Panasonic TH-42PZ81


Panasonic 42in IDTV Plasma with in-built Freesat (TH-42PZ81)
Released: 20th June 2008
Discontinued: 24th February 2009

Panasonic Freesat Plasma TV

Panasonic 42in TH-42PZ81 Price Comparison (buy online now)

This product is now discontinued and the page will no longer be updated. You may still be able to buy this product from one of our listed retailers below, just follow the link.

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About the Panasonic 42in TH-42PZ81 Plasma with in-built Freesat Receiver

The Panasonic TH-42PZ81 is the first plasma television with both Freesat and Freeview receivers, allowing you ultimate choice on platform for your television programme viewing. The in-built Freesat receiver combined with the Panasonics outstanding high-definition picture and sound, makes this the set to own. Combining the two, you can enjoy sharp pictures, vivid colours, multi-channel sound, and various services with the interactive contents.

Full-HD models with freesat built-in, High Moving Picture Resolution and Advanced Networking Capabilities.

Its state-of-the-art technology gives amazing picture quality, with the Intelligent Frame Creation giving fantastic resolution even during fast moving scenes – something football fans and film buffs will both appreciate.

Every image is richly detailed – from the brightest sunshine to the darkest night sky – and contrast is enhanced by the new Real Black Drive system that creates deep, robust blacks and reproduces scenes with a fine balance of light and shadow.

Sound is enhanced with its in-built V-Real Pro 3 surround sound technology (with bass extension), while the 24p Real Cinema settings offers enhanced judder-free playback, giving a smooth ‘film’ look. The 3 HDMI sockets allow you to hook-up your Blu-ray player, PVRs and games consoles with ease.

The TH42PZ81B is also capable of playing footage straight from your camcorder in high-definition mode and you can view a slideshow of your photos – just remove the SD memory card from your digital still camera, and slip it in the slot.

Panasonic 42″ TH-42PZ81B Key Features

– 42in (106cm) diagonal
– 16:9 widescreen
– HD Ready
– 2,073,600 (1,920 x 1,080) pixels
– 30,000:1 native; 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
– Freesat built-in
– Freeview built-in
– 3 HDMI Inputs (1 front, 2 rear)
– 2 Scart
– Remote Control
– 20W speaker output (RMS)
– Headphone Socket
– Tap-top stand included
– Dimension w/o stand (H x W x D) 68cm x 105cm x 11cm
– Dimension with stand (H x W x D) 73cm x 116cm x 33cm
– Weight 30kg (w/o stand), 34kg (with stand)

Panasonic 42in TH42PZ81 latest software version

1.616 (09-Mar-09)

Panasonic 42in TH42PZ81 Plasma Official Website

Panasonic 42in TH42PZ81 Manual (23mb – user manual)

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19 thoughts on “Panasonic TH-42PZ81”

  1. Do you own or have owned this product? Then why not give us your opinion to help assist potential customers in deciding which Freesat product is right for them. Please stick to opinions/reviews of the specific product on this page. Also, don’t forget to give this product a rating, using the stars at the top!


  2. Purchased this tv shortly after launch. After preaching to many and being a plasma hater. I read the facts and compared the picture quality from the same sources against the Sony 40w4000, samsung 40a656 and other comparitive models. The Panasonic plasma blew away the competition. Vibrant and natural colours, excellent HD picture, great with my PS3 for gaming. The Freesat TV guide is not as pretty as the Humax box, but surely makes up for it in other areas. For the price, it would be difficult to find a similar set with superb SD and HD picture quality. Only other snag is that the remote control need to be pointed in the direction of the set and buttons are slightly harder to press.


  3. Just bought this tv and am extremely pleased. I looked at various LCDs on offer and similar plasmas by other manufacturers but the Panasonic was a class on its own. The picture quality, colours and sound are of the highest standard and the on-screen menus and help options make using this tv very simple. The inbuilt freesat, freeview and analogue tuners ensure that all reception scenarios are catered for. The freesat epg is very easy to use (although a bit boring in appearence). You are able to easily add non-freesat channels but I have yet to find how to rearrange these channels in its own dedicated section. The intelligent auto aspect ratio is a must to prevent image burn from viewing 4:3 broadcasts by automatically expanding to fill the screen.


  4. Only had this for 3 weeks, purchased from Lasky’s. Always had LCD before so this is my first plasma.
    Beautiful colour rich in depth, texture etc.
    very high quality picture on standard Freesat definition for all the channels.
    Have also purchased a panasonic PVR to maximise the effect of using the Viera link, can now operate with a single remote.
    Also has Freeview tuner integrated in the unit.
    Viewing “upscaled” DVD from the panasonic or a little single Samsung unit provides very high quality output from standard DVD’s until the price of Blueray becomes sensible

    Very impressed, very satisfied


  5. I bought this after reading a lot of reviews on the Panasonic Plasmas in general and I have not been dissapointed. Purchased mine from John Lewis with the 5 year guarantee as soon as they were released. I know they have now dropped in price, but I honsetly can say I do not mind. Yes you do have to point the remote squarely at the TV, but thats not hard! Never having seen a Humax EPG, I can not compare, but I can say its simple to use and its also damn easy to add other non freesat channels, so I have Luxe HD and chanel 5 already. As Mark has stated I have not managed to sort them into their own dedicated section, but its easy enough to recall the channel numbers. Picture is simply stunning in HD and SD is very good. Now all I have to do is decide wether to wait for the Panasonic Freesat PVR or go for the Humax 🙂

    Extremley pleased and satisfied


  6. I think the ealy adopters like me wished they had waited until now to buy. The 42″ model has now dropped from £1299 to £899 at John Lewis and still gives you a 5 Year guarantee! If you have the space for a 46″ or a 50″ which can now be for the same price as the 42″ when launched, then go for it. The cinematic impact cannot be underestimated. It may look titanic at first compared to your CRT, but you get used to the size very quickly.

    For that price it now makes the Pioneer PDP-4280XD with its non 1080P specification look stupidly expensive for the incremental improvement in picture quality. The Pioneer may be end of line now, but the best going price of £1199 has hardly changed in the last six months.


  7. Till
    You say above that you have Luxe HD and its easy to recall the channel numbers. I’ve successfully tuned my Panasonic freesat tv via setup – manual tuning to:
    12 643 MHz – Horizontal Polarisation – SR : 27 500 bps and “keep” . LUXE HD can be seen behind the setup box, but when I press return out of setup it returns to a freesat channel. How please do you view the channel given that it’s not on the freesat epg channel list.


  8. Bought one from John Lewis a few weeks back £899 + 5yr Gtee .Excellent picture good colours some of the good Non HD output is almost as good as HD.
    Its teamed up with a DMR EX77 which is so easy to use with Viera link and a PS3 which gives excellent picture on Blu Ray and Games. It could do with more HDMI sockets I’ve now used both on the back so where do I plug in my HD Satellite receiver?
    The SD card slot is useful, using it with a SD card from a Panasonic TZ5 you get various viewing selections so you can do a slide show of just a selection.
    and the picture quality from JPGs is superb hsaven’t tried any movie files yet.


  9. Before buying I wanted to check if these Panasonic tvs had the ability to receive from other satellites than just the 28 degree group. Reading the downloadable manuals it would appear they have the ability to tune to either 13 degrees or 19 degrees or 28 degrees but do not have Diseqc controls for multiple LNBs or motorised dish installed so would not be able to do two or more of these locations.
    Has anyone investigated this or indeed purchased any one of this range of tvs and tried to see if all these locations can be tuned to at the same time? If they can, how does that work without Diseqc and why are only these three locations available via the menus?


  10. Thanks Jingleman (ref the 37″ page). I managed to look at the method in a shop for the non-freesat channels on 28E and the listings on your links are useful.
    Main remaining question is whether you can add other channels from the 13E and 19E satellites whilst keeping the 28E channels saved and how the satellite reciever manages to do this when the tech data / manuals say it does not have the facailty to handle DiseqControls which are the usual way of switching between multi LNB’s pointing at the other satellites?
    I called Panasonic but they couldn’t tell me so it would be great to know if anyone has used one of these TV’s with multiple satellites succesfully.
    Thanks in advance


  11. Brilliant TV – only annoyances so far are:

    1) The TV will flip to the Humax Freesat PVR box when the PVR comes out of sleep to record something (HDMI) – so upsetting what you’re intently watching a DVD.

    2) The pointless adverts on the DTT EPG waste valuable screen real-estate.

    3) The Channel Up/Down and Volume buttons on the remote are the other way round to the Humax PVR remote and the old Sky remote – I can’t count the number of times I’ve accidentally changed the channel.

    Like it a lot. 😉


  12. Please correct the spelling above:

    “so upsetting what you’re intently watching a DVD”


    “so upsetting when you’re intently watching a DVD”



  13. Awesome TV, I have no complaints but if pushed would say that although the EPG is good it’s actually not as nice as my kids Akura timeline EPG.
    But that’s a minor observation – the sound is superb pumped through our B&O and the picture is WAY better than it has any right to be on non-HD freeview or freesat – and truly superb in HD.


  14. @Ian Luxton & Roz
    Apologies for the long delay in responding, as I have not checked this page for a while. I tuned my Panny in non freesat mode and saved the channels that I wanted, selecting them. Then I just wroted down the LUXE HD number, so now when I flip to Non freesat mode, I can then select the channel I require.


  15. @ Old Dave
    I agree with you about the SD slot.. but don’t try to watch a movie with has been downloaded from the net, as it will not work.. i bought 2 SD cards cause i was unsure of which ones to buy, it was only when i contacted Panasonic and they said it was something to do with Copyright, and that the SD card can only be used with a Panasonic hd digital camera.


  16. This was the first freesat TV, so it is lacking features and scores low on usability compared to the excellent Humax box. Presumably this was rather rushed to market to get ahead of the competition in selling freesat TVs. However, it’s a decent TV if you were willing to accept these issues to get an all-in-one package to receive free HD programming. I expect this to be greatly surpassed by future models from other manufacturers, so Panasonic must really produce better with their newer models now.


  17. I bought this TV about 3 years ago and have it hooked up to the satalite and enjoyed about 4 HD channels. Unfortunately one day in june 2011, BBC HD’s two channel dropped off and can no longer be picked up. After a fair amount of surfing the internet i discovered that the BBC are now using a new signal (dvbs2) i think meaning this tv can no longer pick up those channels as the TV only has DVBS and not DVBS2 ?!?!! so thats a bit rubbish to be honest. besides that the TV is easy to use, has great picture quality (especially with xbox 360) and pretty much heats your entire home like a furnace if left on for a good few hours lol. great in winter.


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