Panasonic TX-L47E5B review
For this review we tested the 46in model in the ES6540 range, but it's also available in 32in (TX-L32E5B), 37in (TX-L37E5B) and 42in (TX-L42E5B) 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.
When it comes to TVs, Panasonic is probably best known for being one of the last big supporters of plasma technology. Plasma screens have phenomenal picture quality that set them apart from LCD TVs, but unfortunately they also come with increased power consumption and can be more expensive. For a more budget-orientated home cinema setup, the TX-L47E5B LCD TV should provide a middle ground between the two, with an LED backlight which uses less energy than plasma, and an IPS panel which creates superb 178-degree viewing angles.
The simple black bezel and stand aren’t exactly the definition of style, but at least they don't distract from what's on screen. The TV has a Freeview HD tuner and multiple inputs for games consoles, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players; four HDMI ports, component or composite video through a single adaptor and a VGA PC input should be more than enough for most setups. Audio support is more limited, with just one digital optical output and a single 3.5mm auxiliary in. Finally, two USB ports, an SDXC memory card slot, Ethernet and a common interface slot complete the back panel.
As this TV is towards the cheaper end of Panasonic's range, you don’t get integrated Wi-Fi – only wired Ethernet. If the TV is nowhere near your router you could buy the official Wi-Fi dongle (DY-WL10E-K, £44 from www.amazon.co.uk) or simply use powerline networking. The TV has a DLNA media receiver that can play multimedia files from a connected PC or NAS device. File format support was superb, letting us play all our test videos including MKV, DivX and XviD files.
Panasonic’s VIERA Connect service isn't the most comprehensive smart TV portal we've used, but it still has plenty of apps to choose from. As well as BBC iPlayer, you also get the BBC's news and sport apps as well as YouTube for streaming video and the choice between Netflix and AceTrax for on-demand movies. There's also a market for downloading additional apps, but there aren't many must-haves to be found between the internet radio stations. The one exception is Skype, which lets you make voice and video calls from your sofa, as long as you buy Panasonic's expensive external camera (TY-CC20W, £79 from www.very.co.uk).
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