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Panasonic TH-42PZ700U High Definition Plasma Television


Pros: Good picture quality in general, priced right on sale in 2008.

Cons: Poor blacks, poor viewing even in dark room

We bought this in March 2008, on sale at Costco. A friend had a larger (50") version of the same set; we liked it, but the 42" was fine for us then. Now, of course, it's pretty dinky-looking, even in our very small (6' x 8') "home theater".

It is a very basic TV, plasma or otherwise, by today's standards, with no Internet connection, only 2 HDMI connections, and none of the other modern trappings I'm probably not even aware of. It was the first TV we'd had in 13 years, and was fine for us.

Setup was moderately difficult, mostly because of all the options I knew nothing about, and still don't. Even with the 1/2"-thick manual, it's hard to use.

The remote and menu system are cumbersome to use, but ALL such controls seem to be hard to use.

Picture quality is satisfactory, but not as spectacular as I'd expected. As mentioned in the Cons, I am very disappointed with the blacks. It's especially annoying in today's dramatic shows and movies where the directors seem to be in love with very low-light scenes.

A problem developed with it about a year after we bought it -- a common problem, as it turned out, and discussed at length in http://www.avsforum.com/t/1269808/vertical-black-bar-on-panasonic-42-plasma. It was intermittent on startup, and Panasonic's response was that I had to take it in to an Authorized Service Center. Even if I felt like taking the 84-pound set off the wall and schlepping it into the ASC, they said they couldn't do anything until they actually saw it fail, so I'd have been without the set for weeks, and there was a $100 charge just for trying. So I found the AVS forum, found the service manual for the set, determined the failing part, and bought the part for $20 on ShopJimmy. It's still failing, and eventually it'll be enough of an annoyance that I'll fix it. Maybe.

All in all, it was a reasonably-priced entry into the world of modern TV sets. When it comes time to replace it, I would not rule out a modern Panasonic equivalent, but wlii look seriously at other options, and hopefully be a more well-educated consumer.
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Panasonic TH-42PZ700U High Definition Plasma Television

42" Plasma TV.

Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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