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Panasonic TX-42AS500B review

 Review: June 2014  
 

Rating: 3 stars

In a nutshell: The Panasonic Viera TX-42AS500B is a family-sized Smart TV that offers outstanding value for money. Picture quality is good, but the restriction of just two HDMI connections is an issue.



 

Review

Panasonic's AS500B model is the same as the A400B but with Smart TV added (the "S" stands for "Smart".) The 42A650B is possibly the cheapest family-sized TV you can buy with Smart TV and is an attractive proposition for that reason alone. However, the slow 100Hz refresh rate and the fact that there are only two HDMI connections available both count against it.

Design & looks

The A650B's best design feature is the ultra narrow bezel surrounding the screen. Apart from that, it's not really a design icon, although the black stand is practical. It's not a slimline model, measuring a rather bulky 7cm deep, and definitely not suitable for wall hanging. Having said that, the styling is certainly a lot better than typical budget models. It's not a look that will complement every room, but in the right environment it could look good.

The sales package includes a standard remote control and the TV is rated A+ for energy efficiency.

Picture quality

A 42 inch screen is ideal for family viewing, and that alone will make this TV a very attractive option to anyone on a tight budget. It's a Full HD 1080p screen capable of reaching respectably dark black levels and also producing a good dynamic range. A selection of screen modes are available including Cinema and a custom mode for those who like to get colour balance just right. Panasonic's LED backlight blinking system works well too, and the TV handles both high definition and standard definition source material competently.

The main problem is that 100Hz backlighting is too slow for a 42 inch screen, so motion effects can sometimes be a problem, especially when watching sport or action. It's not a match for the more expensive Panasonic models, but is on a par with Samsung's Series 5 LED TVs.

Audio quality

This model has two full range speakers, with V Audio simulated surround sound. The total power of 10W x 2 is typical for a cheaper-end television.

Smart TV

The difference between this model and the A400B is the addition of Smart functionality. All the main Smart TV functions are covered here, including Catch-up TV from the BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport and Eurosport. You can also watch YouTube and Netflix. Facebook and Twitter apps are available, as well as a full web browser. The user interface is friendly, with a customisable "my Home Screen" that can be personalised for each family member.

The system is also Skype-ready, although you'll need to add a camera to use this option.

Connectivity

The TV includes a built-in Freeview HD tuner with a 7-day Electronic Programme Guide.

Internet connectivity is available via built-in Wi-Fi and an ethernet port. The TV is DLNA certified and can be used to source pictures and video on your home network. It also supports display mirroring of compatible smartphones and tablets. Panasonic's Viera remote app turns your smartphone or tablet into a TV remote controller with added functionality.

The TV can connect to other AV equipment via two HDMI connections, one of which is ARC compatible. There are also a range of legacy AV connections, including SCART and component. A USB connection is also available.

The fact that there are only two HDMI connections is limiting and should be factored into any buying decision. For instance, if one HDMI is used for a set-top box and one for a Blu-Ray player, that leaves nothing to connect a games console.

Conclusion - Smart value!

If you're looking for the cheapest 42 inch TV with Smart TV, you've probably found it here. That alone provides a powerful reason to buy. And the AS500B is a good TV with decent picture quality and plenty of Smart TV functions. We'd recommend it on that basis.

But before deciding, just bear in mind the limit of two HDMI connections. If this proves to be inadequate, then this bargain buy could turn into an expensive mistake. 


Panasonic TX-42AS500B features include:

User questions

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Why cant i use my external drive on this smart tv?

Asked by mike from britain on 3rd Jan 2017
I have also lg smart tv which i connect my external drive it picks media on it straight away. Panasonic just reads no connected devices.

How do I find out source on remote?

Asked by PHIL from WALES on 25th Aug 2016



Panasonic TX-42AS500B user reviews

Love this product? Hate it? Please share your experiences to help other people choose the product that's best for them. Please do not review this product if you have not used it, and please ask questions in our User Questions section above. Please do not use swear words or offensive language, and please, no advertising!

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Average rating from 2 reviews:

Reviewed by WILLIAM from UNITED KINGDOM on 20th Oct 2015
THIS A REALLY GREAT TV I HAVE HAD NO PROBLEMS WITH IT AT ALL IT DOES EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS IT WILL
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Reviewed by Philippe from UK on 29th Aug 2014
You can add an HDMI auto switch if you need more connections, they are very cheap, got one from ebay for 7.
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