Panasonic TC-L55DT50

We haven't had a chance to fully test this product yet, but we've assembled this helpful overview of relevant information on it.

Panasonic’s DT50 line of LED-LCD is very similar to the company’s top-of-the-line WT50 series. The biggest difference is that the WT50 has a dual-core processor and the DT50s do not. There are several other smaller differences but that’s the most noticeable one. Otherwise, it’s mostly the same. The TC-L55DT50 comes with a 55-inch display and is capable of 1080p resolution. The set has a 16:9 aspect ratio with a viewing angle of about 178 degrees. The panel is an IPS LED-LCD which filters through Clear Panel Pro. DT50 TVs are capable of displaying active 3D images and has 2D-3D conversion. Eight speakers provide 18 watts of audio coupled with a 10 watt woofer. On the back and sides of the TV there are 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB ports and a SD card slot. Not to mention the PC line-in port and several RCA jacks as well. Connect to the internet using Wi-Fi and ethernet. Use VIERA Link to access apps like Facebook or Netflix. Plus browse the web.

Features List:

– 55-inch LED-LCD

– 16:9 aspect ratio

– Active 3D

– 8 x 4 watt speakers

– 4 HDMI, 3 USB, SD card slot

– Wi-Fi, Ethernet

– VIERA Link

– 1080p

– 48 Hz cinematic playback

Digital Trends’ Television Buying Tips:

Do I need an ATSC tuner?

If you plan on watching, free, over-the-air programming, then yes. As of 2009, all over-the-air broadcasts use the ATSC standard. Pretty much all HDTVs manufactured over the past few years will include this feature.

What resolution do I need?

All consumer HDTVs break down into either 720p or 1080p resolution, which represents the number of horizontal lines in the display. More is obviously better here, but at small screen sizes – like 32 inches – many people find it hard to distinguish the benefit of 1080p resolution. As our guide to screen size points out, viewing distance can also play a factor: The closer you sit, the more you’ll appreciate higher resolution. In general, many people start to see an obvious difference between 1080p and 720p as screens sized 40 inches and up.

Also take into account that much of the content available today doesn’t take advantage of full 1080p resolution. Many shows still broadcast in 720p or 1080i. Technically only Blu-ray discs and digital, non-video sources (like a PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, or PC hooked up to the TV), really offer true 1080p content. This makes 1080p a no-brainer if you want to play Mass Effect 2 with the most detail and watch Star Trek on Blu-ray, but less essential if you just play to watch standard over-the-air broadcast material.

How large of a screen do I really need?

“Bigger is better” doesn’t make any more sense when choosing an HDTV for your living room than when choosing a couch for your living room. A lot of factors come into play. As a general rule, consider a TV 1.5 to 3.0 times the screen size. For instance, a 32-inch television might make sense for viewing distances as close as four feet away, and as far as eight feet away. Check out our guide to choosing the right size HDTV for more details, including a helpful chart.

Should I worry about viewing angle?

Absolutely. All LCDs will distort when viewed from extreme angles, but the degree of distortion and the angle it starts to occur at varies from TV to TV. If you plan to pack a dozen people in front of a single TV for entertaining, viewing angle will make a huge difference for the unlucky few who get scattered off to the sides. Most manufacturers will state viewing angle in degrees (for instance, 160) in the specifications for a TV, but be warned: methods for measuring this very subjective figure vary, and we can guarantee most companies opt for the most generous figures. When possible, try to evaluate it yourself in person, or read hands-on reviews that can offer anecdotal evidence, rather than relying on easily-manipulated numbers.

What inputs should I look for?

A final consideration when buying a new HDTV is what you can connect to it. Make sure there are ample HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) ports to connect multiple components, such as a cable/satellite receiver, video game consoles, DVD/Blu-ray player, camcorder, and so on. At least three or four such ports is a must. A convenient bonus is when the TV also offers a USB port to connect a Flash thumb-drive or external hard drive full of music, photos and videos, or a SD or Memory Stick card slot that lets you insert a compatible card that contains photos and videos. If you think you’d like to connect your computer to the television for big-screen web surfing, look for one with PC connectivity. Many TVs today offer these additional features.

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