This TV has replaced my previous Panasonic 37" (TX-L37TU10B) TV. I have been a professional film and video cameraman for many years so picture quality is important to me (although I should emphasise I am using this TV for home not professional use). Although for the last two decades I have used Sony cameras, I now own a broadcast standard Panasonic video camera - in fact much of my home equipment (from breadmaker to still camera) happens to be Panasonic too. This is not down to any particular brand loyalty (and certainly no commercial connection), just that Panasonic make very good quality kit.
Firstly, this TV looks good. Its silver and glass design is restrained and elegant and, because of its thin bezel, feels no more dominant in the living room than than my previous 37" screen.
Printed documentation is minimal but on-screen help is excellent. Setting up the TV is very easy and, when completed, you are presented with choice of 'Home Screen' formats. The default format has the main screen image shrunk to about 3/4 size with a panel to the right giving a scrollable guide to TV channels, at the bottom of the screen you can select from the various other functions. Because there are so many ways of getting programmes on your TV - online, VOD, disc, USB, hard disc, cable and so forth - it is almost impossible to design a simple, clear interface that satisfies all users, but Panasonic have done a pretty good job.
This is, of course. a `smart' TV and among its features are:
- Freeview HD which gives, as would be expected, great picture quality on the four Freeview HD channels. Standard definition channels are also upscaled well - much better than on my previous TV where standard definition pictures had a rather nasty smooth but plasticy quality to skin tones.
- Built-in wi-fi which connected swiftly and painlessly to my home network. YouTube, iPlayer, Netflix and a web browser are all available but not, unfortunately LoveFilm, 4OD or ITVplayer - unfortunate omissions. I've had no problems streaming video through my network. An Ethernet connector is also available for a wired connection.
- A media player that plays from a USB drive or memory stick in one of the two USB ports. This TV plays most standard formats including .mkv, .mp4 and .avi movie files with no problems. Unlike my previous TV there is no SD card slot.
- Media Server. Easily connected via wi-fi to access all the media files on my computer. (I have a Mac and downloaded the free TVMobli software to enable this).
- 3 HDMI ports, 1 scart + 1 component/composite input. (Another HDMI port would be useful given the complexity of many home set-ups these days).
- Digital audio (Toslink) out. Unfortunately, if you run your audio through an analogue hi-fi amp (as I do) there is no analogue audio out but there is a minijack headphone socket which works fine. (I compared the headphone output to the digital audio via a Musical Fidelity DAC and although, switching between the two, the latter was noticeably clearer - airier and with better separation - without a direct comparison, the headphone output is perfectly acceptable). Audio quality from the TV's speakers is OK but no better than would be expected from a thin TV with small speakers.
There are also well designed free iOS and Android Viera apps that turn your phone or tablet into a remote control with the facility to 'swipe and share' video between that device and the TV.
There is no 3D function but this is not something that bothers me at all - if you want 3D, the Panasonic TX-L42ET60B provides it for another £130.
Of course the most crucial feature is picture quality and, I have to say, it is very good indeed. If you delve into advanced settings you can have a huge control over colour management (including individual settings of hue, saturation and luminance for each of the three primaries as well as gamma, gain and signal level) but messing with those is not for the faint hearted. Of the five 'viewing modes' (dynamic, normal, cinema, true cinema and custom) I have gone for 'true cinema' (I like to watch TV with the lights low) and reduced the brightness a little to maintain deep blacks. The pictures I am watching are, if it is not a contradiction, both vibrant and natural with excellent contrast. There is plenty of detail without artificial sharpening and colour purity is good if not excellent. I have a small living room so, viewing angles for those sitting at the side tend to be quite extreme and although there is some fall-off in contrast at the widest angles it is minimal.
Overall, this is an attractive, well designed TV with a great picture. Apart from the minor omissions mentioned above, there is really nothing wrong with this television. I have no hesitation in recommending it.
on 22 January 2014
I'm very pleased with this TV although it took a while to get the picture settings right. I searched the internet for ages to find recommended settings and after following the picture perfect website and using the free AVS HD 709 DVD from the internet and the THX Tune Up app via Apple TV I found the following settings which I'm happy with which I thought I'd share if anyone's interested:
Viewing Mode: Cinema
Backlight 50 at night (Increase in daytime up to 65)
Colour 50 (according to picture perfect leave at default although THX tune up optimizer on iPhone suggested 47)
Tint 0 (leave well alone)
Sharpness 40 (This is a personal preference it should be lower but I use Sky so like the menus to be sharp)
Colour Temperature Warm 1 (Warm 2 is always suggested online as it's supposed to be more to the industry standard but judge for yourself)
Vivid Colour Off
Adaptive Backlight Off
Ambient sensor Off
Overscan Off in fact all other processing controls off or at their defaults
Worth trying True Cinema mode too with the same values as above but that defaults to Warm 2 Colour Temperature which should be more accurate for films however I found that with field sports such as Football and Rugby on Sky this makes the pitch look too brown so Warm 1 may be better. I haven't messed around with the advance controls however I understand that's the best way to tweak the picture.
on 29 June 2013
Most of us will have never used a TV which has so many parameters of adjustability, so before they drive you all insane in search of picture perfection, here are the perfect picture settings i have come across to make this masterpiece really sing!
The below settings should cater for ALL screen sizes in the Panasonic E6B range.
FIRSTLY, HIT THE MENU BUTTON AND SELECT PICTURE SETTINGS, NOW GO IN TO VIEWING MODE:
Select True Cinema.
Colour Temperature: Warm 2
Vivid Colour: Off
Adaptive Backlight Control: Off
Ambient Sensor: Off
Noise REduction: Off
MPEG Noise Reduction: Off
Now GO TO ADVANCE SETTINGS:
Adaptive Gamma Control: Off
Black Expander: Off
Clear White Effect: Off
White Balance: R Gain 4, Green Gain 0, Blue Gain 3, Red Cutoff 0, Green Cutoff 0, Blue Cutoff 0
IN COLOUR MANAGEMENT: R Hue 0, R Saturation 0, R Luminance -3, G Hue -14, G Saturation 0, G Luminance -5, B Hue -14, B Saturation 0, B Luminance -1
NOW GO TO OPTION SETTINGS.
Film Cadence Mode: On
1080p Pixel Direct: On
NOW FINALLY, GO TO SCREEN SETTINGS:
16/9 Overscan: Off
And thats it, Now Enjoy!
I could summarise this review by saying that the Panasonic Viera TX-L42E6B is an extremely good TV. Of very smart appearance before it's even switched on, the TV proceeds to display truly excellent picture quality, and I struggle to think of any way it could possibly be improved.
Installation is entirely straightforward. The base pedestal is supplied in two parts that bolt together, and then the top part is inserted to a slot on the back of the TV. Note that incorrect assembly is not possible, the bolts will only align with their holes when the parts are correctly oriented. The pedestal does not swivel, which is a slight minus, but it feels sturdier than a swivelling type, which is a plus. Then, with the TV in position, you're ready to connect cables.
The power connector is the figure-of-eight type commonly used by appliances such as shavers, so there is no earth connection, but the power lead does terminate in a UK-correct three-pin plug. Absurd as it may seem, I hunted for five minutes or more for somewhere on the TV to plug the power lead in, and actually had to resort to looking at the instruction book! I learned that the connector plugs in vertically to a hooded socket at centre left of the TV back cover, and then I was ready to go.
Setup was as easy as it is with all modern TV's. You select your country, connect to your network, and let the Freeview tuner scan for available channels. Once you have an internet connection a robotic voice talks you through some of the TV's features, but quite honestly I didn't find that very useful. Of course the TV is usable without a network connection, but because it is loaded with internet features - YouTube, iPlayer, internet browser etc - it would be a darned shame not to use them. I connected via WiFi, but there is an Ethernet socket for a wired connection. After entering all the characters of your WiFi password, press the handset BACK/RETURN key to complete; that is not at all obvious and you may find it useful. WPS push-button connection is also available if your router supports that feature; I have tried it and of course it works perfectly. Since installation the TV has maintained a flawless connection, and note that it's N specification WiFi and fast enough for streaming video from a media server on your network. Content from remote sources on the internet sometimes has to be buffered, which is annoying for someone as impatient as me, but is down to the server being short on bandwidth, and not a problem with the TV.
Panasonic's marketing makes much of the TV's Home Screens feature. These are simply ways to display various available features and applications in screen boxes separate from the TV picture, as shown in the product description, and the TV will revert to your chosen screen when it is powered up or when the HOME button is pressed. You also have the option to select Full Screen TV instead of a home screen as your default option, and for many people who just want to switch on and watch a TV program this is likely to be best. The TV will always power up with the last input selected, ie if you were watching BBC1 on Freeview when you switched off then that's what will appear, or if you were watching Sky via SCART that will be shown. You have the idea.
I should mention that there is only one SCART socket to complement the three HDMI ports, so if you are still using a clunky old VHS machine, a DVD player, etc that only have SCART facility, you may need to think carefully about how you will connect everything to the TV.
Available from the Google Play Store is a free application named Viera Remote for WiFi-enabled Android phones and tablets. I believe a similar app is available for Apple devices. Viera Remote connects to the TV via network and duplicates a number of handset functions, in fact all the important ones. This could be extremely handy if the handset falls in the fire, but more importantly it also allows photos and video on the phone to be easily displayed on the TV, use of the phone as a gamepad or keyboard - there is a plethora of features. I find Viera Remote to be absolutely terrific, and strongly recommend it.
The Panasonic Viera TX-L42E6B has been in my home for just three days as I write this, and I feel I have barely begun to explore what it offers. I am just so impressed by the picture quality, which is enhanced by the TV having such a narrow border that the screen seems to float in the air, and the sound is excellent from such a thin device. So what more could you want from a TV? Internet access, media playing etc? The TX-L42E6B does it all beautifully, and I only wish I could rate it better than 5 stars, because it is an absolute belter.
on 29 March 2014
bought this TV a couple of weeks ago and am very happy with it. Setup to my existing system was trivial, the picture is great and the price makes it incredibly attractive.
There is a significant downside though - the apps and the home screen are poor. iplayer is there, but no other UK catch-up apps and no way to install the manually (e.g. from Google Play). Netflix, but no Amazon Instant/Lovefilm, no Sky Now. I thought that I'd be able to access some of these through the built-in browser, but it doesn't have the required version of Flash and I wasn't able to update it. The other apps that do come with the system are 3rd rate.
The way around this is to link my PC to the tv, but I feel I really shouldn't have to do that with an internet-enable "smart" tv!
on 1 May 2013
'TV' doesn't really do the E6 justice. It's more of a televisual instrument. When watching HD content the eyes are fed such a plethora of highly nuanced detail that you can almost feel them making hundreds of miniscule adjustments in order to process what's in front of them. The E6 really is a refined piece of equipment. SD material is also very impressive and occasionally I have been fooled into thinking I was watching HD.
I also have the L32E5B and find the E6 to be much better overall. For a start the calibration controls are much better. The E6 is fitted with a backlight control which really helps adjust the picture to your tastes. Most significantly, the E6 is also able to produce bright and punchy pictures akin to Samsung and LG as well as the warmer picture usually associated with Panasonic TV's. You get the best of both worlds. However, the E5 uses a different panel(IPS) which is much better for a wider viewing angle. The E6 uses a VA panel which gives better black and contrast but a far narrower viewing angle.
I measured the viewable screen size diagonally and found it to be 38.5". In fact the TV is surprisingly small. I found that the best viewing distance to be about 6 ft. If you are thinking about a 40" TV then I would give serious consideration to the L42E6B as the overall size of the TV is reduced by the slim bezel. I myself have decided to upgrade to the 42".
The build quality is exceptional and the minimalist design is bound to stand the test of time too. Added to which is Panasonic reliability.
Overall, I think it is safe to say that Panasonic have produced an absolute gem of a TV. Remember, don't be shy when it comes to the size!!!
update. I have been watching blu rays for the first time on the E6. The truth is blu rays look good on pretty much any HD TV. What sets the E6 apart is subtlety, contrast and clarity. I have also seen the same blu rays on a Samsung F5000 and can honestly say that the E6 is in a different class altogether. The HD picture on the F5000 was maybe TOO sharp which made the image too artificial and a little two dimensional. With the E6 you get clarity but also a wonderful sense of depth to the picture. This is because of the increased amount of detail in dark areas that is just not there on the Samsung.
I think I have just found the perfect stand for the E6! Its even 95cm wide the exact same width as TV and has a very similar overall aesthetic;
Ovid OV95W - LCD & Plasma TV Stand up to 50" - Gloss White
on 5 May 2014
My first impression of this TV was how heavy the box was, which I thought odd as the bezel around the screen is plastic - I'd read up on it before buying and had also seen it "in the flesh" so to speak beforehand. I think the reason for the weight is because the entire back of the TV is a pressed metal plate, which is unusual these days as everything seems to be plastic. I thought it was a sign of good build quality, but when I was unpacking it and heard the LCD panel rattling I began to wonder - it turns out, according to the manual, that the panel isn't fixed rigidly and does have some movement to avoid the possibility of damage... from what though it doesn't say - from the journey from the factory to the user? Who knows...
There are many options for adjusting the picture, which I won't go into as my issue is with the sound, for which there's also an equaliser. Contrary to reviews which I'd read, the sound was surprisingly good for an LCD TV, and despite these reviews I thought there was a reasonable level of bass from the built-in speakers, which pleasantly surprised me. The volume level though seemed a little low and I found myself almost straining to hear it on occasions - having a louder output would've been nice. Overall the sound was a lot better than I was expecting, but the sound was also the deal-breaker for me and the reason I won't be keeping this TV.
I've been using external speakers with my TVs for years - nothing fancy, just a pair of speakers and a sub-woofer, but the sound from them is great! To connect these speakers to the TV I've simply used the headphone socket on the telly and all has worked brilliantly...until now.
For some strange reason with this TV, Panasonic have decided that whenever you plug anything into the headphone socket the internal speakers aren't muted, but stay on. That's not a problem per se, but the TV volume control doesn't have any effect on the volume level of the headphone socket, so the volume of my external speakers stays the same and the volume of the internal speakers changes. The only way to alter the volume level of the headphone socket is to drill into the Panasonic's menus and find the headphone volume setting! There's no option anywhere to mute the internal speakers apart from setting the volume to 0, but even this doesn't solve the problem of changing the volume.
I don't intend buying a soundbar for this TV. Neither do I have a hi-fi which I could route the audio through, but even doing this wouldn't solve the problem of changing the volume, and the internal speakers would remain on anyway.
So this is something to bear in mind if you use external speakers connected through the headphone socket.
Apart from the sound issues I have also had the picture freeze a couple of times when using Sky HD via an HDMI connection - switching to another input and back seems to cure it, but it's annoying.
It's a shame as it is actually quite a nice (albeit quite expensive) TV.
UPDATE - 6th May 2014
Since I wrote the above I've noticed quite a serious flaw in the display of this TV - there is noticeable "stretching" of the picture to the left and right sides of the picture, which is very obvious when watching channels with scrolling "tickers" (e.g. BBC News channel, Sky News etc) - the text coming on at the right and going off at the left is stretched horizontally and only looks correct when it's in the middle third of the screen.
The effect is also VERY noticeable when the picture pans from left to right (or vice versa) and the effect is like looking out from inside a goldfish bowl. It's a little like pincushion distortion which some camera lenses produce. Whatever its proper term, it is very, very annoying and anything with a lot of horizontal movement is difficult to watch.
on 31 December 2013
If you have not bought a TV in a while then this one really shows how TVs have moved on in the last couple of years.
Because of the thin silver edge being to slim, the TV looks like a picture on the wall.
The picture quality is superb with some very nice blacks. The apps are great and function really smooth, with a flawless BBCi player.
I got this TV on a black Friday deal and paid just £399 - wow, you could never pick up a TV of this quality for that price usually.....
on 8 August 2013
I'm going to put this simply. This is an amazing TV. I am increadibly anal about picture and sound quality. I replaced my very good and noble Samsung 26" TV with it. I researched diligently, and was torn very much between the Samsung UE32F5500, Sony KDL-32W6, LG 32-575V and the Panasonic. I read Which?, What Hi-Fi, Trusted Reviews.com etc. and was still really none-the-wiser. I came to the conclusion, all the TV's listed above were much of a muchness, and I would just go for the one I liked the most. So, I went to the shop and saw them all. The Panasonic has the best picture and sound of these 4 sets by far. It's incredibly natural, and doesn't look artificial at all. The Samsung looked weirdly too colourful and red for my tastes. The LG had an amazing picture, but the sound was tinny and forced. The LG was also increadbily bulky and stuck out way too far when compared to the other sets. The Sony was very good, and I very nearly bought it, but the 'dynamic' picture mode on the Panasonic clinched it for me. It's exceptional, and really shows-off the 1080p at it's best. The Panasonic also has 2 great 'cinema' settings: 'cinema' and 'true cinema' (designed for a dark room I think). These are also great. I watched Blu-Ray 'Aliens' on it, and it looked great. The blacks were very deep. I was very impressed by the depth of the sound made by the little speakers. They have very respectable base, and the high-notes sound incredbily natural and feel expensive and quality-made. There is no tinny rattling here, even at high-volume.
I've heard many people complain about the App functionality on the Panasonic. Let me elay your fears: it's fine. It really doesn't matter. It has all the major ones you could care about (iPlayer, Netflix, BBC News etc), plus some useful extra ones (weather, cinemas, restaurant-finder etc). It has a dedicated web browser too, and you can hook-up a keyboard via the USB slots. I also hooked my PS3 into it, which has all the apps I care about anyway. It's really not a big deal. Wi-Fi set up was very easy. The user interface is far more intuitive than the LG.
Basically, all the complaints and differences between these TV's are high-end user pedantic nonsense. I spent ages reading and deliberating, and eventually just went for the one I thought looked the best in the shop. In my opinion that was the Panasonic, but I'm sure some people would go for the Sony, or LG, or Samsung. I spent £359 on one. I don't think for the price range, you could do much better in a 32-inch TV than this, currently.
on 16 September 2013
It took me a long time to choose this TV. I tried a Samsung first and it felt floppy and flimsy, with a pinkish hue that I could not get rid of. So changed it for this Panasonic. J.L Delivered next day, excellent. Had to set-up TWICE to get an improved network connection which stopped the picture dragging and fading. Now the picture is the best I have ever seen on any other TV! It is very sharp and with all the picture settings you can adapt it to your personal viewing taste. We don't need a sound bar as its good considering the slimness of the lovely frame. But if you're really into music you might want to improve the sound.
It looks lovely too with its slim silver surround. It found my wireless router on its own almost and the whole set-up process was so easy my cat could do it! There are ways around the few limitations of using the internet.
I had to call Panasonic customer services to help me get rid of the fuzzy picture, they called me back and took me through reset up, Wow what a picture now! They were excellent and very helpful. For the money this TV is at the top in my view. Excellent Picture, Good sound, Very easy set-up, Voice instructions to help you set it up, Good looking, Found the wireless router without any problem, Masses of add-ons. Excellent customer service. No negatives and that really is saying something coming from me! Its cheaper on Amazon but I went for the 5 year guarantee at John Lewis.(sorry Amazon)