Panasonic TC-L50E60 Review (TCL50E60)
50" 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV
by Robert Wiley, Editor
The TC-L50E60 fits nicely into the E60 series. This 50 inch 1080p TV is a good candidate for those not interested in 3D playback. It's got a native 120Hz panel, so sports and fast action aren't going to be a problem. The Viera Connect suite is present with built in wifi. This solves any problems when it come to getting content on your TV. This TV gives a lot of bang for the buck.
Picture Quality Rating:8.5
The TC-L50E60 is a more value oriented model than the ET60 above it. The shedding of a few key picture quality elements make this happen. The most important difference is the LCD/LED panel seen in many LED TVs on the market today. It's a pretty significant downgrade from the IPS LED panel that works wonders with side angle viewing. It's got the same Clear Panel Pro filter that keeps images bright and sharp. The backlight manipulation through Backlight Scanning has been bumped down to 240 Backlight Blinking, but what's important is the 120Hz refresh rate.
Without the IPS LED panel, color reproduction drops a bit compared to the ET60. Colors lose their brightness and come off looking slightly flat. Dark shadow detail is still on par with great transitions from light to dark areas of the screen. Black levels and contrast are strong points for the E60's picture quality. You don't see the blacks of a plasma display, but for an LED edge-lit TV the performance is good.
This shot of the E60 series shows off realistic shadows and good performance in the grayscale trasition area. Color and contrast help to make the image pop
120Hz with 240 Backlight Blinking
The TCL50E60 gets a nice 120Hz native panel for reproducing rich fast motion content. This is a major upgrade over a 60Hz panel. There is a big difference in fast motion playback and side to side panning. This model also has a feature called 240 backlight blinking. This supposedly makes edges show a little smoother and motion blur a little less apparent. We weren't really sure if it did and there isn't an option in the picture menu to turn it on or off. But it doesn't hurt anything either.
Motion Picture Settings
The Dejudder mode on the E60 is called Motion Picture Setting. It's got 4 levels, but without 3D the weak level is about as high as it needs to go. There is no way to customize the settings either. Blu-rays, DVDs, and games are going to be the best with this turned off. If any judder bothers you at all, weak setting may be just the right choice. The smoothing effect is very unobtrusive as it doesn't noticeably flatten out images like the higher settings. Background blur is even present. Standard definition content sees a benefit from this as well.
Vivid – Terribly overblown colors, brightness, and sharpness. Avoid this one.
Standard – Not the dim energy saving mode that it is in the ST60 plasma even though it is still the Energy Star rated picture setting. A cool color temperature (blue) overall image is produced.
Home Theater – The Home Theater setting is the dimmest of all the settings, meant for dark viewing rooms. Colors are subdued with this setting, but flesh tones look natural.
Cinema – This is similar to Home Theater, but with warmth and brightness turned up a notch or two.
Standard Definition Content – 480i and 480p Upconversion
Standard definition upconversion on the E60 is best with 480p content.Make sure to set the aspect ratio with the Format button on the remote. Just seemed to be the best for the DVDs we tried. 480i upconversion wasn't bad, but a hazy effect was present in the overall image. It seemed like a soft focus over the entire screen. 480p really shined with improvements in color and contrast.
Game Mode – An Excellent Choice
Battlefield 3 on the E60 performed wonderfully with the Game Mode enabled
Game Mode is a must for gaming on this TV. It can be found in the Advanced Picture menu. The Game Mode disables most of the image processing in order to decrease input lag. The TC-L50E60 is very successful with this, though motion blur is increased. This will be the go-to mode for a first person shooter or action game hands down. When playing Battlefield 3 and Okami HD, that was by far the best setting for each. One more thing, make sure Overscan is set to off so the whole picture will seen be on screen. This is found in the Screen Settings menu. The E60 is a great value choice for a gaming LED TV.
Turning on the Game Mode makes a world of difference for input lag. This is really important for shooters and action games
Features Rating: 8.5
Viera Connect and Wifi
The TC-L50E60 comes with wifi on board. This makes connecting it to a home network simple. The Viera Connect smart TV platform will be running in no time too. The inclusion of built-in wifi is a valuable upgrade in our eyes. The days of accessory dongles are over. That is a good thing because it frees up a USB port for a content sharing device.
Connection through built in wifi is one of the strongest points of the E60's internet features. It locates your home network quickly, it's easy to connect, and apps and web pages load very quickly. The Apps button gives access to all of the Viera Connect apps. The most important apps like the web browser and media player are laid out across the top of the menu with downloaded apps like Netflix, MLS MatchDay, and Amazon Instant Video below. These can be rearranged to anyone's liking. Positions can even be password locked if that is needed for some reason.
Featured Apps include MLB.TV, Hulu Plus, Games (Playjam), You Tube, Amazon IV, Accu Weather, Cinema Now, WSJ Live, MLS Soccer, Skpe, Fox Sports, Vudu HD Movies, Pandora, TCN TV Country. Notably missing was Picasa though. There are 33 games to choose from with most free and the others costing 99 cents.
Here you see the home screen where every user of the TV will be able to customize the home page with any apps they like
The large Home button on the remote brings up the Home Screen selection on the ET60. These screens allow different users to create different home pages for themselves. Different apps can be assigned to the home screen like the calendar, weather, or notes. New screens can be added and set up with bookmarks and even more apps. This will most likely be useful for high traffic TVs that get a lot of different users.
The Web Browser is thoughtfully laid out and very easy to use. Having your frequently visited sites bookmarked will speed things up a lot. The only downfall is controlling it with the standard remote
When the Web Browser is opened, a tiled screen shows all bookmarked pages with the address bar, Google search bar, and other browser commands across the top. It's got everything one would need. Well, everything except browsing speed. The arrow keys of the 5-way controller move the cursor around the screen, but it's painfully slow to use. The soft keyboard for inputting searches is not arranged QWERTY style. On the plus side, searches and pages load fast. Once you get to what you are looking for, there won't be much of a wait.
Swipe & Share 2.0
Is an improved way of connection between the 50E60 and Android or iOS devices. All it takes is the swipe of a finger on the smartphone or tablet and the content is displayed on the big screen and vice versa.
Energy Star 6.0 Certified
Panasonic is all about lowering the energy consumption of the LED lineup. This year the E60 series consumes about 15% less power than it did last year. And last year the power usage was cut by about 25%. So Panasonic is making big improvements in this area. LED and LCD TVs are already good about power consumption so this extra cut settles the minds of the most energy concerned individuals out there. The TV was awarded an Energy Star 6.0 certification.
The volume on the E60 comes off very weak. Even when nearing full volume. The small woofer on the ET60 didn't seem to do much, but it's absence if felt. This one has two 10 watt speakers that just don't push out enough sound to fill up a room. Movies end up sounding compressed and lack a full range. There is little that goes on in the low end of the sound spectrum. Deep voices sound muffled and hollow. We tried to coax a little more bass out of the speakers by adjusting the bass levels. The difference was minimal. The built-in speakers are fine for light TV watching, but will need some outside help for much more than that.
The E60 series has a slim profile of less than 1.5 inches and thin metal bezels of .25 inches. In those two aspects it has the design of models higher up in the lineup. The stand is the basic square plastic design. It's the same one as the ET60. For color, the TV is a glossy black instead of the flat silver of higher tier Panasonic LEDs. It stands out a little less, but the super thin bezels make the biggest impact.
The front of the E60 seires shows off the simple yet sleek design similar to the ET60. It features thin black bezels as well as a square stand made of the same material
Value Rating: 8.1
The Panasonic TC-L50E60 is a great balance of picture quality, features, and value. Some similar models that are competitively priced are LG's 50LN5400 at and the Samsung 50F6300. The Panasonic has a much better appearance than both and would probably tip my decision that way. Toshiba's 50L4300U has the same feature set, and is offered for $100 less. Though the picture quality is not as strong. There is a lot of choice out there for the mid range 50 inch class.
Overall Rating: 8.2
|Having reviewed and written about Television Technology for over 10 years, Wiley never tires of researching the newest qualitative trends related to the technology. Most people do not get excited about possibilities behind the latest video engine...Wiley does. Read more about Robert|