Review Price £1,245.00
Panasonic TX-L47DT50 active 3D LED TV
We’ve already done a first look from the CES at Panasonic’s new flagship LCD TV for 2012, the WT50 series. But at Panasonic’s recent product convention in Hamburg, our eye was also caught by the step-down LCD model from the WT50, the DT50 series. So we spent as much time as we could glued to the 47in L47DT50 - and came away feeling as if it could actually be this model that marks Panasonic’s most successful LCD series for 2012.
For starters, unlike so many past generations of Panasonic TV, it looks lovely. Its ultra-slim silver bezel is sleek, shiny and feels extremely well built. In fact, it’s the spitting image of some of Samsung’s recent, highly successful designs. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, we guess.
The 47in size of the L47DT50 is significant too, for it signifies Panasonic’s new, doubtless tough decision to introduce very large LCD TVs, rather than sticking with plasma for its ‘home cinema’ screens.
Heading up an impressive spec sheet on the L47DT50 is a 1600Hz motion rate - a figure derived from the fact that it’s a native 200Hz panel combined with a backlight that goes off eight times for every image frame. Our hands on with the screen certainly suggested that this did lead to more clarity and less ‘trailing’ when the set was handling fast-paced action during a demonstration featuring black animation against a white background.
Also very impressive are the L47DT50’s energy credentials. The screen has been rated A using the new industry standard, and is allegedly able to deliver a 25% brighter image at the same time that it uses 40% less power. A head to head of a DT50 against one of Panasonic’s 2010 LCD TVs (apparently no 2011 model was available that was equivalent in spec/range position to the DT50...) bore this out, with the DT50 consistently measuring under 60W of running power and occasionally getting down as low as 40.
The L47DT50 benefits from one of Panasonic’s latest-generation IPS Alpha LCD panel designs. As usual, this results in a markedly wider realistic viewing angle than you usually get with LCD TVs. You have to be almost 75 degrees off axis before the DT50’s pictures really start to desaturate and lose contrast like they do on most LCD TVs from a far shallower angle.
Not surprisingly given it’s only one step down from the top of Panasonic’s new LCD TV range, the DT50 series carries Panasonic’s latest Smart Viera online functionality, which adds - or will add in the next few months - Netflix, fitness apps, Disney Books, an interactive ‘help’ centre and Myspace among other things to 2011’s Viera Connect proposition.
If there’s any thing to be disappointed about with the DT50 series, it’s that it doesn’t have a dual-core processor. That’s reserved for Panasonic’s WT50, VT50 and GT50 series. This means its picture processing isn’t as powerful as that of the dual-core sets, and that it doesn’t have some of their multi-tasking functionality, where different ‘layers‘ of smart functionality can operate simultaneously. For instance, unlike the dual-core sets, the DT50 will not allow you to simultaneously have up to six ‘apps‘ open at once so that you can easily switch between them.
In action, besides the impressive motion processing strength mentioned earlier, the L47DT50 produces extremely impressive levels of brightness for such an energy-conscious screen, as well as rich colours and high amounts of detail.
Its 3D capabilities, too, look very good indeed, as levels of dynamism and shadow detail you don’t see with Panasonic’s 3D plasmas are joined by surprisingly little crosstalk for an LCD TV.
The only area of the L47D50’s performance that raised significant concerns during our hands on with it was its black level response, with dark scenes looking a bit more grey than we’d like, especially when watching 3D. But of course, we weren’t able to perform a full calibration of the TVs during our hands on, so it may be possible to improve this situation once we get final review samples. Talking of which, look for a full review in the next three to four weeks!