Panasonic Viera TH-L47ET50A review: Panasonic Viera TH-L47ET50A

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Pricing Unavailable
Reviewed:
Updated:

The Good Good 2D picture. Good network feature set. Attractive styling. Good tablet/phone integration.

The Bad Poor 3D. Extra 3D glasses are expensive.

The Bottom Line The Panasonic Viera TH-L47ET50A is a neat and stylish TV with good overall performance, except for 3D where it is weak.

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System

Now that Panasonic is moving more strongly into the LCD TV field, it seems to be keeping its 3D options open. This TV — a full high-definition 47-inch (119.2cm by my measurement) unit — uses active 3D technology. That is, the eyewear flashes the lenses between transparent and opaque states in synchronisation with the display of the left and right images on the TV screen. But the company also offers a passive 3DTV in the same size, although at a lower price and with a reduced set of features.

The active glasses are synced with the TV using a Bluetooth connection. At 30 grams, they are fairly light and comfortable, but you only get one set with the TV. Additional sets cost AU$99 each.

The TV is well equipped: four HDMI sockets (plus support for composite and component video), three USB (you can plug an HDD in to one for recording and time shifting), Ethernet and built-in Wi-Fi. It also has an SD card slot.

The TV's frame is pleasingly thin — only 28mm from the picture to the edge at the sides and top — and is mostly a light silver-grey colour. The swivel stand with which it is supplied has a sloped pedestal, which gives the impression that the TV is floating free.

Picture

This is getting a little tedious, but you need to make a couple of changes to optimise the TV's picture once you've done the basic set-up — as you'll need to with every TV we've reviewed recently. Wind down the sharpness control to remove the edginess, and for high-definition content — especially Blu-rays — go to the Advanced Settings in the picture menu and switch off "16:9 Overscan". Having this switched on scales the picture up by 5 per cent, causing its edges to overflow the screen. This "feature" is a hangover from analog TV-transmission days. You may also want to play with the "24p Smooth Film" mode, located in the same place. This defaults to "Max" with Blu-ray content. "Mid" reduces picture judder, and avoids the heat-haze artefacts created by "Max".

That done, the 2D picture looked bright and beautiful under normal room lights, and still quite respectable in a dark room. The backlight seemed to be reasonably well localised to the bright spots of the picture, and on a mostly black screen it was remarkable even in darkness. Switching on the "Eco" mode allowed the TV to adjust its brightness according to ambient light. This tended to make the brightness just a bit too dull for my taste.

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Where to Buy

Panasonic Viera TH-L47ET50A

Part Number: CNETPanasonic Viera TH-L47ET50A

Typical Price: $2,049.00

See manufacturer website for availability.