Panasonic’s TX-L65WT600B 65-inch 4K Ultra HD set is on sale now and Recombu Digital was invited to see it up close and personal.
There are a few 4K TVs out there at the moment like Samsung’s UE65F900 and Sony’s Sony Bravia KD65X9005, both of which are slightly cheaper at £5,000 compared to the £5,500 Panasonic is asking for. So what separates the TX-L65WT600B offering from the crowd?
First of all, it’s the first 4K set to go on sale in the UK that’s got an HDMI 2.0 port. This means you’ll be able to enjoy 4K content at 60fps (frames per second) as opposed to 30fps, the maximum frame rate for 4K that’s possible through HDMI 1.4 connections.
Panasonic is also touting its 65-inch 4K set at high-end gamers as it’s capable of achieving 4K Ultra HD at 60fps and 32 channel sound through the DisplayPort 1.2a connection.
Right now no other manufacturer has DisplayPort on their 4K sets, making Panasonic the obvious choice for those after the bleeding edge.
The TX-L65WT600B is also the first 4K set in Europe to be THX Certified (including THX for 4K), guaranteeing a high level of sound and video fidelity.
Throw in an exclusive suite of 4K on-demand content, customisable interfaces and profiles for everyone in the home as well as now-standard smart TV features like Skype video calls and web browsing and you’ve got a compelling case to make for Best 4K TV in the UK.
On top of all that the £5,500 price tag is attractive given that a year ago the first 4K sets were priced in the five figure regions. But this isn’t a ‘low’ price by most people’s estimations, so unless you’ve got deep pockets, it’s perhaps worth waiting to see how the price will drop.
Let’s take a closer look at the TX-L65WT600B and see what you get for your money.
Panasonic TX-L65WT600B: What 4K content will I be able to watch?
One issue for customers right now is that there’s just not that much 4K content out there.
Sky and the BBC, as part of the DTG UK UHD Forum, are testing out 4K transmissions. Similarly, the standards for 4K Blu-rays have not yet been officially confirmed, although it’s thought it’ll be H.265/HEVC.
In layman’s terms this means that we won’t see Sky Sports 4K or BBC One Ultra HD or any 4K Blu-rays for a while yet.
Until this changes, Panasonic has launched 4K app which lets you stream exclusive 4K test footage over your broadband connection.
Panasonic says that in order to stream 4K content you’ll need a download speed of 6Mbps. To comfortably stream content with no artifacting you’ll need 30Mbps, meaning it’ll be fibre customers who’ll get the most out of the TX-L65WT600B. Thankfully, it looks as though speeds are increasing all the time and the majority of Virgin Media’s customers are on 30Mbps+ connections so a good deal of people ought to be able to enjoy uninterrupted 4K streams.
The average download speed we acheived by going to Speedtest.net was 4.23Mbps, what with several others in the room connecting to the WiFi at the same time.
Even on sub 6Mbps speeds, the TX-L65WT600B streamed 4K video eventually, although loading times were pronounced and distortion was occasionally noticeable.
Content we’ve seen includes footage of museums, flowers and idyllic lakeside shots. Though it’s hard to convey just how pin sharp and richly detailed the video is in mere words, take it from us that the TX-L65WT600B’s 4K content looked stunning. Without having to get up close we were able to discern the individual petals of flowers in the background of certain shots and the fluidity of running water looked incredibly lifelike.
Admittedly, this content is little more than eye candy designed to show off the power of the TX-L65WT600B but it’s nice to have something to tide you over until 4K broadcast and Blu-ray content arrives. Given the dearth of 4K media out there right now we’re glad that Panasonic has given us something to play with.
Hopefully our shots (click to enlarge) and video taken on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (the only phone out right now that can record 4K) will be able to convey some of the majesty (video coming later). We took the Google Maps wide and detail shot to give you an idea of the levels of detail you get on the TX-L65WT600B’s 3840 x 2160 panel.
The TX-L65WT600B is also compatible with Panasonic’s Swipe & Share DLNA app, so you’ve got the option of sharing media from your phone and tablet as well.
If your device supports Miracast you can also make use of screen mirroring if you want to play content from your laptop on the big screen.
Panasonic TX-L65WT600B: Profiles, facial recognition and smart TV remote
The TX-L65WT600B lets everyone at home create their own profiles and cherry pick shortcuts to services like BBC iPlayer and Skype. Using the integrated camera, facial recognition technology will identify you and unlock the screen, bringing up your personal home screen.
The Panasonic smart remote includes a microphone you speak into to activate the camera. Using the circular trackpad and the ring of controls that surround it, it’s easy to glide through the many menus and screens.
Like customising an Android tablet, you can pick the background of your home screen and add app shortcuts and web bookmarks to a pre-set grid. Apps and services include BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport, BBC News, YouTube (complete with a 4K mode), Eurosport, France 24 and Crunchyroll. Google Maps, though not accessible as a standalone app, can be accessed through the web browser and looks particularly stunning thanks to the high levels of detail.
Stay tuned for a video in which we’re taken through the finer points of customising profiles on the TX-L65WT600B and exactly how the facial recognition works.