PROS / This smart TV has the best picture resolution of any internet TV we reviewed.
CONS / The apps are limited to 14 because Panasonic has no app store.
VERDICT / This smart TV is a television first; it seems that the internet options were an afterthought.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Internet TVs here.
Accessing your favorite internet services from your TV is quickly becoming the norm for sets made these days. An example of this trend is the Panasonic Viera TC-L42ET5. This internet TV provides access to several of the most popular web-based services.
Above all, the Panasonic Viera TC-L42ET5 is a beautiful television. The picture resolution tops out at 1980x1080 pixels. Since most high-definition media is formatted in a 1080x720 resolution, this smart TV has the ability to scale those images even larger and crisper. The viewing angle of this television is 178 degrees, which means that no matter where you sit in the room, you'll have a great view.
This smart TV allows you to connect to the internet in two ways. The most straightforward way to connect is via its Ethernet port. This option works the same way you connect your computer or wireless router to an internet connection. The second option is to connect via Wi-Fi; this should be the simpler option. However, out of the box, this smart TV doesn't have Wi-Fi capability; in order to connect wirelessly, you must purchase an adaptor separately. Once you've connected the adaptor, you'll be able to connect wirelessly through the TV's menu.
The Panasonic Viera TC-L42ET5 comes with 14 apps. Panasonic divides the apps into four categories. The Sports category includes MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL (Fox Sports). The games category has a single app: Asphalt 5. The video on demand is one of the most appealing categories containing popular apps such as Hulu Plus, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and CinemaNow. This smart TV also is social media connectivity with apps for Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Picasa. Panasonic groups the Associated Press (AP) app with the social networking apps, probably because it didn't have anywhere else to put it.
The Panasonic Viera TC-L42ET5 comes equipped with two full-range speakers. These speakers allow this internet-connected TV to produce room-filling sound with almost no restrictions. There are several peripherals available through Panasonic that can transform this smart TV into a compelling home theater experience.
The connectivity array on this smart TV is impressive. Let's forget about the odd Wi-Fi option for a moment. Physical connections include one composite input, two component inputs, four HDMI inputs, two USB ports, an Ethernet/LAN connection, one digital audio out and an SD card slot.
The help and support options Panasonic offers are on par with manufacturers of its size. From its website, you have access to online chat support, email and a telephone help options. Additionally, Panasonic has a vast knowledgebase, so you may be able to fix your problem without even contacting a customer service representative.
Panasonic Viera TC-L42ET5 is a television first and a smart TV second. As such, it's not a bad device; it boasts wonderful picture quality, a sleek design and a wide array of connectivity options. The internet features it posses are limited; however, those features meet many consumers' needs.