Panasonic Viera TX-L37E30
Panasonic shows it’s just as adept at LED screens as it is at plasma, with this high performance pocket-robber. Using a wide-viewing angle IPS Alpha panel, it clings onto contrast like a thing possessed, regardless of where you’re parked. Image quality (2D only, no funny glasses required) is reassuringly fine. When it comes to medium streaming and net-connected shenanigans, the set also comes up roses. Across a LAN and from USB, the set chomps its way through all key file formats. MP3, AAC and WMA are embraced with album art, while AVCHD, DivX, AVI, MKV, MP4, MOV and MPEG video flavours all go down a treat. This makes it a great choice for file hoarders. The TV can also timeshift onto an external USB drive.
Panasonic’s Viera Connect portal doesn’t disappoint either, with a well populated array led by BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Daily Motion, Vimeo and Cinetrailers. Interestingly, the implementation of Acetrax featured here is the only TV iteration to offer adult content. Saucy!
Reg Rating 85%
More info Panasonic
Panasonic Viera TX-P46ST30
Panasonic’s 3D-ready ST plasma range may lack the aesthetic bells and picture-processing whistles of its grander GT30 and VT30 models, but it represents solid value for those hankering after PDP finesse on a budget. The Infinite Black Pro panel on this mid-sizer delivers deep blacks and its Freeview HD channels have real visual snap. Reassuringly, Panasonic’s Viera Connect portal has improved considerably over recent months, with Fetch TV and Vimeo joining IPTV stalwarts such as BBC iPlayer and YouTube.
In addition to SD card playback for JPEGs and AVCHD, there’s also local USB playback for AVI, MKV, MPEG, MOV and MP3 files. However, this set doesn’t timeshift to USB and there’s no DLNA-powered network streaming. NAS aficionados be warned.
Reg Rating 80%
More info Panasonic
Next page: Samsung UE55D8000
I can't help to think that the IP part of these TVs will be obsolete in a couple of years and you'll be stuck with a expansive display with non supported IP bit.
Worthless 'checkbox' round-up
I hope no-one ends up buying a TV based on this article alone
The author has just written the manufacturers' specifications for each set and given a "reg rating" verdict based on advertisement material only. If you don't have any access to these units then you should at least drop the "reg rating" factor. The first two LG units get a 90% verdict, yet only the Cinema version gets the thumbs up icon. Why??
If you actually reviewed these units, just mentioning MKV or AVI support is worthless unless you truly test these features. Does the MKV support include chapter support, or multiple audio/video/subtitle tracks, external subtitles? MKV is still evolving standard you know. I'd also like to know how sluggish the UI is when dealing with USB for example, or can you expect the IT declined people to use the streaming services or USB files easily?
THE TV MIGHT BE SMART....
but the stuff that ends up on it is usually crap!
@AC: " the IP part of these TVs will be obsolete in a couple of years..."
Agreed - in fact, they're already obsolete. We but a much cheaper TV (fantastic display, but not "smart") and plugged an AppleTV into it. Suddenly the TV is just a bigger display in the household as an extension of anything from our phones to the desktop computers, and we stream media, games, and TV from all these sources as required. There's no need for the TV to be "smart" - it's just a big display for the smart devices we already have.
Are any of these TVs smart enough to allow the user to sort the channels into a sane order?
No? All I want is a big screen and that ancient ability that all TVs once were capable of. Nothing more.