Panasonic Viera TX-L47ET5B review
You need to tweak settings to get the best out of its panel, but the TX-L47ET5B has excellent 3D and media streaming
Review Date: 26 May 2012
Price when reviewed: £1,099
Reviewed By: Barry de la Rosa
For this review we tested the 50in model in the ET5B range, but it's also available in 32in (TX-L32ET5B), 37in (TX-L37ET5B), 42in (TX-L47ET5B) and 55in (TX-L55ET5B) screen sizes. All models have identical specifications except for their dimensions and power usage. We're confident that image quality will be practically identical across the range.
Panasonic’s ET5B is a rather plain-looking TV with a dull grey stand and bezel, but its feature list is long and varied, and includes passive 3D with 2D-to-3D conversion, an IPS panel, and a wide variety of internet services. We looked at the 47in model, but there's many other sizes to cover most living room needs.
An IPS panel gives the ET5B a wider colour gamut than the TN panels used in budget TVs, impressing us with its dark blacks and vibrant colours. It behaves oddly, though; when we selected the Standard picture mode, we found the image dark and dull, and couldn’t improve it even by turning brightness and contrast right up. We also noticed changes in luminosity, like you’d expect from a dynamic contrast setting. We didn’t notice these distracting changes in brightness when we chose the Dynamic Contrast option. Instead, we found colours more vibrant and contrast much improved.
Standard definition TV looked decent enough. The noise reduction is a bit harsh, but colours were bold and contrast was good. HD content was much better, with sharp contrast and bold colours. By default, colour temperature is set to Cold, so we set it to Normal. In Casino Royale, the sunny beaches glowed and the sea sparkled during the scenes in the Bahamas. When the scene changed to the dark Montenegrin countryside there was no sudden shift in brightness and we could still make out detail in the trees.
Our only complaint would be that bright whites and dark blacks lose their detail. We could just about see the pattern in Bond’s white braces, but the detail in Le Chiffre’s black velvet dinner jacket was lost. There’s also an option called CATS, which changes the brightness based on your environment. Normally, we’d leave this turned off, but without it the image was duller.
The ET5B’s motion-smoothing technology works well, but it’s a matter of personal preference whether you want to use it. With motion smoothing enabled, old black-and-white films looked like the Fast Show’s Unpronounceables sketches.
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