You can also choose from three different settings for the TV’s Intelligent Frame Creation processing, which interpolates extra frames of picture in a bid to make motion cleaner and smoother. Personally we’d only recommend using this on its lowest power setting or turning it off altogether, as it can cause a few image artefacts. Though it’s at least good enough to warrant at bit of experimentation with different source types.
Also to be treated with care is the set’s noise reduction system, which defaults to Auto but is frankly better left off when watching HD sources.
Panasonic TX-L55ET5 Image Quality
Unleashed on a variety of 2D and 3D sources, the Panasonic TX-L55ET5 proves a slightly unsophisticated but ultimately very enjoyable performer.
The unsophisticated bits come in the form of the unit’s pretty basic approach to upscaling standard definition, the slightly ‘coarse’ look given to its 3D images, and a rather low-on-nuance approach to colours.
Looking at these in turn, standard definition pictures tend to look a bit soft, and not as free of source digital compression noise as we often see with Panasonic TVs. The set does, of course, have a noise reduction system, but while using this does reduce the obviousness of the compression blocking, it also makes the picture look even softer.
Panasonic TX-L55ET5 3D Pictures
With 3D, as noted before with very large passive 3D TVs, you can quite clearly make out signs of the 3D filter that lies across the screen in the picture. This is most evident as a jagged look to curved edges, but you can also sometimes see horizontal line structure over bright parts of the picture – especially if those bright parts are quite small. There are plenty of advantages to the passive approach too, mind you, which we’ll get into presently.
Finally, with colours there’s a tendency for expanses of colour – and skin tones – to look a bit flat and one-dimensional thanks to the TV not delineating quite as many blend subtleties as the best TVs in town.
From here on in, though, the news is mostly good. Going back to 3D, for instance, while resolution hounds may rue the slightly coarse edges and a marginal loss of resolution versus the full HD active 3D format, more mainstream users will lap up the passive 3D advantages of a completely flicker-free (and thus less tiring) experience; pretty much no crosstalk ghosting noise provided you keep your vertical viewing angle within 13 degrees above or below the screen; and the fact that you get four pairs of 3D glasses included for free.
This is enough glasses to get an average family immediately ‘3D-ed up’, and contrasts nicely with the fact that the vast majority of Panasonic’s active 3D plasma TVs don’t ship with any free 3D glasses at all.
The Panasonic TX-L55ET5’s 3D images are also bright and colourful, and enjoy a very natural sense of depth. All of which means, basically, that they’re really easy to engage with and get lost in, even over a quite protracted viewing session.
Also, while standard definition images may look a bit soft, things really snap into focus as soon as you pipe in some quality HD. Detail levels are strong, with the screen’s 55-inch size doing a great job of convincingly rendering all the detail present in a good quality Blu-ray. The detail is also rendered with only the very faintest and rarest traces of noise, and for the vast majority of the time in 2D mode you aren’t aware of the structure of the 3D filter applied to the screen.