LAS VEGAS--Panasonic has maintained that it's a plasma company for many years, resisting the urge to produce televisions that directly compete with its main business.
It seems that in 2012, all bets are off with the release of two new series at larger 47-inch and 55-inch sizes: the DT50 and the WT50.
The WT50 boasts a new look for the company with a super narrow metal frame and "crescent," or "boomerang," metallic stand. By contrast, the DT50 is a little more conservative with a narrow metal frame.
The main picture quality difference between the two is the WT50's use of local dimming in its edge-lit LED backlight.
Unlike the ET5, the two TVs use Panasonic's own active 3D system and also include 2D-to-3D conversion.
Both TVs incorporate high-speed "1920" backlight scanning for higher moving-picture resolution and smoothness during fast action scenes. The backlight scanning divides the screen into eight parts and the backlight turns off for the portions being scanned.
Panasonic claims the televisions' IPS LED panel "delivers a wide viewing angle with almost no picture degradation at off angle viewing," but based on our experience you're not going to get anything near a plasma-like picture.
The TVs feature the company's new cloud-based Viera Connect system with access to apps such as Amazon VOD, Netflix, Pandora , Facebook, Hulu Plus, and Skype. Onboard Wi-Fi is standard, and the TVs now enjoy a Web browser with Flash and HTML 5 support. Further connectivity includes four HDMI terminals and three USB ports. In addition, the WT50 ships with Panasonic's own touch pad remote controller.
Panasonic DT50/WT50 LED series features:
- Edge-lit LED-based LCD
- Local Dimming (WT50 only)
- 1920 backlight system
- Cloud-based Viera Connect system
- Onboard Wi-Fi
- Four HDMI inputs
- Touch pad remote controller (WT50 only)
Panasonic DT50/WT50 LED series models:
- TC-L47WT50 47-inch
- TC-L55WT50 55-inch
- TC-L47DT50 47-inch
- TC-L55DT50 55-inch