What is the Panasonic TX-L47WT65B?
Design and Connections
Connectivity options are provided by 3 HDMI inputs, running down the side and less than 9cm from the edge of the bezel so that included wire-tidy tube will be put to good use keeping your leads hidden. Also on the side facing connections panel are 3 USB ports, a headphone jack, a S/PDIF digital audio out and a SD Card slot. Running across the bottom, and downward facing, there’s a LAN port; two satellite antennae inputs (for dual tuner recording), a single DTV aerial terminal – internally it’s dual for Freeview HD recording; adapter inputs for component and composite video inputs; a connection for the RGB Scart adapter and L/R stereo audio jacks. The WT65 can also hook up to Bluetooth enabled devices to stream audio. This year sees the back of a D-SUB VGA PC connection for Panasonics so it’s HDMI only from here on in.
The WT65 supports Panasonic’s new Viewing Mode - Custom, to accompany the existing Dynamic, Normal, Cinema and True Cinema options. A further delve in to the Setup menu will allow for 2 further Viewing Modes – Professional 1 and Professional 2 – which contain a very full suite of calibration controls including two and ten point White Balance controls, pre-set gamma values, as well as 10 point adjustments and a full 6 point Colour Management System (CMS) for detailed calibration of both the primary and secondary colours.
On the front page of Picture options are more usual choices for Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness and Colour and – new for this year – a dedicated Backlight slider. Also ringing the changes is a new selection of Warm2 as a Colour Temp in addition to Cool 1 & 2, Warm1 and Normal. We’ll have to investigate the merits of each later in the review but Warm2 looks favourite in terms of out-of-the-box accuracy. The front page of picture options is also where one will find the ‘local dimming’, Adaptive Backlight Control with settings of Min, Max and Off; again, we’ll evaluate these further in.
As well as the new content and interface, Panasonic has also launched their new VIERA Remote 2 app. This latest version of their remote app is available for both iOS and Android and includes a redesigned interface and some new features such as access to the apps page. There is also Swipe & Share 2.0 which allows for easier sharing of content between devices, with just a flick of the finger (or thumb). The new Smart Calibration interface Panasonic’s allows full access to the necessary adjustments for a full picture calibration and has the great benefit of not calling up the user menus, which is an annoying trait of the Panasonic’s on two fronts: a) the menus time out too quickly and you’re often left measuring them and b) even their presence at the bottom of the screen affect measurements, albeit only slightly. The only slight drawback is that the Smart Calibration feature only works in conjunction with the ‘Custom’ Viewing Mode; ideally we would have like to have seen it interact with the professional modes too. We’re also very pleased to report that the updated Android version of the new app is now as steady as the iOS version.
The Media Player and Media Server also worked near flawlessly, connecting easily with our home network and a number of devices and providing extensive file support. Overall we found the 2013 version of Panasonic's Smart TV System to be hugely successful in its ambitions of uniting and simplifying the experience and offering bags of content, to boot. We’re increasingly finding ourselves using the apps built-in to TVs, instead of turning to external devices, as they increase in effectiveness to rival them and the WT65 was certainly excellent for our diet of streamed on-demand content. The inclusion of a fully-fledged dual tuner PVR for both Freesat and Freeview HD services is further testament to the TV becoming an all-in-one solution but you need to make sure the external Hard Drive used is USB 3.0 compliant.
The pre-calibrated Professional Viewing Modes provided a very good starting point for a detailed calibration. Greyscale errors were relatively minor in the brighter area of the range with luminance too high near black, causing larger errors near black because of the greater Gamma error. There’s an over-abundance of green, generally, but with 10 point White Balance and gamma controls, we should be able to fix that fairly easily. The colour performance out-of-the-box was even better with just an undersaturated red giving concerns the native capabilities of the panel weren’t up to hitting the Rec.709 standard. At least with a fully featured CMS on board, we would get an opportunity to find out.
As we’d expect from such a comprehensive set of calibration controls, we were able to extract near impeccable performance from the TX-L47WT65B. Both greyscale and gamma are tracking flat as the proverbial pancake and with a highest Delta Error – barring black – of just 0.33, it’s an incredibly accurate performance from the WT65B. Blueish blacks are a common trait of LED LCD TVs and there’s nothing we can do with it in any case.
Video ProcessingPanasonic’s video processing generally continues to improve year-on-year and the WT65 chomped through most of our usual barrage of testing. It proved an excellent scaler of standard definition signals with clear and crisp reproduction of even the finer details (where present), without any rough-around-the-edges ringing. For those that still have a large DVD collection but no upscaling player, the good news continues as the WT65 had no issues in identifying progressively shot film material sent in an interlaced signal, meaning as clean a representation of your old movies as you could reasonably hope for. Video deinterlacing was slightly less impressive with a few jagged edges at ‘medium acute’ angles and very noticeable problems at the most acute (-10 to 10 degree) range on the Spears and Munsil evaluation disc test. Handling of Blu-ray Disc at 1080p24 could be a little smoother and with certain tests with very fast moving content, it did lose quite a lot of detail when 24p Smooth Film wasn’t switched to Mid or above. Doing so, however, introduces the dreaded soap-effect and ruins the look of film so we’d rather put up with the odd skipped frame and a bit of judder.
Contrast, Black Levels and Screen UniformityBarring the blinking zones, we’d assumed that the WT65 would come with the same panel found in the DT65 but there appear to be a few differences in performance, and not necessarily for the better as far as this section goes. The WT65 blanks its screen completely almost immediately after receiving a black signal but by pressing the pause button on our Blu-ray remote we were able to get a reading of around 0.18 cd/m2, against a full screen white of 120cd/m2 giving a decidedly unimpressive On/Off Contrast of 675:1. Averaged black levels on the ANSI checkerboard pattern are more revealing as it shows how the WT65 will perform with mixed content but the 0.155 cd/m2 number attained here is only really a mediocre showing and gave an ANSI contrast of 616:1, with an average peak white output of 95.4 cd/m2.
The WT65B proved extremely responsive for gaming and with the Backlight set to our preferred level we got an input lag figure of 34 milliseconds so clearly all the of that processing grunt has been put to good use. To get latency as low as that, it’s necessary to engage the Game Mode from the Options sub-menu in the Picture Menu but it’s great that it can even be applied to a calibrated mode and adds to those better produced games. We’re still (slowly) making our way through Okami HD on the PS3 and it looked splendid on the WT65.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Normal Mode: 93.3W
- Calibrated – Pro Mode: 79.4W
- Calibrated - 3D Mode: 100.4W
Panasonic TX-L47WT65B Picture Quality 2D
So if the added zones are a mixed bag in terms of motion performance, what of the local dimming or, to put it more correctly the adaptive backlight control? Well, unfortunately, there’s no real improvement over the DT65 and ET60 we’ve covered recently and that’s to say it isn’t really very good. The Low setting is anything but local, it’s a global dimming control that could have its uses should your unit suffer from uneven backlighting – mercifully the WT65 here was very good in that regard – but the Mid and High Settings work a bit differently and introduce luminance – and to a lesser extent, colour - shifts into pictures, that can spoil the calibrated image. The picture is analysed in blocks with adaptive adjustments made in an attempt to maximise intra-scene contrast by making bright portions of the picture brighter still and darkening the areas nearby. It’s not always unsuccessful and is sometimes effective in giving darker scenes more contrast but there were enough instances of misbehaviour for us not to consider either as a truly viable option. As we’ve found with some other ‘local dimming’ systems in that past – perhaps tellingly those from LG – the Mid setting provides the best black levels but crushes detail and ultimate dynamic range so use with the caveats mentioned borne in mind.
On a positive note, the Panasonic TX-L47WT65 scores extremely highly for its accurate colours and neutral greyscale. Even out of the box, it was impressive and much of our viewing time was spent in admiration at the level of fidelity offered. Viewing angles have always been a strength of IPS panels but the WT65 takes it a little further by not only offering colours that stay (all but) true from fairly acute angles but it also manages to almost totally retain the, admittedly average, native black levels and contrast too. The WT65 employs a unique ‘Phase’ filter to achieve this feat and Panasonic terms it ‘Advanced Wide Viewing Angle’ but whatever it is, and whatever it’s called, it really works and it’s a technology we’d like to see more of down the line.
It may seem like we’ve been harsh in the WT65’s picture assessment but the truth of the matter is, for a flagship product, costing top dollar, it simply doesn’t do enough to justify its lofty billing. For around £150 less, you could gain an enormously improved picture quality, the same feature-set and an extra 3-inches in screen real estate by investing in a Panasonic 50VT65 Plasma TV. It won’t go quite as bright as the WT however, so if yours is a room with lots of ambient light then the WT65 is still a contender but we know where our money would go.
Panasonic TX-L47WT65B Picture Quality 3D
- Amazing design - if you like things contemporary
- Superb colours, especially after calibration
- Motion handling is pretty good for LED
- Bags of smart features
- My Home Screen is very good
- 3D is nice and comfortable to watch
- Dirty screen effect was very bad in sample provided
- Dimming doesn't work very well
- Mediocre black levels
- Dynamic range is also quite weak
- Price to performance in the key areas doesn't seem up to it
Panasonic TX-L47WT65B (WT65) TV Review
What really sets the WT65B apart from the crowd is its distinctive air stand that really does give the sense that the WT65 is suspended in mid-air. Some will like it, some will not but there’s no disputing Panasonic’s design team are now pushing the envelope rather than playing it safe, as we’ve seen in years gone by. There’s also a bright white back-plate and a light blue LED strip running across the bottom of the bezel to give it distinction though, thankfully, the lighting can be switched off for late night viewing. Panasonic’s new my Home Screen interface is excellent and very welcoming for novice Smart TV users and the Touch Pad controller also works very well; there is a conventional handset included for those that prefer.
The excellent calibration controls contained in Panasonic’s extensive Picture Menu allowed us to gain an absolutely reference set of results for calibration. Picture processing was also of a generally excellent standard but the WT65B’s mediocre black levels and dynamic range will mean it’s disadvantaged in a room with fairly low lighting. The adaptive backlight control doesn’t really help, as in its most contrast boosting configuration it introduces errors to colours, with luminance particularly affected. Black level performance isn’t everything, of course, and the TX-L47WT65B can more than hold its own in a brighter environment where the phase filter really comes in to its own, allowing black to look black. Viewing angles are also superb for LED but the major annoyance in the sample supplied came from a highly noticeable dirty screen effect that reared its blotchy head on virtually all camera pans when they were over areas of the picture featuring a lot of one colour. Grass and skies, for example, really showed it up and we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t both distracting and disappointing; especially in a premium grade product.
There’s no doubt the Panasonic WT65 would cut a dash in any contemporary living room, with its dazzling design and array of smart features but it’s let down by one too many picture deficiencies for a product sitting at the very top table of flagship TVs – and costing as much as it does.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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