With its simple yet modern design, Panasonic has done an admirable job crafting this TV. There is more than just looks to this TV, though. It performed well in most of our tests, including an extremely wide viewing angle for an LCD TV. The 3D experience was also a pleasant surprise; images in the foreground had a genuine 3D effect and crosstalk was not an issue while viewing.
Everything is not exactly rainbows and sunshine with the Panasonic TC-L47DT50, however. The colors on the TV are average and were bested by comparison models. Panasonic's Smart TV platform, Viera Connect, is a laborious affair, packed with slow animations and an uninspiring interface, which brings this TV down a few notches.
The TC-LxxDT50 series is fairly normal looking with a couple additions that give it a touch all its own. The first is the thin piece of clear plastic that bears Panasonic’s logo, which sits underneath the bezel. The Panasonic logo lights up by default but we recommend turning it off in the menu since it will brighten the TV too much.
The other addition is the base, which has a “neck” that sits on the back and protrudes to the middle, where the TV is seated. The way the TV sits on this "neck" reminded us of a face and really gives the TC-LxxDT50 series a unique look without being too extreme. Kudos must be given to the Panasonic design team, who have really elevated the appearance of their TVs. The TC-LxxDT50 series can compete with the likes of LG, Samsung, and Sony in the design department.
This Panasonic employs a thin brushed metal bezel around the screen that complements its slim profile. Coupled with its interesting base, the TC-LxxDT50 series has a stylish, modern vibe without seeming too futuristic.
It seems like the designers at Panasonic had a bit of fun with the base for the TC-LxxDT50 TVs. The base itself is made of a hard plastic that looks like brushed metal; it does an apt job of matching the bezel around the TV. There is a “neck” attached to the rear of the base that protrudes to the middle, bringing the TV with. Assembly is quite easy and requires a screw driver; the screws are provided. The base provides a 15° swivel angle.
The right side of this Panasonic has six hard plastic buttons for input, channel control, volume control and power. Manual buttons on a TV are always a plus and the TC-LxxDT50 series benefits from having them in an easy-to-find location that won't make you break your neck trying to find them.
There is nothing out of the ordinary here. The remote, which is the same one that is bundled with many of the new Panasonic TVs, looks and feels like the same tried-and-true remote that consumers are used to. This is not necessarily a bad thing, although internet functionality suffers as a result. Is a remote with a QWERTY keyboard too much to ask for?
Fortunately for us, Panasonic has an app for that. iOS and Android users can download the “Viera Remote” app and use their phones to control the TV, as long as they are connected via WiFi. Some of the Smart TV functions, like the browser, are slightly easier to control with the app but the platform as a whole is still sluggish (more on that later).
Panasonic packaged this TV with the usual suspects: the TV itself, the base, a remote, batteries, component/composite adapter, manual and quick setup guide.
Not included: 3D glasses.
Ports are located on the left of the TV with the exception of the power cord connection, which is towards the right. Immediately on the left are an SD card slot, three USB 2.0 ports, which can be used to charge the (separate) 3D glasses, and four HDMI ports. Located underneath this array of connections are five more ports: a component video input, a VGA input, a digital audio (S/PDIF) output, a cable jack and an Ethernet jack. The TC-LxxDT50 series TVs also come with built in WiFi that supports 802.11a/b/g/n on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz ranges.
There are no complaints with the placement of the ports. The HDMI ports are easily accessible on the left side and the 15° swivel angle that the base provides gives enough clearance to change connections whenever necessary.
The color curves represented here are not the worst but do present a couple of troubling areas. The blues and reds are much brighter than the blacks and greens. The blue curve in particular is very jagged, meaning the transition from different shades of blue is not very smooth. The black levels and green levels have gradual curves and thus are produced more accurately than blue and red. More on how we test color performance.
The color temperature was decent and the score reflects this. The only real downside here is the drop-off at the end, which means that as the screen gets darker, colors take on a warmer tone. More on how we test color temperature.
As shown by the chart below, the Panasonic TC-L47DT50 does not do the best job matching the colors produced by the international standard, Rec. 709. The white point is slightly off where it should be and the blues are under-saturated. More on how we test color temperature.
The TC-L47DT50 performed strongly here. Picture dynamics are all about consistency; we check how bright the peak brightness is when the screen is mostly black and how dark the blacks are when the screen is mostly white. Even though the Panasonic TC-L47DT50 did not have the darkest blacks, it had great peak whites and these stayed consistent. More on how we test picture dynamics.
The Panasonic TC-LxxDT50 series is a native 1080p display but also supports 1080i, 720p and 480i/p.
LCD TVs typically do not have the best viewing angles, at least compared to their plasma cousins. The Panasonic TC-L47DT50 was able to produce a great viewing angle and left the competition in the dust with an astonishing 120° total viewing angle.
Since the TV was calibrated with the backlight cranked up and it has incredibly bright peak white levels, reflection annoyance is not a problem with this TV.
The Panasonic TC-LxxDT50 series offers a motion processing feature, simply called “motion picture setting.” It has four settings: off, weak, medium and strong. The picture looked best with the setting off since even the weak setting produced the Soap Opera Effect.
During our motion tests, this Panasonic had mixed results. There was noticeable blur on images and jagged lines were also present. There did not seem to be any color trailing when images moved across the screen and the TC-L47DT50 gained points for that.
This is one very bright TV. On an all-white screen, the Panasonic TC-L47DT50 produced white levels that were radiant and clear with minimal shadows along the edges. An all-black screen also produced good results for this TV: black levels stayed consistent and there were no bright patches.
The TC-L47DT50 boasts two “8 train” speakers located on the rear at the bottom of each side. They are listed as four watts each, with a 10-Watt subwoofer built in for a total audio output of 18W.
The Panasonic TC-L47DT50 produces decent quality sound for built-in TV speakers, although they start to get a tinny sound when the volume is cranked up. The quality is improved by some added features that Panasonic included. The first is called "distance to wall," which is under the advanced audio settings. This feature reduces low frequency levels if the TV is either mounted to the wall or closer than one foot to the wall. The other feature is Panasonic's surround setting, which boosts the bass and actually does provide a more immersive experience.
Panasonic should be commended for their inclusion of a subwoofer on this TV. While the subwoofer provided will never compare to one that comes with a decent 5.1 system, it is a nice touch that consumers who do not have a 5.1 system will benefit from.
At just under $14 per year, the Panasonic is very good on power consumption. While it did not match the incredibly low cost of $10.22 per year that the LG 47LM6700 offers, it beat out the Samsung and Sony models that it was being compared to.
We always start our calibration by using the cinema picture mode and turning the backlight up to the maximum setting because it makes viewing the screen preferable in any type of lighting. The default cinema mode had motion processing on the "weak" setting and we turned it off. There was a setting called “Video Noise Reduction” that was turned to auto on the default settings. This setting reduces artifacts that might be present when there is a weak signal. We turned this feature off for testing purposes but did not find it to produce any sort of results when it was on.
All of our calibration is done in conjunction with the DisplayMate software.
This Panasonic comes loaded with an assortment of video modes, all of which can be tweaked to the user’s personal preference.
Panasonic uses active shutter technology for all of their current 3D TVs. This method of creating 3D involves the TV producing alternating frames, which are then synced up to the active shutter glasses. The result is a full 1080p image shown to each eye. When these images are alternating at a high enough frequency, the brain perceives 3D.
While the science can be confusing to understand, the proof is always in the pudding: how well does a TV produce 3D? In the case of the Panasonic TC-L47DT50, the answer is "very well."
As with all TVs, the contrast ratio goes down when 3D glasses are on because the peak brightness is drastically cut. This Panasonic goes from a very respectable 1304:1 contrast ratio in 2D down to a measly 257:1, which is not bad for 3D contrast. The quality was smooth and vibrant and never annoying. The 3D effect was clearly noticeable but never overwhelming. Objects in the foreground would typically "pop out" of the screen. Impressive stuff, indeed.
The 3D experience on the Panasonic TC-L47DT50 was never overwhelming and that is not a bad thing at all. This TV struck a good balance of having 3D effects that are noticeable but not too in-your-face, which can become annoying when watching 3D for long periods of time. Crosstalk was never an issue while testing this TV and the image quality produced was very good.
We wouldn't call Panasonic's 3D "mind-blowing" but then again, there really is no 3D TV on the market today that is.
Unfortunately for consumers, Panasonic does not include 3D glasses with their TVs so we used their active shutter glasses (model TY-ER3D4MU) that they sell separately (MSRP $79.99). The glasses initially feel a bit awkward because they are big. The size of the glasses does make them comfortable, though. After wearing the glasses for an extended period of time, we forgot they were even on. Their size and comfort come with a minor downside: these glasses will fly off your head if you shake or move your head quickly. This shouldn’t be a problem while watching a movie but it is worth noting.
With 3D glasses on, colors are expected to become dimmer: the blacks get slightly darker but the brightness gets much dimmer. In the case of the Panasonic TC-L47DT50, the contrast ratio was cut down from 1304:1 to 257:1, which is completely normal for 3D TVs.
The TC-L47DT50 tested well for 3D color temperature. Similar to the 2D results, as the screen gets darker, 3D colors will take on more of a warmer tone.
Again, the curves here look similar to the 2D results with the exception of the blue curve. The blues, which were already bright to begin with, are even brighter in 3D.
The blues get even more under-saturated than they were before with 3D glasses on.
Crosstalk, which is a type of distortion that occurs when a 3D image is perceived as two images, was not a problem when viewing the TC-L47DT50. There were no sightings of these "ghosted" images, which ruin the illusion of 3D.
Somehow Panasonic took everything that was great about its menu and did the opposite for the internet features on this TV. Viera Connect, as its Smart TV platform is known, can be accessed easily by pressing the green “internet” button on the remote. After doing this, the user is greeted by a cluttered and sluggish display. Navigation is done with the arrows and the OK button but it seems like a chore due to the laggy animation of selecting each item.
The browser included is not something we would recommend using, especially in the age of smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks. Using the remote to type in a website’s address or to search is simply not fun. The number pad, which lists assorted letters for each number, cannot be used; users must resort to highlighting each letter with the arrows on the remote and pressing OK. To make matters worse, the keyboard displayed on the screen is alphabetical, not QWERTY, which makes for a counterintuitive experience.
Another way of controlling the Viera Connect platform is by downloading the official app on your Android or iPhone. The app, called "Viera Remote," allows you to control the interface by touch; moving your finger up, down, left or right will highlight the corresponding app or function on the TV. Pressing the screen will launch the app/function.
If desired, a USB keyboard will work with the browser. Strangely, a USB mouse will not.
Some of the apps included on Viera Connect are Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Facebook, Netflix, Skype and YouTube. Apps like Amazon Instant Video, hulu Plus and Netflix all require a subscription. Using YouTube will give you abbreviated searches, much like it does on mobile platforms. This means that some copyrighted videos that show up on the computer version of YouTube will not appear on the TV’s version.
Other apps available to download include games, a weather app and other content streaming apps.
The TC-LxxDT50 series features Skype functionality. The Skype app comes preloaded on the TV and a webcam can be purchased through Panasonic’s website.
There is social media functionality built into the TV as well. Twitter and Facebook are both preloaded and allow users to tweet or update their status while watching TV. The interface to do this is not very intuitive and it seems like most people could easily do this from the comfort of their smartphones while still watching TV.
With a USB drive plugged in, the TC-L47DT50 detected compatible files to display. The TV lists all files into three categories: photos, videos and music. We had to use two different USB drives to test this because the first one used could not be read by the TV.
Panasonic has done a great job designing the menu interface for the TC-L47DT50. The design is simple: each category is presented on the left side of the screen and labeled accordingly. Panasonic tells the user exactly what each feature does and even how to use the remote. A picture stays on the bottom of the screen that explains how to select an item and how to return to the previous screen. What really makes the menu a pleasure to use is how smooth the experience feels. There is no lag when pressing up or down on the remote to select a different category.
The instruction manual is more like a setup manual: it describes how to put the batteries in the remote, how to assemble the base and what the connections are. All things considered, it is pretty bare and not very helpful at all.
The eHelp digital manual was much better. It can be brought up by pressing the “?” button on the bottom right of the remote. The digital manual provides explanations for what the different picture modes do, how to properly view 3D and how to connect to the Viera Connect platform, among other things.
The $1,899 Panasonic TC-L47DT50 is a tough match for the $1,799 LG 47LM6700. The Panasonic wins in the contrast and viewing angle department while the LG has better colors and is the current champ of 3D.
The Panasonic’s contrast ratio of 1304:1 bests the LG’s ratio of 1097:1. While the blacks were not quite as deep as the LG's, the Panasonic had much brighter whites.
Both TVs have pretty good color temperatures. Whereas the Panasonic TC-L47DT50 has its colors get warmer when the screen gets darker, the LG 47LM6700 has its colors getting cooler when the screen gets darker.
The color curves tell a different story. The Panasonic has problems with its blues getting too bright when luminance is increased. The LG performs much better here, with all of its color curves performing adequately.
Both TVs have very good 3D but the edge goes to LG, whose 3D experience is tops among TVs right now.
The Panasonic has a great viewing angle for an LCD, with its total viewing angle of 120° beating the LG’s total viewing angle of 61.5°.
Both TVs are very similar, with the main difference being that the Panasonic offers an SD card slot while the LG has a dedicated 3.5mm audio jack.
The Panasonic TC-L47DT50 ($1,899 MSRP) is on par with the Samsung UN46D6500 (MSRP $1,799) in most areas. The Samsung costs slightly more to run over the course of a year at $18.16 but that can be forgiven because of the cheaper price tag and the significantly higher contrast ratio. Samsung’s Smart TV platform is also leaps and bounds ahead of Panasonic’s, which is something to consider if internet connectivity is a priority.
The Samsung boasts a contrast ratio of 6309:1 compared to the Panasonic’s 1304:1. While the Samsung does not get nearly as bright as the Panasonic, it had extremely deep blacks.
Both TVs had very similar results with our color temperature test. Both had a steep drop-off towards the end of the chart, meaning that as the screen gets darker, colors look warmer. The Panasonic performed slightly better here. The Samsung did beat the Panasonic in producing more accurate colors.
The Samsung UN46D6500 has the better 3D contrast ratio but the 3D effect was more enjoyable with the Panasonic TC-L47DT50.
The Panasonic’s 120° total viewing angle beat out the rather awful 31° total viewing angle of the Samsung.
The Panasonic features an SD card slot while the Samsung has two additional analog audio inputs. The rest of the inputs are identical between the TVs.
In most areas, the Sony Bravia KDL-46HX729 (MSRP $1,709) is a slightly better value than the Panasonic TC-L47DT50 (MSRP $1,799). They have very similar operating costs, with the Panasonic being about $2 cheaper over the course of a year. Performance-wise, the Sony edges out the Panasonic, especially in the realm of contrast ratios: the Sony boasts a superb 5123:1 to Panasonic's 1304:1.
There is no contest here: the Sony gets deeper blacks and brighter whites than the Panasonic. The Sony KDL-46HX729’s contrast ratio of 5123:1 is a respectable stat, especially compared to the decent 1304:1 ratio that the Panasonic puts up.
While the Panasonic TC-L47DT50 has a good color temperature, the Sony Bravia KDL-46HX729 has an amazing one. There are hardly any perceptible errors on the chart for the Sony, which is quite an amazing feat.
The surprisingly good 3D effect in the Panasonic beat out the headache-inducing flickering that is present in the Sony.
The Panasonic’s total viewing angle of 120° is the clear winner here since the Sony can only muster up a total viewing angle of 34.5°.
The Panasonic TC-L47DT50 features an SD card slot and one more USB port than the Sony has, while the Sony has two more analog audio inputs.
With its modern good looks and sleek profile, the Panasonic TC-L47DT50 ($1,899 MSRP) is an appealing TV that scored well with our tests.
The two best features on this TV, aside from the design, are the exceptional viewing angle and a contrast ratio that benefits from a great peak brightness. Another thing to consider with the Panasonic TC-L47DT50 is the 3D experience, which is quite enjoyable.
Viera Connect, Panasonic’s Smart TV platform, is another story. It's a mediocre improvement over last year's version, integrating a frustrating browser experience and sluggish interface. Panasonic has a long way to go if it wants to catch up with LG, Samsung or Sony in this area.
There are plenty of options for a 47-inch TV that includes 3D and internet features. While LG bests this TV in the 3D department and Samsung bests it in the internet department, the Panasonic TC-L47DT50 holds its own thanks to its great uniformity and the previously mentioned viewing angle.
The Panasonic TC-L47DT50 was more expensive than all of the other TVs we compared it to and as such, it is tough to recommend on price alone. If you are looking for a great mix of 3D, picture dynamics and a screen that everyone in the living room can view, this Panasonic is well worth checking out.
The TC-LxxDT50 TVs are Panasonic's high-end LED LCD 3D HDTVs. They have a native resolution of 1080p, employ Panasonic's patented 8 train speakers and make of the Viera Connect Smart TV platform.
Meet the tester
An enthusiast of all things tech, Josh is one of Reviewed.com's resident television experts. When he's not looking at bright TV screens in a dark room, he's probably reviewing a laptop or finding a new snack at 7-11.
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