The TH-42PX500U starts with Panasonic's exceptional plasma picture quality and adds versatile connection options, PC compatibility, plus some key user conveniences. If you're looking for a plasma TV that excels as a true entertainment center, this Panasonic really stands apart from the crowd.

This is a "Digital Cable Ready" HDTV, which means it can receive analog and digital signals via cable, as well as over-the-air broadcasts. To get the most from the built-in cable tuner, you'll need a credit card-sized "CableCARD." The CableCARD slot on the rear of the set gives you the option of digital cable reception without a set-top box (ask your cable provider for details). With a CableCARD, there's one less component to hook up and you can do all your channel-changing using the TV remote. Picture quality is usually better, too. To simplify navigating among dozens of channels, the TV Guide On Screen program guide gives you point-and-click options to search for programs and schedule recordings to a separate VCR or DVD recorder.

The TH-42PX500U employs a pixel-by-pixel video processing system that increases horizontal resolution by 30%. Videophiles will also love this TV for something it lacks — a picture artifact called "false contouring." It's a common problem with digital displays where the transitions between different shades of the same color are too sharp and abrupt, giving scenes an artificially layered look. Panasonic's latest plasma panels can reproduce 8.6 billion colors in total, with over 2,000 shades of gradation. Images look smooth and natural and scenes have greater depth.

Tip: To find out if HDTV signals are available in your area, visit this helpful site and punch in your zip code.

Large Item Special Shipping: This item will be delivered and placed in any accessible room in your home. Available to physical addresses in 50 United States only. Limited delivery available to Alaska and Hawaii for $99 per item — call 1-888-955-6000 for more details. Sorry, we can't ship to P.O. Boxes or freight forwarders. Delivery takes 5-7 business days once your order has been processed. Extra charges may apply to items that must be carried up more than 5 flights of stairs. Allow extra time for delivery to remote addresses. Free return shipping not available with this model.

Product Highlights:

  • high-definition TV — receives and decodes digital standard-definition and HDTV signals from over-the-air broadcasts (antenna required) and cable TV service (CableCARD™ required)
  • widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 1024 x 768 pixels
  • 3000:1 contrast ratio
  • 160º(H) x 160º(V) viewing angle
  • Real Black Drive System
  • Sub Pixel Controller video processing
  • 8.6 billion colors; 2048 shades of gradation
  • TV Guide On Screen® 8-day program guide
  • 1-tuner Picture-in-Picture (split-screen)
  • built-in stereo speakers (13 watts x 2)
  • illuminated multibrand remote control
  • 6 A/V inputs, including:
    • 3 composite video (2 rear, 1 front)
    • 3 S-video (2 rear, 1 front)
    • 2 HD-compatible component video (accepts 1080i/720p/480p/480i signals)
    • 1 HDMI digital audio/video input
  • PC input: analog RGB (D-Sub 15-pin)
  • RF input for antenna/cable
  • optical digital audio output for Dolby® Digital
  • SD™ & PC Card slots for viewing digital photos
  • detachable tilt/swivel stand (depth is 14-1/2")
  • 44-3/4"W x 28-3/4"H x 5-1/2"D (32-3/8"H x 14-1/2"D on stand)
  • weight: 88.2 lbs.
  • long-life panel (60,000 hours)
  • warranty: 1 year parts & labor — in-home service
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Contact your local cable provider for details regarding the availability and costs of CableCARD-related services

Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • 42" Widescreen Plasma TV
  • 1 Pedestal base
  • 2 Pedestal poles
  • 4 Long machine screws (each screw has 1 flat washer and 1 lock washer)
  • 4 Short machine screws (each screw has 1 flat washer and 1 lock washer)
  • Two 6" fastening bands
  • One 8" safety band
  • 2 Plastic clamps
  • 1 Wood screw
  • 3 Self-tapping screws
  • One 5C-2V "F" type antenna adapter
  • 1 Large ferrite core
  • 5 Small ferrite cores (one is gray and the other four are off-white)
  • One 3" wire tie
  • 2 Plastic cable clampers
  • IR blaster with attached 58" cable
  • 1 Self-adhesive pad (for mounting IR blaster)
  • 6.25' AC power cord
  • EUR7627Z50 Wireless remote control
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • Operating Instructions (English/Spanish)
  • Pedestal for Plasma Television Installation Instructions (10 languages)
  • Product Registration card
  • Panasonic Customer Care Plan card (extended service plan)
  • "Important: TV Infrared (IR) Controller" note
  • "Display of Listing in TV Guide" sheet (English/Spanish/French)
  • "Addendum to Initial Guide Setup for TV Guide" sheet (English/Spanish/French)
  • TV Guide On Screen note (English/Spanish/French)

Product Research

Features
Remote Control
Wall Mounting
Inputs and Outputs Notes

Features

Real Black Drive System: Conventional plasma displays tend to illuminate blacks, which lowers the contrast. In Panasonic plasma displays, however, the pre-discharge emission intensity is greatly reduced, and the number of emissions per field is cut from the usual 12 to 1. This dramatically reduces black levels and provides deep, rich blacks. It also achieves a high contrast ratio of 3000:1.

8.58 Billion Colors: From deep blacks providing excellent shadow detail to vibrant colors rendering brilliantly bright scenes, the TH-42PX500U displays an incredible 8.58 billion colors.

2048 Shades of Gradation: Plasma displays can suffer from an artifact called "false contouring," where transitions between different shades of the same color are too sharp. These transitions can appear as distinct lines between the different shades of color. Having 2048 shades of gradation helps minimize the false contouring artifact so color transitions take on a smooth, natural appearance.

Mach Band Effect Enhancer: The appearance of an object, as perceived by the human eye, is influenced by the colors of the objects surrounding it. This is known as the Mach Band Effect. Panasonic Plasma TVs feature an M.B.E enhancer, which utilizes the principals of this theory to enhance the brightness of objects on the screen, helping improve sharpness.

CableCARD Slot: This TV has a back panel CableCARD slot that allows digital cable reception without a set-top box. CableCARDs will be available from your local cable provider.

HDTV (ATSC) Tuner: The TV has a built-in over-the-air HDTV (ATSC) tuner, so you don't have to purchase a separate digital set-top box to receive and decode over-the-air HDTV/SDTV signals.

Electronic Program Guide: When tuning a digital station, a guide is available displaying information about the program (title, end time, rating, resolution, and aspect ratio).

TV Guide On Screen System: The TV Guide On Screen system is a free, interactive, on-screen program guide built into the TV that lists schedules and information for TV programs in your area. The TV Guide On Screen system includes the following features:

  • Listings Service: The system displays eight days of local program listings and descriptions from broadcast and cable. You can tune to any program, schedule a program to record, or set a reminder.
  • Search: You can search for programs alphabetically, by keyword, or by category. Within the categories, you can sort by show type, show title, or starring actor.
  • Schedule: Schedule lets you review, edit, or delete Record and Remind events that you set previously.
  • Setup: After you initially complete Guide Setup, you can make changes to existing Guide settings.

Native Resolution: The TH-42PX500U has a display resolution of 1024 x 768. All incoming signals are converted to this native resolution. The Digital input and component video inputs will accept 1080i, 720p, 480p, and 480i, and will display them as 1024 x 768.

Progressive Scan Doubler: The progressive scan doubler displays a full frame of video in 1/60th of a second by de-interlacing the incoming video signal and progressively scanning the image. This scan doubler also provides even more image enhancement by improving the quality of diagonal lines in a moving picture.

Aspect Modes: Depending on the input signal, you can choose one of the following aspect modes:

  • 4:3: displays a 4:3 picture at its standard size with gray bars along the sides
  • Zoom: magnifies the picture uniformly, so the top and bottom are cut off
  • Full: stretches the picture horizontally to fill the screen (elongates the picture)
  • Just: stretches a 4:3 picture to fill the screen but with aspect correction applied to the sides of the screen so that elongation is only apparent at the left and right edges of the screen

Picture Mode: You can choose one of the following picture modes:

  • Vivid: provides enhanced contrast and sharpness when viewing in a well lit room
  • Standard: recommended for normal viewing conditions with subdued room lighting
  • Cinema: for watching movies in a dark room, provides a soft, film-like picture

Video NR: Video Noise Reduction removes snow from a weaker analog TV signal.

3D-Y/C Digital Comb Filter: This filter minimizes noise and cross-color in the picture when the composite video input is used.

Color Matrix: When viewing a 480p signal input through the component video inputs, this TV will automatically optimize the color parameters for 480p transmissions. Manual adjustments are also possible for non-standard DTV formats.

BBE High-Definition Sound: BBE High-Definition Sound provides true linear phase correction and dynamic amplitude compensation. With BBE, speech intelligibility is improved and the dynamic range of musical passages is restored to provide outstandingly natural sound.

BBE/VIVA 3D High Definition Sound System: BBE/VIVA provides a musically accurate natural 3D image with hi-fi sound. The clarity of the sound is improved by BBE while the width, depth and height of the sound image are expanded by BBE's proprietary 3D sound processing.

Surround Function: The surround function enhances audio response when listening to stereo programming. This function is active only for the TV's built-in speakers.

Audio Leveler: The Audio Leveler monitors the difference in audio levels between inputs and minimizes the change in volume when you change inputs.

Sleep Timer: This television features a built-in sleep timer, set by remote control, that turns the TV off automatically after 30, 60, or 90 minutes.

Programmable On/Off Timer: The programmable timers allow you to program the TV set to turn itself on and off at designated times, on designated days, tuned to designated channels. Up to 5 events can be programmed using the timers. An "event" can have multiple episodes (Daily, Mon-Fri, Every Wed, etc).

Input Labels: Each input can be labeled to reflect the source connected. The label options are Skip, VCR, DVD, Cable, DBS, PVR, Game, and Aux.

Input Skip: If an input's label is set to skip, that input isn't selected when toggling through inputs with the TV/Video button.

Lock: The Lock function has four settings to block viewing of particular channels or inputs. You create a 4-digit password that's required to bypass the lock. The available settings are:

  • Off: nothing is locked
  • All: all channels are locked
  • Game: channels 3 and 4 and the video inputs are locked
  • CH: locks specific channels

Parental Control: This TV incorporates V-Chip technology, allowing you to set a viewing limitation based on the TV and movie ratings. The limitation is customized to specific industry ratings. The control is accessed and protected by the 4-digit password.

SD Card Slot: The SD card slot allows you to use the following media: SD card and miniSD card.

Note: A miniSD adapter is required to use a miniSD card.

PC Card Slot: The PC card slot allows you to use the following media: SD card, miniSD card, Compact Flash, Smart Media, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, xD Picture Card, and Flash ATA.

Note: A PC card adapter is required to use the above media.

Photo Viewer: The Photo Viewer lets you display JPEG images recorded on media inserted into the SD and PC card slots. When the media is inserted into the appropriate slot, a thumbnail screen appears showing all the available images. The following functions are available during playback: slideshow and image rotation, which allows you to rotate the current image 90-degrees clockwise. You can play a slideshow once or repeatedly.

Note: Photo Viewer can only show Baseline JPEG files with the following resolution: 160 x 120 to 2560 x 1920. The Photo Viewer can display a maximum of 9,999 files.

Remote Control

Multibrand Remote: The supplied remote is pre-programmed to operate this unit and a number of functions on other brands of components, including VCRs, CD players, DVD players, personal video recorders, cassette decks, receivers, cable boxes, and DBS receivers. The OK button and directional keys allow you to move the on-screen selector, making menu navigation simple and efficient. A Light button that glows in the dark allows you to illuminate all the buttons for three seconds, making for easy operation in the dark.

Wall Mounting

Wall Mounting: On the back of the TV there are four threaded inserts to attach a wall mount bracket. The inserts require M8 bolts and the spacing is 25.938" wide x 12.563" tall.

Inputs and Outputs Notes

HDMI Input: This input consists of left and right RCA audio jacks and an HDMI terminal. The HDMI terminal can accommodate a copy-protected digital connection (HDCP) to other devices (such as digital set-top boxes) that have compatible interfaces. When using an adapter to connect a component with a DVI output, the RCA jacks are used to carry the audio signal.

Component Video Inputs: The two component video inputs will accept 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i input.

PC: This input consists of a stereo minijack and an analog RGB (D-Sub 15-pin) jack. This jack allows you to connect a personal computer with a D-Sub 15-pin output. When using the RGB (D-Sub 15-pin) jack, you must use the PC Audio input for your audio connection.

G-LINK: When using the recording features of the TV Guide On Screen system, this minijack output allows you to use the supplied IR blaster to control your VCR.

Digital Audio Out: The rear-panel optical digital output allows you to send a Dolby Digital bit stream to a Dolby Digital receiver or decoder. If the program doesn't include a Dolby Digital soundtrack, a PCM bit stream is output.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Panasonic TH-42PX500U Reviews

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Outstanding

Written By Howard, Bergen County, NJ on Monday, March 20, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This set performed better than advertised (not too common these days). Setup was quite simple provided you follow the directions properly. Colors and black/whites are amazingly vivid, even in a well lit room. We will be trading up to the new 50" as soon as it is available...it is that good and worth the money.

Great TV

Written By Rohit, New York on Thursday, October 27, 2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Just got this TV and so far it has lived up to all my expectations. Great picture, easy to use. I haven't hooked up a DVD or speakers yet, so I won't comment on that. I did play a DVD by hooking up my computer with no problem. The built in speakers are fine. No complaints. Looks great. Highly recommend.

VERY nice product

Written By mike, San Francisco, CA on Friday, September 30, 2005

This Panasonic plasma is very nice with great picture quality. I feel it was a good purchase.
Pros:
-Clarity is really beautiful.
-Plenty of inputs with easy setup (hardware and software).
-Good looking black boarder.
-Picture in picture (although only 1 tuner)

Cons:
-Cheap remote (semi-programmable) - only controls most BASIC of DVD/Receiver/VCR functions. - I have a SONY DVD and a Harmon/Kardon receiver (both VERY popular brand names, which I assumed would have better functionality in the remote for them. I can't even skip a chapter on my DVD)
-Picture in picture ("PIP") only has 1 receiver? - can't get PIP for 2 channels at once? Who wants to watch TV and a DVD at the same time? And you can't get a PIP box in the upper left corner of picture like other PIP TVs only split screen or 1 large next to a small screen (wasting a whole lot of the screen)
-The TV guide doesn't work on Satellite? - I have satellite only provider and the TV guide cannot download the programming. What a bummer!
-Puts out a lot of heat! I imagine all plasmas do, but I might pick the LCD next time for the lighter weight and less heat (heats up the whole living room and I imagine uses a lot of power too?

Overall I like the product and it has very good quality, but knowing what I know now I might pick one with 2 tuners and a better remote.

INCREDIBLE!!!

Written By Giovanni, Bronx, NY on Tuesday, September 06, 2005

You know how a lot of times when you buy something it doesn't perform as well as it did in the store...? Well, this TV not only met, but exceeded my expectations. This is the BEST TV on the market. It has all the inputs you will ever need...the image is amazing...it's easy to use...i will never go back to regular TV again!

BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT!

Get everything you’ll need to enjoy your new Panasonic TH-42PX500U

Protect your investment from power surges and interference.
Replace all of your remotes with just one that is easy to use and easy to set up.
Optimize the picture quality of your new TV or tune up your home audio system for maximum performance.
Get free HDTV in most areas with an antenna.
Keep the area around your wall-mounted TV looking clean with solutions that help conceal the A/V cables and power cord.
Use coaxial RF cables to connect your TV to an antenna or wall cable TV outlet.
Connect your non-HD video sources to your TV with composite video cables.
Have your new TV installed by qualified professionals.
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