Panasonic VIERA 42-inch E30S LCD TV - Overzealous Luminosity

Launch SRP: S$1799

Features & VIERA Connect


Before we get to VIERA Connect, it's worthwhile to note Panasonic has spruced up their user interface as well. Gone is the nondescript blue and yellow UI. Instead, we now have an attractive and functional menu system in its place, thanks to the addition of colored icons that makes the text-based interface a little more interesting. The Main Menu features selections such as Picture, Sound, Timer and Setup on the leftmost column. More importantly, it's nice to know Panasonic has taken constructive measures by consolidating all of its display adjustments under the Picture option this time. Previously the settings were divided between Picture and Setup, which caused confusion. Presets wise, the E30S features Cinema and True Cinema modes on top of other selections like Dynamic, Normal, Game and Photo. If you prefer warmer tones, you can give True Cinema a try since it was designed to replicate close to cinema-like quality out of the box. As for video files playback, WMV and MPEG4 files we've tested were rendered without a hitch. However, Panasonic's claim of 1080p MKV hangs in the balance for it stuttered more than it should. On another note, this model's DLNA support is also part of its features arsenal.   

Panasonic has improved on its user interface without changing too many cogwheels. What we appreciate most, on the other hand, is Panasonic's choice in consolidating all of the display functions under the Picture tab.

The various display presets can be found under Viewing Mode. Generally, the Cinema option was designed for watching movies in a darkened room, whilst the True Cinema configuration takes it one step further by rendering cinema-like picture qualities on the E30S.

VIERA Connect

Given the recent proliferation of Internet-enabled TVs and Smart TVs, it would be fairly odd if Panasonic has nothing to offer in the same vein. What we have in the E30S is a rejuvenated VIERA Cast platform, now christened as VIERA Connect. Essentially, the home page features eight "windows" for installed apps, but they're currently limited to four pages in all. While the design may be appealing, the interface could have been more effective if the windows were a tad smaller to accommodate more icons. You can download more applets from the VIERA Connect Market although content is still relatively sparse for now. For video streams, there are sites such as YouTube, uStream and WoWTV to leech from, but note that the latter requires a paid subscription. Besides news and weather services from the likes of Associated Press and AccuWeather, social media junkies can also exploit the E30S' Facebook and Twitter widgets. To enjoy these services, however, you'll need to create a Panasonic username to connect to these accounts.

 That window in the middle isn't an applet. Rather, it displays any content that's on the active AV channel. As you can tell, Panasonic could have fitted more apps into one page if those icons were just a tad smaller.

The beautiful Accuweather widget enables you to check the weather status, watch weather reports (videos) as well as extended forecasts for the weeks ahead. You may also add your desired location by visiting the Settings page.

Panasonic's YouTube applet provides a rich user experience with options such as Top Rated, Featured, and Search functions compared to the spartan layout on the LG LV5500. You can even rate or bookmark the clips but you can't comment on them though.

Video On Demand sites such as WOWtv has limited contemporary titles on its set list. Instead, most of its videos turned out to be Hollywood classics or film noir reels.

HD Performance
SD Performance
The Good
Stylish Design
Comprehensive AV Connectivity
Extensive Media And Networking Support
The Bad
Inconsistent LED Backlights
Middling SD Performance
Lacks Content On VIERA Connect