A separate control system we would whole-heartedly recommend, though, is the free Viera Control App you can download for Android devices and iOS products such as the iPhone 5. As well as offering a much more useful touchscreen interface than the second remote, you can also rather brilliantly throw content from your portable screen directly onto the TV, or you can transfer what's showing on the TV onto your portable screen for watching elsewhere in the house.
Panasonic TX-L47WT50 Features
As you would expect of a flagship TV these days, the Panasonic TX-L47WT50 is well stocked with picture calibration tools, including colour management systems, gamma controls, and white balance adjustments. Plus you can control the level of strength of the set's Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) motion processing system, and its separate MPEG and standard noise reduction systems.
With so many calibration tools at its disposal, it's no surprise to find the Panasonic TX-L47WT50 endorsed by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF).
Panasonic TX-L47WT50 Picture Quality
The Panasonic TX-L47WT50's pictures are delivered via an edge LED lighting system, working hand-in-hand with a local dimming engine that can apply different luminance outputs to different segments of the LED lights depending on the local content of the image being shown. This should deliver a considerable boost to the TV's contrast.
However, our experience so far has been that Panasonic's local dimming technology is fairly fundamentally flawed. And sadly, the TX-L47WT50 continues this trend.
The basic problem here is that Panasonic's local dimming engine just isn't sophisticated enough. All too often it causes some really quite strident blocks of light to appear around bright parts of predominantly dark images. For instance, in the shot near the start of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2 where the camera tracks up from a shot of a bright downstairs kitchen to Harry, Ron and Hermione talking at the top of a dark staircase, you can very clearly see a rectangle of light stretching right across the screen across the diminishing part of the picture occupied by the brightness of the kitchen. The Sony KDL-55HX853, by comparison, shows no such obvious light 'block' with the same sequence.
Another great example of the sort of problems Panasonic's local dimming system can throw up occurs at around the 32-minute mark in The Deathly Hallows Blu-ray, where Neville leads Harry through a dark tunnel by torchlight. The bobbing and swaying of the torch sends the Panasonic TX-L47WT50's local dimming into meltdown, with large chunks of the picture changing their brightness levels in a seriously over-aggressive - and thus distracting - way.
This sequence also contains some pretty aggressive shifting of the picture's underlying brightness levels, showing that there's also not as much subtlety to the TV's dynamic contrast system as we'd like to see.
An obvious solution to at least some of these sort of distractions would be to just turn off the local dimming, right? Well, yes, turning it off certainly stops all the distracting light blocking. But it also results in a fairly drastic reduction in the image's black level response, leaving dark scenes looking grey and washed out. Dark colours look a bit unnatural as a result, and there’s also a noticeable drop off in visible shadow detailing.
This latter point does at least highlight just how unusually good the Panasonic TX-L47WT50 is at rendering shadow detail with its local dimming engine in play. And the general greyness of the no-local-dimming pictures also reminds us to say that actually the L47WT50‘s underlying black level response with dimming on is actually very good by LCD standards. There’s certainly no doubt that on balance we’d much rather have the local dimming on than turn it off. But all this really means, overall, is that there’s no way to watch dark scenes on the Panasonic TX-L47WT50 that doesn’t leave you feeling distracted at fairly regular intervals.
What’s particularly sad about this is that we can’t help but think the whole situation could have been avoided - or at least improved - if Panasonic had provided a backlight adjustment (something almost all other brands offer on their LCD TVs now) and some degree of control over the potency of the local dimming system.