Usability

VIERA Connect is perhaps the slickest of all the smart TV platforms, and it works speedily – thanks to the dual-core processor – and without any fuss.

Some don't like the platform's reliance on three separate screens, and the overly large icons for each app, but it's similar to how smartphones work.

Furthermore, customising the first page means you can get to the likes of iPlayer, Lovefilm and BBC Sport without having to scroll past the dross.

It's also great to have a live input screen in the centre, which displays, say, a Blu-ray disc or Freeview channel, complete with sound.

Sadly, it's the only sign of a joined-up user interface, with the rest of the TX-L47WT50's onscreen menus disjointed and, worse, horribly old fashioned.

Panasonic TX-L47WT50B Review

Picture menus are presented as lists, and have barely changed for years, while the electronic programme guides for Freesat and Freeview are similarly rudimentary.

Panasonic TX-L47WT50B Review

Engaging either instantly kills both picture and sound of the channel you're watching – surely there should be a live TV thumbnail?

Best head to the ROVI app on VIERA Connect – it's so good it should have a shortcut on the remote control.

Although the picture presets provided on the TX-L47WT50 are mostly excellent, we like the option to not save, but lock (PIN-protected, even) specific settings to each input.

Tweakers are well provided for, though not initially; toggle on the ISFcc settings in the Picture menu and the Advanced Picture Settings menu is suddenly graced with calibration-friendly options for changing gamma, white balance and colour management options.

Having three remote controls is a mixed blessing. The hard button remote is largely fit for purpose (apart from having to enter text via the number pad, pre-smartphone text message style), though we did find it unresponsive from time to time.

The immediate alternative is the Track Pad included in the box, which is a half-baked idea; we've seen a similar thing used on the brand's high-end DMP-BDT320 3D Blu-ray player, but at least on that machine it works within a 'swipe'-friendly user interface.

Used with the TX-L47WT50 that Track Pad struggles, principally because it's not sensitive enough, and has other buttons and controls below the touch-sensitive area. The self-defeating end result is that it's much more complicated than it should be.

The third option is to download Panasonic's VIERA Remote for the iPhone or a smartphone running Android.

Once linked to the same Wi-Fi network as the TX-L47WT50 is hooked-up to, a part of this app simply replicates the hard-button remote and works well enough.

It also allows some swiping. However, the real innovations come in the other two parts of the app – browsing, and photos/videos.

Panasonic TX-L47WT50B Review

Navigate to a website from the app's built-in browser, and a simple swipe of a finger upwards towards the TV 'sends' it to the TX-L47WT50.

Panasonic TX-L47WT50B Review

In our initial test of this great-sounding feature, it didn't work – and though an empty browser page did launch on the TV, the app actually packed-up and quit. Whoops.

On our second try, it took around five seconds for the TX-L47WT50 to receive the instruction, launch its own browser and load the same page we had on our iPhone.

It gets better.

Panasonic TX-L47WT50B Review

Touch the 'media' tab of the app and a list of all photos and videos on the phone is produced. Again, press with a finger and flick towards the TV, and that photo or video is shown on the TX-L47WT50.

Panasonic TX-L47WT50B Review

It works really well, with relatively fast slideshows possible.

If that feature recalls Apple TV/iPhone features, the TX-L47WT50 does a much better job on digital media as a whole.

Streaming from a PC or playing for a docked USB stick is best initialised using the remote's VieraLink button, which puts some icons for music/video/photos/TV recordings (if you've got an HDD attached) across the bottom of the TV screen.

In our tests we managed to get MKV video files to play only from a USB stick, but support for AVI, MPEG4 and AVC HD files appears to be universal.

As well as MP3 support, the also supports lossless FLAC music files.

Sound

Don't get excited by the TX-L47WT50's audio chops – it doesn't really have anything to offer. Super-slim TVs rarely do, and here the provision of V-Audio, V-Audio Surround and V-Audio ProSurround and more an overly done apology than a collection of worthy sound modes.

The latter may appear to be home cinema modes, but don't in reality offer noticeable separation, let alone rear sound effects.

Elsewhere, the choice is between 'music' or 'speech' modes, though there's never enough bass or even mid-range to deliver anything other than acceptable dialogue.

Watch some low-rent Freeview channels and you'll sometimes hear an echo. Home cinemas at the ready…

Value

The provision of a couple of pairs of 3D glasses in the box – albeit the cheapest in the Panasonic collection – seems relatively fair, though whether 3D is still a draw card is hugely questionable.

For a flagship TV the price was always going to be high, though judged on pure picture quality it's a toss-up between this and the brand's ST50 plasmas – and the 50-inch version of that costs just over a grand.