. Display interval is the speed of the slideshow, it can be set to Fast, Normal, Slow, Very slow and Short. Setting this option to Short would transition the 9 MP photos I have on my SD card every 8 to 9 seconds, which seems like good performance for a tv.

    3. Viera Image Viewer: this previews the photos in the SD card, which is pretty fast. You can sort by month, folder or date and then run the slide show based on the sort. Neat.

    4. Game Mode: You can either choose Game or Standard. Selecting Game just sets the preset to Game. Unless it does something more then I’m not aware of it, then it seems useless.

    5. Eco: You can set options for “No signal for 10 minutes” and “No activity for 3 hours”. Basically, you can set whether it stays on or turns off for those options.

    Of the 5 tools above, it is the Slideshow that I found most useful and would likely use frequently. It was just so easy to load pictures on the SD card, press the SD Card button on the remote and run the slideshow with the soundtrack. It can also detect landscape versus portrait, so the pictures are shown with the correct orientation. My wife and I watched our wedding photos through this tool, we easily got lost in great memories… 🙂

    PC Input

    This is not Plug and Play (PnP). When I attached the VGA cable from my netbook, the screen size defaulted to 1024×768. After searching through the menu options, I was able to find the PC adjustments section that allowed me to change the resolution to one of the following: 1024×768, 1280×768 and 1366×768. I tried it on 1366×768, but I was getting some noise at the bottom of the screen, setting it on 1280×768 input resolution worked fine, though I had to adjust the horizontal and vertical position to see the entire screen.

    Timer

    This was a nice unexpected feature. I can set 5 different times when the TV either turns on or off. I will use this feature when I am out of town and want to make it seem like someone is home.

    Unused Features

    I already mentioned that I do not use the Viera Link tool, as I do not have compatible devices. Other features I will not use are the Closed caption and Password setting. The password feature would be useful for parents. If set, access to channels/shows can be disabled based on content. So if a particular channel has a program that is TV-14 that has Sexual or Violence content, it can be blocked. Access to input selection can be password protected as well. Pretty neat.

    Overall

    I am very happy with this purchase. The picture quality is great, especially 1080p content. The sound from the built-in speakers is very good. The slideshow tool that allows the tv to show pictures loaded in the built-in SD card slot was a welcome feature and performance was surprisingly good.

    Note: For those concerned with heat, it gives off fairly little heat for the size of the unit. When LCD’s first came out, I purchased a 26″ unit and that sucker was able to heat up my entire bedroom.

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