There’s something a bit ‘last year’ about the style of the TX-L47DT50 – but that’s no bad thing as Panasonic has shrewdly adopted a look that’s proved successful for Samsung in the recent past. In fact, this is one of the best-looking TVs in Panasonic’s 2012 lineup, which has more models than Paris in Fashion Week – and the TX-L47DT50’s picture quality proves that beauty is more than just skin deep...

Combined with a decent remote control, the set is easy to get to grips with, and the utilitarian Freeview and Freesat EPGs can be passed over in favour of the slicker ROVI guide if an online connection is in place.

The screen doesn’t just look smart, it acts it too, with the Viera Tools button on the handset providing access via a dashboard to comprehensive multimedia, networking and online features. These even include ultra-rare FLAC file playback, a web browser and embedded Twitter and Facebook interaction whilst watching TV. Delving into content is a bit of a slow process, though.

Standard viewing modes comprise Dynamic, Normal, Cinema and the adjustment-free True Cinema. Beyond this are two Professional modes for ISF calibration and myriad image adjustment tools. These include full colour management and Panasonic’s judder-reducing Intelligent Field Creation (IFC), which is confusingly called 24p Smooth Film mode when displaying a native 1920 x 1080 Blu-ray image. Impressively, judder is not one of the TX-L47DT50’s problems and IFC can simply be left off or else just choose the lowest setting without fear of too many side-effects.

There Will Be Blood on BD is a tough visual challenge, which the TX-L47DT50 does an accomplished job of meeting, taking low-light scenes in its stride and serving up excellent levels of clarity, contrast and shadow detail. MPEG noise on No Country For Old Men’s vast desert skies is only marginally distracting and colours are unerringly natural.

Really dark scenes are slightly marred by LED backlight clouding but the problem is less so than on other current Panasonic LCDs. Generally, all HD sources look great. Live football and cricket on Sky are plum in terms of clarity and colours and the screen’s stereoscopic viewing is superb. Crosstalk is virtually non-existent and almost negates the palaver of Active 3D (3D specs aren’t supplied with the TV and they cost up to £80 a pair).

The TX-L47DT50 is highly capable with upscaled standard-definition DVDs, the classic 1970s’ Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy looking (if not sounding) quite splendid, despite the murky lighting. There are, however, problems with SD Freeview. Simultaneous broadcasts on Sky have greater detail and the difference is exacerbated with lower bit-rate channels. A Europa League match on Five was barely watchable (whilst the HD transmission was flawless).


HCC VERDICT

Panasonic TX-L47DT50
Price:
£2,000 Approx

Highs: Near flawless HD pictures; feature-packed; user-friendly; attractive design
Lows: Outdated UI; pricey

Performance: 4/5
Design: 4/5
Features: 5/5
Overall: 5/5


Specifications

3D: yes Active shutter
Full HD: yes 1,920 x 1,080
Tuner: yes Freeview HD, Freesat HD, CI slot
Connections: 4 x HDMI; 3 x USB; Ethernet; SD card slot; component; composite; optical digital audio out; D-Sub PC in; Scart
Sound: 18W (2 x 4W + 10W woofer)
Brightness: N/A
Contrast ratio: N/A
Dimensions (off stand): 1,067 x 631 x 27 mm 1067(w) x 631(h) x 27(d)mm
Weight (off stand): 13kg
Features: Built-in wi-fi; USB multimedia playback; SD card multimedia playback; 178° viewing angle; Brilliant Contrast Clear Panel Pro; 1600Hz backlight scanning; Smart Viera Engine Pro; V-Audio ProSurround 2.1; Dolby Digital Plus/DolbyPulse/DTS 2.0+ Digital out; DLNA; USB HDD recording; SD card/USB media player; Viera Connect Smart TV