- Good network features
- Panasonic Freetime
- Smart features
- Good image quality
- 720p HD Ready
- No game mode
- Only 2 x HDMI
Full Review – Panasonic TX-32DS500B
Let’s address the elephant in the room; it’s a HD ready Viera 720p 1366 x 768 resolution display in 2016. I know, seems crazy but the question you really have to ask yourself is does it matter? Before we answer that it’s worth mentioning that if you love the extras features this set has to offer, but the resolution is a no go, then the 40 inch TX-40DS500B and 49 inch TX-49DS500B models are both full HD 1080p.
Back to the 32 inch variant, is 1080p a necessity? No; and here’s why. The extra features and connectivity found in this mode center around online catch-up services (iplayer, ITV Hub, 4OD and Demand 5) and HD freeview channels that are all streamed/received in a 720p format. With the 32 inch display and additional processing features the Panasonic software has built in, the image is bright, crisp and colourful. Unless you stand centimeters from the screen there’s no pixelation in the image and it’s more than capable of producing an excellent picture.
If you do run into a 1080p video source then the Panasonic will downscale the image. I tested this out with the latest episode of Game of Thrones, and it was surprisingly good. This model is similar to the 2015 variant but boasts an upgraded 400Hz Backlight Motion Rate to improve the motion blur in panning shots. This was one of the main criticisms of the last model, but the issues have been addressed with positive results. The final upgrade is the bright panel which keeps the image colourful even when the glare of the sun has positioned itself through that gap in the blinds. Overall the colours are vivid, the image is crisp and a range of greys are clearly distinguishable from blacks in dark scenes. As an added bonus the viewing angle is great with no real degradation in colours and picture quality as you move side on from the display. If you love watching Blurays then pick up a 1080p variant or the Sony KDL-32W705C. If not then it’s still a great TV regardless of the resolution..
The TX-32DS500B doesn’t offer a game mode feature to remove the post image processing and reduce input lag. If you want a TV for console gaming with the PS4 or Xbox One I would suggest taking a look at the cheap but feature light Samsung UE32J5100 instead.
The Panasonic TX-32DS500B comes equipped with two 10W speakers so on par with competitors. The audio quality is good with narrated scenes on TV clear. There is no distortion or static in the sound. If you want a real immersive experience then you can use the digital audio output to hook up a soundbar or surround sound system, but you won’t be disappointed by the built in speakers.
There is a built in Freeview HD tuner with guide but also a Freetime guide if you are hooked up to the network. Freetime allows you to select from 26 channels to watch historic programs up to seven days old, including ITV Hub and 4OD. These are channels that are usually not supported by the smart TV apps, so it’s an added bonus.
The Panasonic myHomeScreen allows for full customisation of your apps including YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and others. It’s responsive and easy to navigate. You can also connect a second device to the TV through the home network with the Viera remote app. This also then enables Panasonic’s swipe and share feature. You can move any photos, video and music between the device and TV with a simple slide action.
First off the TV is easy to set up and get going. There are instructions that help you along the way but it’s designed to be easy. The remote is large with buttons alike that are clearly marked and the menus are easily navigated. Making use of the Freetime guide to watch historic programs is made as simple as navigating the guide and the smart features are fully customisable so you can quickly access your favourite apps.
There is a Netflix quick launch button on the remote which is nice if it’s your go to feature. The USB slot can be used for playback but the network connectivity makes this fairly redundant and sharing images from your phone is easy with the Viera remote app.
The Panasonic TX-32DS500B is feature heavy with all its connectivity and smart features. The TV lacks slightly in display features but still offers a high quality image and makes up for its losses with apps, freetime and network connectivity.