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Panasonic TX-L55ET60 review

The low-down on Panasonic's cheapest 55-inch 3D TV

Our Verdict

The L55ET60's premium looks provide a beautiful disguise for its mid-range status, and if there's a friendlier Smart TV in town right now, we haven't met it

For

  • Gorgeous, ultra-slim design
  • Excellent 3D picture quality
  • Brilliant Smart interface
  • Impressive Smart Device app

Against

  • Average black level response
  • Limited online video services
  • High input lag
  • Visible 3D line structure

Looking at the TX-L55ET60, it's hard to believe it only sits in the middle of Panasonic's new TV range. Thanks to its gloriously slim metallic silver and glass frame, it looks every inch a flagship TV.

A quick double check, though, confirms that the L55ET60 really is only a mid-range model. In fact, it's Panasonic's entry-level 55-inch 3D model for 2013, complete with a relatively painless price tag of £1500.

Making the L55ET60's mid-range status even more startling is its carriage of Panasonic's superlative My Home Screen interface, which does a brilliant job of streamlining your access to the TV's myriad content sources. Plus it supports Panasonic's Viera Connect online platform, and enjoys a potent-looking picture engine that includes a '600Hz' motion system and an IPS panel designed to support wider viewing angles than standard 'VA' panels.

If you can live without 3D, you can save yourself a few bob by stepping down to Panasonic's E6 series. These TVs use a VA panel and have less potent motion processing, but as our recent review of the 42-inch L42E6 proves, they're still rather good. A fact which raises expectations for the ET60 series sky high.

Above the ET60 series in Panasonic's range are the DT65 series, which adds local dimming to the TV specification, and the WT65 series, which further adds Panasonic's most advanced motion processing system ever, delivering a 3600Hz effect.

In terms of products from rival brands, it's a difficult call at the moment because so many of the big brands have only just started launching their new 2013 ranges. But interesting, still-available (at the time of writing) 2012 models you might want to check out would be the Samsung UE55ES8000, and the Sony KDL-55HX753.

Features

Panasonic first introduced its Metal & Glass design concept in 2012 but only applied it to its two top-tier LCD series, the WT50 and DT50s. Happily, though, the concept has been both refined for 2012 and extended further down the range, so that it now sits glamorously around the 55-inch screen of the mid-range L55ET60.

And when we say 'glamorously', we mean it. The glinting light silver metallic finish of what little there is of the super-slim bezel looks delightful, as does the sliver of see-through material that angles out from the bottom edge. Even the silvery stand is a significant cut above the mid-range norm.

Connectivity is decent rather than outstanding, with highlights of three HDMIs, two USBs, an SD card slot, integrated Wi-Fi and a VGA computer port. A fourth HDMI would have been appreciated, and we're also increasingly starting to see three USBs on today's multimedia savvy TVs. Still, we must remember that the L55ET60 is ultimately a mid-range model, however high-end it might look.

Panasonic TX-L55ET60

You can play back multimedia files from USB sticks or networked DLNA computers, as well as going online with Panasonic's Viera Connect platform. Among the most interesting services on this are Netflix, Acetrax, the BBC iPlayer, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Eurosport, BBC Sport, BBC News and - with the addition of an optional extra camera - Skype.

There are currently no apps for LoveFilm, ITV Player, 4OD, BlinkBox and Demand Five, but hopefully some if not all of these services will arrive on Viera Connect at some point.

The L55ET60 does a brilliant job of helping you access all your content via its new My Home Screen interface, which we'll have a closer look at in the Usability section.

Turning next to the L55ET60's screen specifications, the first thing to report is that it's a 3D TV, employing LG's passive system (where a polarising filter is placed across the front of the screen). Four pairs of passive glasses have been included free.

It's a full HD screen - as you would expect these days - made using the IPS LCD panel technology designed to deliver a slightly wider viable viewing angle than VA panel types. Excellent though this sounds, however, past experience suggests that using IPS panels can result in less impressive contrast performances than you get from VA panels...

A combination of a native 100Hz panel with a 6-segment scanning backlight, meanwhile, delivers an impressive-sounding 600Hz effect, hopefully keeping LCD's common motion blur problems to a minimum.

When it comes to video processing, the L55ET60 is powered by Panasonic's V-Real 3D Pro engine, which is responsible for the TV's motion processing options, noise reduction tools, and dynamic backlight control system - all of which can have their power levels individually adjusted to suit your tastes and the requirements of different types of source material.

As a side point, it's a real relief to note that Panasonic has put right a key omission of its 2012 LCD TV settings by including a backlight adjustment. This makes calibrating pictures much easier and more effective.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports3
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyViera ET60
3D Type3D
Smart TVYes
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size139.7 cm (55")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Memory Card ReaderYes
EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Analog TunerPAL, SECAM
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)25 kg
Backlight TechnologyLED
RMS Output Power18 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand779 mm
Width with Stand1238 mm
Depth with Stand296 mm
Number of Common Interface1
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
3D TechnologyPolarized
3D ConversionYes
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
3D Glasses RequiredYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height724 mm
Width1238 mm
Depth35 mm
Sound SystemSurround Sound
Product SeriesET60
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesPicture and Text (PAT), Hotel Mode, Web Browser, Teletext, In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelTX-L55ET60
Product NameViera TX-L55ET60 LED-LCD TV
Product LineViera
Manufacturer Part NumberTX-L55ET60E
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

Panasonic brings you VIERA, a revolutionary line-up of 3DTV, Plasma, LED & LCD TV. The complete range of Viera TVs is fully compatible with the Going Digital Switchover.

Package Contents
  • Viera TX-L55ET60 LED-LCD TV
  • 2 x 3D Glasses
SpeakersYes
Weight (Approximate)21 kg