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Panasonic TX-L47DT65B review

Katharine Byrne
2 Sep 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,300
inc VAT

This TV has a good range of inputs and great smart TV content, but you'll need to tweak the picture settings to get the best out of it

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Specifications

47in, Freesat HD, Freeview HD, analogue, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: yes, 3x HDMI

For this review we tested the 47in model in the DT65B range, but it's also available in 42in (TX-L42DT65B), 50in (TX-L50DT65B), 55in (TX-L55DT65B) and 60in (TX-L60DT65B) 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.

The TX-L47DT65B's smart silver frame and super-slim bezel immediately highlights this as a top-end TV. With a long list of features including built-in Wi-Fi and dual TV tuners, it certainly has the specs to back up its looks.

SMART TV

It shares the same smart TV content as other Panasonic sets. When you turn it on, you’re presented with the Home screen where there’s a large window showing what's currently on the selected TV channel, along with three smaller icons leading to a photo gallery, a media player and Viera Connect, Panasonic’s smart TV portal. There are two other home screens to choose from as well themed around Lifestyle and Info, but you can add your own home screens or customise existing ones so all your favourite content is readily available.

Panasonic TX-P60ZT65B

Customisable home screens let you set up the content you most want to hand

In Viera Connect, you get popular apps including Netflix, YouTube, and BBC iPlayer, as well as a wide variety of widgets such as a calendar and a web browser. There’s Facebook and Twitter integration so you can tweet and post status updates while you’re watching TV, but you’ll want to connect a keyboard for this, as typing on the remote was quite fiddly. A mouse isn’t quite so important, as the TX-L47DT65B comes with an alternative remote that uses a circular touchpad. We found it was reasonably responsive as we tried to navigate the menu screens, but this will come down to personal preference. Skype is present as well, but since the L47DT65 doesn’t have an integrated camera, you’ll have to buy the optional webcam.

Panasonic TX-L47DT65B

A standard remote and a touchpad remote are both included

PORTS AND TUNERS

On the back panel, there are three HDMI inputs (one of which supports ARC for sending audio back to a connected amp), a digital optical audio output and a Common Interface slot. You’ll have to connect adapters to the twin TV inputs to use SCART, component and composite equipment.

There are also three USB ports, one of which is USB3, and an SDXC card slot for playing your own media files. You’ll be able to play most formats, but there were a couple of notable exceptions in our testing. We managed to play all of our test videos except for our MOV files. It also didn’t pick up our OGG, 3GP or WAV audio clips, but M4A, MP3, FLAC, and WMA files worked fine. Image support was less impressive, as it was only able to show JPGs.

With DLNA support, you can stream content from a server over your home network. It's good to see that the TV has Ethernet and Wi-Fi built in, making it easy to connect to any network.

As this is one of Panasonic's top-end TVs it comes with two Freeview HD and two Freesat HD tuners. With dual tuners you can watch one programme while you record another one to a hard disk connected to one of the USB ports. You can also use the free iOS or Android apps to stream TV programmes; with dual tuners, you can watch one programme on your TV and a different one on your mobile device.

IMAGE QUALITY

Picture quality was surprisingly average for a Panasonic LCD TV, though. Standard definition channels were full of noise and artefacts, and we weren’t able to improve the picture even when we set the noise reduction and MPEG remaster settings to maximum. They smoothed the image out to some extent, but the resulting image wasn’t considerably different from when they were turned off.

Unsurprisingly, the L47DT65B’s main strength is when viewing Full HD content, but even this had its flaws. Colours looked bright and vivid across all of its five picture modes, but none of them were an obvious choice when it came to getting the best picture quality. These include Normal, Cinema, True Cinema, Dynamic and Custom, but while all of them can be tweaked and altered to your liking, only True Cinema and Custom gave us access to the advanced picture settings.

We used Custom as our baseline as True Cinema was too dark to watch with the lights on, but we were disappointed that its black levels weren’t anywhere near as deep as the two cinema modes. This was even more evident when we turned the lights off, but we were able to improve them slightly by lowering the backlight setting. One of Custom’s main advantages was a much higher contrast level, allowing us to see a much greater amount of detail in darker scenes, but colours didn’t look quite as accurate as our reference TV.

Panasonic TX-L47DT65B

Luckily, the L47DT65B’s extensive range of picture settings makes it easy to tweak the picture. Regular settings let you alter the backlight, contrast, brightness, colour, tint, sharpness and colour temperature, and there are also settings for adaptive backlight control, an ambient sensor, noise reduction, MPEG remastering, a resolution and brilliance enhancer, a caption smoother and frame interpolation.

For real film enthusiasts, the advanced menu settings have a wide range of options to help you get the perfectly calibrated picture. Along with individual colour controls, white balance and gamma settings, there’s also Panasonic’s Clear White effect, which makes whites clearer, and Black Expander, which deepens it’s already stunning black levels. Increasing the latter too much will have a serious impact on its overall contrast, though, particularly during dark night scenes.

The TV didn’t handle fast action sequences particularly well, despite having a 1,600 Hz panel. Even slow camera pans across the screen stuttered quite badly, so you’ll definitely need to enable its 24p Smooth Film frame interpolation setting to help smooth this out. Medium looked little too unnatural, though, so we’d recommend sticking to Minimum.

3D QUALITY

You’ll want to keep the 24p Smooth Film setting on for watching 3D films as well, as we encountered the same problem when we switched to our test footage of Avatar. We found Custom was the best mode here as well, as the two film modes were made even darker when combined with the 3D glasses.

We were pleased the TX-L47DT65B came with four pairs of 3D glasses. Its depth of field was far more impressive than other TVs in this price range. Films were crosstalk and ghosting free, and we could see the screen perfectly from a variety of viewing angles. If the 3D is a little too strong, the 3D settings allow you to adjust the 3D effect to decrease its depth.

Our only slight concern was that its glossy panel could be quite reflective at times, particularly in our brightly lit test room. It wasn’t so reflective that we couldn’t see the screen, but we’d recommend turning the lights off for watching films.

Sound quality was very good considering the L47DT65B has such a slim frame. Voices were clear and there was plenty of bass and volume, making it perfectly acceptable for everyday use, but home cinema enthusiasts will probably want to connect a sound bar or dedicated speaker system to get the best viewing experience.

CONCLUSION

The Panasonic L47DT65B has all the makings of a great mid-range set, but it requires a lot of tweaking to get the very best out of it. At this price, the cheaper 47in version of the LG LA690V is a better buy.

Basic Specifications

Rating****

Physical

Viewable size47in
Native resolution1,920x1,080
1080p supportYes
Aspect ratio16:9
HD readyyes
3D capableyes
Speakers2x 4W, 10W subwoofer

Connections

D-sub inputs0
HDMI inputs3
Component inputs1
SCART1
Composite inputs1
Audio outputsoptical S/PDIF out
Otherheadphone output, CI slot, USB port, SDXC Card slot, LAN port

Tuner

Tuner typeFreesat HD, Freeview HD, analogue
EPG8 day

Environmental

Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on69W

Buying Information

Warrantyfive years collect and return
Price£1,300
Supplierhttp://www.sonicdirect.co.uk
Detailswww.panasonic.co.uk

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