Event Coverage

Panasonic Reveals Smart Viera TVs and Home Entertainment Line-up for 2012

By Andy Sim & Hurrairah bin Sohail - 18 Apr 2012

Smart Viera - LED LCD TV Series

Panasonic Smartens Up For The Party

We brought you tidings of Panasonic's upcoming slew of LED-backlit LCD TVs in the news recently. And yesterday, we were privileged to meet them in the flesh during Panasonic's private seminar held at The Regent hotel, including Panasonic's coveted PDP (plasma display panel) fleet for 2012. In total, Panasonic unveiled seven exclusive series for their LED LCD TV range, divided as WT, DT, ET50, ET5, E5, X50 and X5 respectively. The ET5 is also Panasonic's first passive 3D TV to be introduced into the market. For their PDP category, we witnessed six plasma series, including the anticipated VT50 which will be available in 55 and 65 inches variants. It's also apparent that Panasonic is gradually relinquishing their CCFL-backlit releases with only two entry-level (U and C series) models to show. Panasonic's premium and mid-range sets are also spearheaded by their new marketing term, Smart Viera, with emphasis on five proponents - design, picture quality, connectivity, networking, and eco-friendly features. More on these as we get down and dirty with the rest of the Smart Viera displays.

Panasonic spokesman, Will Yu, demonstrating the finer aspects of the improved Viera Remote app which transforms your smartphone or tablet into a touch-based remote with tap-and-flick features.

Smart Viera - LED Edge-lit LCD TV Series

This category is led by Panasonic's WT50S which will be retailed in a lone 55-inch model. Armed with a dual-core processor, the WT50S (the "S" suffix is for local HDTV models) will tout the new Smart Viera Engine Pro video processing engine and a high-speed IPS LCD panel. The active-shutter 3D TV also boasts of an accelerated 1,600Hz refresh rate (with 8-phase backlight scanning), 2D to 3D conversion, 3D 24p processing, and a 1080p Pure Direct mode. The latter essentially means that the TV is capable of preserving the video signal's chroma bandwidth to retain its color fidelity. This feature will be exclusive to the WT50S as well as the VT and GT plasma series. The second-tier DT series will offer comparable hardware to the flagship WT5S0, with the exception of the WT50S' Crescent Stand and Super Narrow Metal Frame. Features wise, the DT50S will exclude certain aspects of Smart Viera Engine Pro, such as Vivid Color Creation and 1080p Pure Direct as well. On a separate note, Panasonic has buffed up their Viera Connect platform with a HTML5-compatible web browser as well. They're a little late to the Smart TV game, but hey, it's better to be late than never, yes?

The flagship WT50S will sport a 10mm-slim metal frame to accentuate its sleekness. The active-shutter 3D HDTV will also carry the best of Panasonic's latest technology, such as an improved IPS panel, 1600Hz refresh rate, ISFccc calibration settings, and integrated Wi-Fi.

Next in line is the DT series. The DT50S will carry most features found in the WT50S with the exception of Smart Viera Engine Pro; plus a slower 800Hz refresh rate. The DT50S also sports a slightly thicker metal frame compared to the swanky WT50S.

Panasonic has stepped up their IPS panel's refresh rate as well. Using a combination of segmented frame interpolation (in 8 phases) and backlight scanning, a total of 1600Hz can be achieved on models like the WT50S.

Hot on the heels of the DT50 series is the ET50. Offered in 42 and 47 models, the ET50S will carry a slightly slower refresh rate of 800Hz with a native rating of 200Hz. Unlike the WT and DT series, however, the ET50 will not feature any advanced ISFccc calibration selections. As mentioned earlier, Panasonic's passive 3D model, the ET5, was also on display during the seminar. The ET5 is fundamentally a 300Hz model (with backlight scanning enabled), and we understand that Panasonic is bundling four pairs of polarized glasses with this set. The ET5 touts an IPS LCD panel, plus features like 2D to 3D conversion and Viera Connect much like the rest of Panasonic's premium candidates. You can consider the next series, the E5, as a 2D alternative to the 3D-capable ET5 display. It's confusing, we know. However, the E5 series is equipped with only a basic native refresh rate of 50Hz (150Hz with backlight scanning). Those on a tighter budget can opt for entry-level models like the X50 and X5 series, but note that the X5 is only available in a 24-inch offering. As for prices, Panasonic remains tight-lipped for now but you may check out our table below for the televisions' availability.  

Available in 42, 47 and 55 inches, the ET5S will be Panasonic's maiden foray into the world of passive 3D TVs. The polarized 3D set will flaunt an IPS Clear Panel with a refresh rate of 300Hz.

The ET5S will be accompanied by four pairs of polarized 3D glasses (model:TY-EP3D10). Passive 3D TVs generally have a wider 3D horizontal viewing angle compared to active sets. As such, four pairs isn't too much of an overkill in our opinion.

If you want a 47-incher with an IPS screen, then the E5 series would be ideal. The E5S model is also a 2D alternative to the 3D-capable ET5 series. Backlight scanning brings its refresh rate up to 150Hz.

Panasonic 2012 LCD TVs - Features Comparisons
Series Size in inches Panel Resolution 3D Smart TV Web Browser Wireless Connectivity Moving Picture ISFccc Availability
WT 55 IPS panel. LED Edge-lit 1920x1080 Active-shutter Viera Connect Yes Built-in Wi-Fi, DLNA 1600Hz Yes June 2012
DT 42, 47 IPS panel. LED Edge-lit 1920x1080 Active-shutter Viera Connect Yes Built-in Wi-Fi, DLNA 800Hz Yes May 2012
ET50 42, 47 IPS panel. LED Edge-lit 1920x1080 Active-shutter Viera Connect Yes Built-in Wi-Fi, DLNA 800Hz No May 2012
ET5 42, 47, 55 IPS panel. LED Edge-lit 1920x1080 Passive Viera Connect Yes Built-in Wi-Fi, DLNA 300Hz No Available
E5 32, 42, 47 IPS panel. LED Edge-lit 1920x1080 NA Viera Connect NA Wi-Fi Ready 150Hz No Available
U 42 LCD panel 1920x1080 NA NA NA NA 50Hz No May 2012
X50 32 IPS panel. LED Edge-lit 1366x768 NA NA NA NA 50Hz No May 2012
X5 24 LCD panel. LED Edge-lit 1920x1080 NA NA NA NA 50Hz No May 2012
32 LCD Panel 1366x768 NA NA NA NA 50Hz No May 2012


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