When I reviewed the Panasonic TC-PVT50 series, I was annoyed to see that the latest software update caused a banner ad to appear for a few seconds whenever I turned on the TV. It disappeared quickly and only popped up upon power-on, but it was still obnoxious. The first thing I wondered was whether I could turn it off.
Happily, Panasonic built in a way to disable the advertising. It's a simple, albeit buried, menu command. Here it is in a nutshell.
- Hit the main Menu button on the remote (not the "Internet" or "VieraCast" button) or the TV itself.
- Navigate down to Setup, hit OK.
- Navigate down down (or up) to the second screen until you land on Advanced Setup. Hit OK.
- Hop down to Viera Connect Banner and turn it Off using the left or right directional arrows.
- Hit Menu to exit.
Now you won't have that annoying banner pop up every time you power on the TV.
As of the latest software updates my two 2012 in-house Panasonic TV review samples, an ST50 and a VT50, both show the ads, as does the 2011 model I checked, a TC-P50ST30. I assume all 2011 and 2012 Panasonic TVs with Viera Connect/Smart Viera will get the banner. I also checked a 2010 and it didn't have any banners, so I'm guessing that year and earlier Panasonic TVs, whose Smart TV suites were branded VieraCast, get spared.
The VT50 also, alone among the three for now, has an ad on the main VieraCast home page as well. Unfortunately there's no way to remove or disable it (the option is currently grayed out on the home page customization screen), but at least it's less annoying than the banner.
Baked-in advertising isn't unique to Panasonic TVs. Samsung and LG have both reserved space for ads on their Smart TV systems' pages, and Sony included dedicated(it can also be disabled). Panasonic's pop-up is by far the most annoying I've seen, although I doubt it will be the last.
This article was updated to clarify the behavior of Panasonic's pop-up banner ad.