Ten... Freeview HD 42-47in TVs
Panel beaters for under a grand
Panasonic Viera TX-P42UT50
Panasonic’s entry-level plasma proves that you don’t need to spurge on a flagship model to get a high quality display. Built around a 3D ready Full HD panel (Active Shutter specs extra), it offers crisp detail and bold colours. That said, the set lacks the black filtering found at the top of the brand’s plasma line. It still goes dark with contrast quoted at 4,000,000:1.
You are limited to just two rear-panel HDMI inputs though, which could prove frustrating. Media playback from local USB is comprehensive and Panasonic’s on-line streaming portal, complete with BBC iPlayer and Netflix, is only ever a network connection away. Solid value.
Reg Rating 80%
More info Panasonic
Arguably the best built screen in our group, this son et lumière TV features the Spectra 2 iteration of Philips’ trademark Ambilight illumination, which casts a multicoloured halo around the screen. Picture quality is excellent, provided you dial down the sharpness and treat the brand’s HD Natural Motion processing with caution. Audio is also a cut above, the 2 x 14W output having both volume and body. 3D is of the cheap and cheerful Passive variety.
Without being over-loaded, Philips’ on-line IPTV portal is fine, where you’ll find BBC iPlayer, YouTube, DailyMotion and Acetrax. File playback is comprehensive (AVI, MKV, MP3, WMA etc) from USB and across a LAN. With USB timeshifting and integrated Wi-Fi thrown in, you’ve got a solid gold value proposition.
Reg Rating 85%
More info Philips