For what seems like an eternity, Panasonic has shied away from making large-sized LCD-based televisions to avoid cannibalising the sales of its critically acclaimed plasma displays, but that is all going to change this year with the arrival of the company’s new 2012 range of LED TVs. At its annual European Convention in Hamburg today, the Japanese TV manufacturer revealed that it will – for the first time – start selling non-plasma HDTV sets exceeding 42 inches in screen size in the form of five 47-inch models (TX-L47WT50, TX-L47DT50, TX-L47ET50, TX-L47ET5 and TX-L47E5) and three 55-inchers (TX-L55WT50, TX-L55DT50 and TX-L55ET5).
|Panasonic goes big with WT50, DT50 & ET50 LED LCD TVs|
The range-topper as far as LED TV goes is the Panasonic WT50 series which is equipped with enhanced IPS panel (which in our experience delivers the cleanest motion among different LCD panels) bolstered by 1600Hz backlight scanning to boost motion resolution and reduce crosstalk during 3D viewing. Other notable features include edge LED backlight technology, active-shutter 3D capabilities, ISFccc calibration mode, on-board dual-core Pro4 processor that allows for full-fledged internet browsing (even Flash-intensive websites) as well as multitasking, and the company’s Viera Connect IPTV (internet-protocol television) platform with integrated WiFi.
In addition to the 47″ TX-L47WT50 and the 55″ TX-L55WT50, the WT50 series is also available in 42 inches (TX-L42WT50). The corresponding 3-pin-plug British versions are the Panasonic TX-L47WT50B, TX-L55WT50B and TX-L42WT50B respectively.
One rung down from the WT50 is the Panasonic DT50 series which lacks the dual-core processor found in the former. The DT50 is also labelled with “Brilliant Contrast” instead of the “Infinite Contrast” on the WT50, suggesting a lower contrast ratio. Three screen sizes are available: the 42″ Panasonic TX-L42DT50/ TX-L42DT50B, the 47″ TX-L47DT50/ TX-L47DT50B and the 55″ TX-L55DT50/ TX-L55DT50B.
The next step-down model is the Panasonic ET50 series, from which the major omissions are the more effective “Clear Panel Pro” anti-reflective filter (it only has “Clear Panel“) and ISFccc calibration mode. Its backlight scanning is also limited to 800Hz rather than the 1600Hz available on the WT50 and DT50. The ET50 only comes in two sizes: the 42-inch Panasonic TX-L42ET50 and the 47-inch TX-L47ET50.
Other 2012 Smart Viera LED ranges in which 47-inch-plus non-plasma models can be found are the ET5 and E5 series. The Panasonic ET5 is the firm’s first passive 3D TV (dubbed “Easy 3D“) which ships with four pairs of polarized glasses, while the E5 is a 2D-only LED television.
Despite its foray into the large-sized LED LCD market, a Panasonic spokesman reassured journalists at the event that the company remains committed to plasma display technology. However, given the popularity of LED televisions among consumers in recent times, he explained that it would be foolish of Panasonic not to make full use of its LCD panel production facilities that are already available.