For those as concerned about the bottom line as the picture on the screen or the hottest new features, the 42-inch Panasonic TC-P42X3 looks like a nice fit. The good news is that while picture quality and features don't measure up to the most expensive TVs -- such as the bigger and pricier Panasonic TC-P55VT30 (Discontinued) -- it costs only a small fraction of what such sets typically sell for.
Blacks are not as deep as found on more expensive plasma TVs, but they are much better than other sets in its price range. One reviewer cites some issues with color performance, but others, including owners, are very pleased in that regard. The resolution is only 720p, but that's okay in a screen size this small at typical viewing distances. All-in-all, the prevailing opinion is that among less expensive TVs, you'll be hard pressed to find one with as good a picture as the Panasonic TC-P42X3 for everyday viewing.
Most budget-oriented TVs don't have many goodies in their goodie bag. For example, the 42-inch Samsung PN42D450 gets pretty good user reviews and costs the same; however, it is almost devoid of features. The 42-inch Panasonic TC-P42X3, on the other hand, doesn't include 3D support, but streaming features are on board. The lineup of content partners is weak compared with the high-priced competition, but the most popular ones, such as Netflix, are available. DLNA compliance means that you can stream video, audio and photos from your computer to your TV screen as well. The plasma TV is Wi-Fi capable, but you'll need to purchase a separate adapter for that (*Est. $80), or connect the TV directly to your home network. The TC-P42X3 also has Panasonic's Viera Image viewer, which let's you view photos and videos stored on an SD memory card. The step-up Panasonic TC-P42S30 offers a nearly identical lineup of features but adds 1080p resolution to the mix. Reviews thus far have been good, but the TV is a bit more expensive. Panasonic's TC-PX3 series is available in a couple of larger screen sizes as well. Those are the 46-inch Panasonic TC-P46X3 and 50-inch Panasonic TC-P50X3 .
We've found a couple of professional reviews for the 42-inch Panasonic TC-P42X3, as well as a good selection of user reviews. For expert insights, see the reports at TelevisionInfo.com and ConsumerReports.org. BestBuy.com and Amazon.com have the most user reviews.
Those that want lots and lots of technical details will want to read the pages-long write-up at TelevisionInfo.com. The rest can jump right to the conclusion to learn this notoriously tough reviewer's take of the Panasonic TC-P42X3. Some serious shots -- not echoed elsewhere -- are taken at the plasma TV's color performance. However, Chris Thomas still says that "it offers decent performance at a price that won't break the bank."
Review: Panasonic Viera TC-P42X3 HDTV Review, Chris Thomas, April 27, 2011
While TelevisionInfo.com offers reams and reams of opinion and data, ConsumerReports.org renders its findings in just a few short paragraphs. Still, while the technically obsessed will leave unsatisfied, the report is based on hands-on testing, and ratings and rankings are provided so you can see how the Panasonic TC-P42X3 stacks up against other options.
Review: Plasma TVs, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Nearly 30 Amazon.com users have weighed in on the Panasonic TC-P42X3 thus far, and most are pretty happy judging from the 4.1-star overall rating it receives. A small handful of owners do have some bones to pick, however, citing issues getting streaming set up.
Review: Panasonic VIERA TC-P42X3 42-Inch 720p Plasma HDTV, Contributors to Amazon.com
Just as many user reviews are posted here as at Amazon.com, but satisfaction is even higher. Nearly every owner posting says that they would recommend the Panasonic TC-P42X3 to a friend. At the time of our visit, only one owner had rated the plasma TV less than 4 stars, and most give it perfect scores.
Review: Panasonic - 42" Class / 720p / 600Hz / Plasma HDTV, Contributors to Amazon.com