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Customer Review

408 of 422 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well designed, great picture, 29 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Panasonic TX-L42E6B 42-inch Full HD 1080p Smart LED TV with Built in Wi-Fi and Freeview HD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
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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.
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Showing 21-29 of 29 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on 11 Feb 2014, 20:58:01 GMT
Thanks for that, I'm considering seriously, but I've realized I don't want the Wi-Fi so will plump for the version without, I do feel a bigger screen would rather swamp my space, but then maybe next year. ;-)

Posted on 4 Mar 2014, 13:18:18 GMT
Thanks for taking the trouble to write a splendidly useful and clear review, I've just been fortunate to win one of these in a competition and thought maybe I'd got a bit of a dud, being a mid-priced tv, but now am really looking forwards to it! Especially after still owning an ancient Panasonic behemoth, looking forwards to the delights of smart tv,!!! - cheers once again :)

Posted on 26 Mar 2014, 12:45:17 GMT
Brian says:
Hi, Rolo, Just wish to add my thanks for an excellent review of the E506B, I originally bought a 50X60B I then realised that this was not going to meet my needs. I had it exchanged and now looking forward to this set. Thanks again. Brian

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2014, 10:38:44 BST
Last edited by the author on 16 Apr 2014, 13:47:34 BST
M. Walker says:
This is probably way too late to be of any help to Phyllis but may help those who are thinking about this set. There is a *huge* difference between the B6 and E6 series. I bought a 39B6 because it was going cheap at Sainsbury's and wound up taking it back two days later, mostly because of the poor viewing angle - anything other than dead centre gave blue blacks and cold/washed out colour. I didn't notice a problem with brightness, however, so Phyllis's unit may have been faulty or just very poorly set-up.

I then bought an E6 (at Curry's for £428 'clearance', £100 less than Amazon's current price!) and it's a completely different beast. Natural colours and fantastic blacks, the blacks probably better than my 2011 42-in Panasonic plasma, which is a gorgeous screen. I'd agree with Rolo's comments about everything else, though would say that off-axis viewing does start to deteriorate at angles of more than about 45 degrees on the horizontal plane and even more quickly in the vertical one. However, the effect is far more subtle than on the B6 set. It also seems inherent to LCD technology - I was shown one of the new high-end curved screens in my preferred AV store and even that suffered the blue blacks effect at angles beyond about 40 degrees horizontal.

The E6 isn't best in really dim lighting either, I started to see lightening/shimmering effects in dark areas at the edges of the screen even while sat directly in front of it when I dropped the lights to the same level I'd use with the plasma. I may be able to fix this with backlight adjustment, but for viewing in moderate to even quite bright light, this set looks very good.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2014, 12:47:07 BST
Rolo says:
You are right about off-axis viewing in the vertical plane, but this should not be a problem if the TV is at the right height and everyone is sitting down!

Posted on 4 May 2014, 10:27:57 BST
Private says:
Hi Rolo,
Great review.
Im looking at buying this TV and have a question that you may be able to help me with. I wont be using the Freeview option. I want to link my Humax Freesat box using HDMI cable to the tv. Once linked, will I loose the home screen settings on the TV? or will I have both the TV smart functions and the Humax smart functions available on the same screen?

In reply to an earlier post on 4 May 2014, 10:53:19 BST
Rolo says:
Hi Chris - I have a TVOnics PVR and basically the TVOnics controls takeover from the Panasonic - you need to press the APPS or HOME button on the Panasonic remote to access the TV's functions.
Hope that answers your question.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2014, 20:18:53 BST
Private says:
Hi, thanks for the reply. To confirm, if watching freesat, would the tv ever look like that shown on Amazon where you have 1 large screen and 7 smaller screens around the side? or just Freesat only?
thanks again, chris

In reply to an earlier post on 11 May 2014, 22:21:46 BST
Rolo says:
Well, depending how you set your home screen (I have mine set on Full Screen) you can see those small screens around your Freesat picture but switching to any of those other screens will take you out of Freesat.
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