Panasonic Smart Viera 2014: Set Up
Panasonic leads the way when it comes to guiding users through the ins, outs and complexities of its smart system. During initial installation you get impressively fulsome and jargon-free descriptions of what you need to do to get your smart features set up properly, and as with last year Panasonic even goes so far as to provide a spoken tutorial to help you learn your way around the My Home Screen interface.
Admittedly the voice for this tutorial is a droney ‘computer lady’ affair straight out of the 1980s, but the demo still works well, and is well worth a few minutes of your time.
Also much appreciated is the way Panasonic provides a row of shortcuts and help facilities along the top of the My Home Screen interface, meaning you never feel lost or unable to track down help if you’ve forgotten how to do something or don’t know where to go next.
One last point to cover here is the impressive extra functionality made available if you use your smartphone or tablet in conjunction with a Smart Viera TV and the Viera TV Remote app. For instance, you can stream broadcasts from your TV to your smart device in another room, and if you’ve got a TV with twin tuners you can even stream a different channel to the one being watched on the main TV.
You can also very easily use your smart device app to share multimedia content from that device to the TV, or vice versa.
Panasonic Smart Viera System: Performance
Considering how much Panasonic’s latest TVs have got going on, they run surprisingly slickly and stably. Or at least that’s been the case with the relatively high-end TVs we’ve seen so far.
Menus load quickly for the most part – almost instantaneously where the My Home Screen menus are concerned. The Freetime content can cause a slight delay as you scroll backwards through the EPG, but not so much that it becomes frustrating.
We’ve tested two new Panasonic TVs for a number of days each now, and we’re pleased to say that everything – both the new and old smart features – has worked 100% reliably, without a single dodgy link, crash or excessive loading delay. This is very impressive given how many extra layers of technical complication the extravagant new smart features have introduced.
The inability of the streaming service/built-in HEVC decoder to handle Netflix 4K on the UHD Panasonic AX802 models is a blow, mind you, and we also experienced a few handshaking issues with our usually trouble-free 4K server during our AX802 tests. But these aren’t really so much ‘Smart TV’ issues as hardware issues, so we won’t dwell on them here.