Gone are the days when televisions would be about serving the purpose of merely watching cable or satellite TV. With the launch of LED LCD TVs, these boundaries have been pushed further. Panasonic, one of the leaders amongst television manufacturers, has launched the Viera TH-L42E3D 42-inch LED LCD TV, which boasts of some pretty incredible features, such as social networking support, USB host, and more. Read on to see if this television can make a mark in its segment.

Very unsteady base

Very unsteady base

Design and Build Quality
First off, this TV looks really good. The bezel is predominantly black, but the bottom part is silver gray fading to black, lending it a really classy look. The bezel has a glossy finish, which seems to be a common design trend these days. Having a glossy bezel makes the television look slick, but on the downside, this can attract lots of dust and fingerprints. Slim continues to be in and though this is not the thinnest television around, its side profile measures just 1.6 inches in depth.

The back panel is made entirely out of metal. The connectivity options are located at the side and at the back and are within close proximity of each other. The side sports a USB port, SD card slot, and HDMI as well as composite ports. The rear-facing connections include a USB port, two HDMI ports, and single ethernet, composite, component and VGA ports. The advantages of side connectors are that one can easily plug in USB flash drives or components such as a keyboard or mouse.

The remote performs well

The remote performs well

The right side features physical buttons such as function, AV, adjustments for brightness, contrast, volume, etc, and the on/off button. These buttons are well built and sturdy. The base of this stand, like the bottom of the bezel, has a silver gray finish. The base looks quite attractive and with the black bezel, it makes an attractive combination. However, the build quality of the base is something we were not too fond of as it made the television rather unsteady. There was a bit of wobble and the plastic used in the base felt quite cheap. The remote control is decently built and looks similar to other Panasonic Viera remotes. The buttons are well spaced and the remote feels quite light too.

To sum up, the TH-L42E3D is an attractive looking television. The base is wobbly, but this could be a one-off issue with the review unit we received.

Features
The Panasonic Viera TH-L42E3D has a bunch of interesting features, the biggest of which being the ability to playback videos in full HD (1080p). Most LCD and LED televisions are able to support 720p, but with full HD becoming the standard, it is good that Panasonic has incorporated this feature here. The TV uses an IPS panel with edge-LED backlighting. The company claims that it has a wide viewing angle of 178 degrees.

The simple appearance of the interface

The simple appearance of the interface

The other neat feature of this TV is the ability to read USB drives. However, it is just limited to FAT32 and not NTFS. We tried a couple of NTFS drives with this TV but they could not be read. The interface is pretty easy to navigate. All options are lined up on the dock at the bottom of the screen. The interface is pretty basic looking, but has some interesting smart TV features such as Facebook and Shoutcast.

The television has two 10 Watt downward-facing speakers. The TV supports video playback in various formats, including MP4, DivX, and MKV and MPEG4.

Performance
The performance was tested by plugging in a netbook and running DisplayMate. We also played a Blu-ray to check out the HD video quality and ran videos through a FAT32 USB drive. During the DisplayMate test, we noticed that straight out of the box, there was no need to calibrate the television. The brighntess, contrast and colours were spot on. The grays and whites were accurate, while reds, greens and blues appeared natural. Those who enjoy saturated colours may want to tweak to get it to perform that way. The black levels are not so great; in the test, the darker scales were not very noticeable. In the colour intensity scales test, we noticed that there was no bleeding across colours and all the scales were noticeable. While checking the backlighting of the TH-L42E3D, there were no bleeding issues visible.

Rear connectors are well spaced

Rear connectors are well spaced

We tested this TV by connecting it to a Philips Blu-ray player and playing the ‘The Last Samurai’ test disc. We received a strange error message popping up on the screen, stating ‘sending preset data’. This message has also been noticed on other Panasonic televisions when paired with a Philips Blu-ray player. When this message popped up, the video played, but rendered all other controls useless. We could not even switch off the television, let alone stop the video. During video playback, we noticed that the television rendered the images onscreen crisply and the volume was quite good as well. A lot of detail could be made out during video playback. The overall performance when playing Blu-rays is really good. While playing videos through the USB flash drive, we noticed that the videos rendered well and there were no playback issues. Viewing angles are good as well. Overall, we were quite pleased with the performance of this TV.

Slim Edge-LED backlit TV

Slim Edge-LED backlit TV

Verdict
The Panasonic Viera TH-L42E3D LED LCD TV sells at an MRP of Rs 66,900. This is a really great looking television with some awesome features. Our only real issue with it was the build quality of the stand. If the television has to be wall-mounted, however, this will not be an issue. Even with all the LED televisions flooding the market these days, the Viera has enough to hold its own. However, it is a bit on the pricier side by a few thousand Rupees. If price is not a concern, then this is a good option.

Publish date: October 31, 2011 1:13 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 8:50 pm

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