Panasonic TX-42AS740B review
|Review: July 2014|
In a nutshell: The Panasonic TX-42AS740B is a family-sized TV with built-in Freetime. The Smart TV functionality is excellent, but there are issues with picture quality and the TV seems over-priced.
Design & looks
Panasonic's TX-42AS740B is a high-end TV and definitely has a touch of style compared to the cheaper models, but placed next to Samsung's gorgeous H7000 it doesn't really seem to be in the same league. It's silver hairline bezel is certainly attractive, and so is its slender matching base, but at this price we were perhaps expecting a little more. Nevertheless, it's a contemporary look that will fit into any style of room without attracting too much attention.
The sales package includes a standard remote control and also a touchpad-based controller.
It's quite rare these days to find an IPS screen in use, but that's what the AS740B has. IPS panels traditionally offer the benefit of wider viewing angles - ideal for a family TV - but at the expense of slower response times for gamers and less deep blacks. All those things are true here.
For general day to day viewing, the picture quality is fine, but if you're spending this much money on a TV, you're probably looking for more than just fine. The IPS screen, coupled with the lack of any kind of local dimming means that contrast levels are relatively poor and the dynamic range is limited. In darker scenes, parts of the picture may appear grey.
On the positive side, Panasonic's motion interpolation system is excellent. Although the screen has a native response of just 100Hz, the backlight blinking and frame interpolation system system claims to deliver an effective 1200Hz.
Overall motion handling is excellent, and the wide viewing angle is a plus, but we can't get away from the lack of dynamic range.
The TV uses passive 3D, which cuts back on visual distractions such as flicker and crosstalk, and also allows lightweight glasses to be used. We have to say that where the TV misses out on 2D picture quality, it gains in 3D, so if this is an important factor for you, the Panasonic could be an excellent choice. Only two pairs of glasses are included, so you'll need to buy more to equip the family.
This model has two full range speakers, with VR Audio simulated surround sound. The total power of 10W x 2 is adequate, but by no means special. Although mid-range tones such as voices are reproduced well, there's little in the way of bass. For a high-end TV, audio quality is rather underwhelming and we'd strongly recommend using a separate speaker system to get the most out of this TV.
The AS740 is one of the few TVs to include catch-up TV view Freeview's Freetime service. This allows you to roll back up to 7 days viewing using the electronic programme guide and access programmes via the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5.
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 "My" button on the remote makes recommendations for you based on your viewing history.
A dual-core processor makes the Smart TV responsive.
The system is also Skype-ready, and even includes a built-in pop-up HD camera.
The TV can connect to other AV equipment via 3 HDMI connections, one of which is ARC compatible. 3 USB connections are available as well as a handy microSD card slot. There are also a range of legacy AV connections, including SCART and component/composite.
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 includes built-in Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners.
Conclusion - over-priced
The 42AS740B is in many ways a good TV, but it misses the "outstanding" mark in several ways. The IPS screen limits the 2D performance of the screen, although it does compensate with a wide viewing angle and excellent 3D performance. For gamers, the input lag is a little too slow. Smart TV is excellent, especially using the built-in Freetime, but 3 HDMI connections is perhaps a but limiting on a high-end TV like this. Audio quality is fair, but can't compete with rivals like the Samsung H7000.
Overall this is a good TV, but it doesn't do enough to justify its high price. The Sony KDL-42W829B is very similar to the Panasonic, but much cheaper.
Panasonic TX-42AS740B features include:
- 42 inch LED-backlit IPS screen
- 1,920 x 1,080 resolution
- Clear Panel
- Freeview HD
- Game mode
- Passive 3D (2 pairs of polarized glasses included)
- Smart TV functions
- Audio: Full Range stereo speakers (10W x 2), VR-Audio True surround sound, Dolby Digital Plus/ DTS 2.0+Digital Out
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet (LAN) x 1, HDMI x 3, USB x 2, SD card, headphone x 1, component in (Y/Pb/Pr) / composite in (AV) x 1, SCART x 1, digital audio out (optical) x 1, CI (Common Interface), DLNA, display mirroring
- Standard remote / Touchpad remote
- Energy efficiency class: A+
- Typical power consumption: 48W
- Size without stand (WxHxD): 962 x 562 x 53 mm
- Size with stand (WxHxD): 962 x 607 x 206 mm
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Panasonic TX-42AS740B user reviews
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Average rating from 4 reviews:
Reviewed by dave
from n ireland
on 18th Jun 2015
overpriced and poor quality plcture.
Reviewed by Paperhouse
on 20th Mar 2015
Unable to set reminders in the viewing guide.
Reviewed by D kathrens
on 15th Jan 2015
Nice tv but some glaring drawbacks. Cannot read program guide in the blurred stupid green print. Interface so slow. Cannot find freetime. Instructions none existant. Not user friendly at all. My old 37" far superior.
Reviewed by Harry
on 27th Dec 2014
Whereas the Samsung Smart TV immediately lets you choose if an USB is inserted, I can not get my home movies to work on this tv that my inlaws just purchased. In my opnion it is not user friendly, and does not give any clues of what goes wrong.