What is the Panasonic Smart TV System?
Some, like Samsung's Tizen powered platform, have sought to mimic WebOS but their system was clearly unfinished on its release and remains problematic with various features missing. Other manufacturers have turned to third party operating systems with differing degrees of success. Sony and Philips are using Android but issues with that platform have either delayed the release of their TVs or resulted in systems that don't initially work properly, in much the same way as Samsung. Panasonic have enlisted the help of Firefox to overhaul their smart platform and whilst there are still a few missing features, most notably Freeview Play, the system does appear to be working as demonstrated at their European Convention earlier in the year.
Home Screen 2.0
In the picture below we have pinned the Netflix and Freeview Play apps to the home page. However you can add as many channels, apps and devices as you like to the Home page and the idea is for you to customise it so that all your favourite cards are there when you press the Home button on the remote control. So if you pinned Netflix, Amazon Instant, Youtube, Wuaki TV and Freeview Play to the Home page, that would give you almost all the TV catch-up and video streaming services in one convenient place. All you need to do then is press the home button and rotate through your choices to the one you want.
It's this simplicity that makes Panasonic's new platform so appealing, you can easily add as many channels, apps or devices as you like to the home page and then you just scroll through them like a carousel until you reach the one you want to select. We suspect even your granny could get the hang of this platform and navigation is extremely easy, especially with the new touch pad controller. It's also nicely designed and responsive in operation, making it a pleasure to use.
EPG & PVR Features
Along with their EPG, Panasonic TVs also offer a choice of recording options for even greater storage flexibility and ease. You can just hook up an external hard disk drive or slot in an SD Memory Card to store your favourite TV shows or films. Alternatively, if you connect a HDD via USB you can utilise the Recording functions and access even more features. Once attached you will have access to a host of convenient features such as Timer Recording and recording Live TV.
One of the big new features for this year is Freeview Play, which will provide access to BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 and Demand 5 in one convenient place. Although the service hasn't launched yet, as soon as it does Panasonic TVs will offer access to all the UK TV catch-up services, along with on-demand and live TV. We will update this review once the service is live and working. Of course Freetime is still available and since Panasonic already offer Netflix, Amazon Instant, Wuaki TV and YouTube, only BlinkBox and Now TV are missing from their roster.
Panasonic Smart TV System Video Review
We found that web pages loaded quite quickly, especially with the higher-end models that have better processing. Using the Touch Pad controller or remote app, it was easy to navigate around. We also found the browser’s bookmark launcher to be quite useful because, when you call up the Web Browser you immediately have the possibility to navigate through a series of bookmarked website thumbnails using your TV remote control. This approach added convenience and faster access to our favourite sites, as we didn't have to type in a new Web address every time.
- Simple design
- Very intuitive
- Easy to use
- Plenty of apps
- Nothing really
Panasonic 2015 Smart TV System Review
In terms of content, Panasonic have most things covered including Netflix, Amazon, Instant, Wuaki TV and YouTube. Although it is currently delayed, once Freeview Play is working, they will also be able to offer all the UK TV catch-up services as well. The layout of the new system also makes it easy to connect to other devices and networks, playback other media, access any recorded content and even browse the web. There are also social networking apps like Facebook and Twitter, whilst the EPG and PVR features have had a overhaul, making the entire system feel very cohesive. In fact we really like Panasonic's new Smart TV platform, it's well designed, simple to use, responsive and comprehensive - which is all you can ask from a platform.
Ease of Use
Media Playback Quality
Applications - Software
Applications - Hardware
Voice and Motion Controls
Our Review Ethos
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