Panasonic has announced its UK range of HD TVs for 2013 including six LED and four plasma ranges.
The LED lineup starts with the EM6 at the entry level, moving up to the mid-range E6, ET60 and FT60, rounding off with the DT60 and WT60 at the high-end.
Conspicuous by their absence are any 4K models - everything here is 1920x1080. Panasonic has a 56in 4K OLED prototype, but unlike LG, Sony, Samsung and others, Panasonic isn't really getting behind 4K this year. See also: The problem with 4K TVs
One of the best new features - and a significant reason to opt for a Panasonic TV this year - is the inclusion of a second HD tuner in the DT60, WT60, VT60 and ZT60 models. In fact, there are four built-in tuners - a pair of Freeview HD and a pair of Freesat HD tuners.
Only two of the tuners can be used at once, but it means you can record one channel without being forced to watch that channel - you can use the second tuner to watch any other channel. That second tuner can also be commandeered by other compatible TVs, Blu-ray players and digital recorders from Panasonic's range to stream the content to that device. Or, you can view two channels side by side (click to enlarge all images):
Alternatively, you can stream it to an iOS or Android device using the Viera Remote app. You won't get the same HD quality that you'll see on the TV, but it's a handy feature nonetheless.
WT60 LED range
The WT60 is the successor to last year's excellent WT50, and will be available in 47in and 55in screen sizes. As with all this year's models, it has the latest Smart Viera interface, including the new My Home Screen. This lets you add widgets around a smaller TV window for things like reminders, app shortcuts and web bookmarks.
Like the WT50, the WT60 has an IPS panel for wide viewing angles, plus local dimming for better contrast. We'll have to wait until we can run our own tests on the WT60 to find out how much better it is than the WT50.
Another addition is the pop-up camera which is used for face recognition (to launch your personal My Home Screen) and, more usefully, for Skype.
Unlike most of the other LED ranges, the WT60 has a distinctive glass and metal stand.
It uses passive 3D rather than active (as used by 3D plasma models). You get four pairs of glasses in the box (the same as the DT60 below).
DT60 LED range
The DT60 is a step down from the WT60 but still has the four tuners. Its IPS panel is paired with a scanning backlight that runs at half the speed of the WT60's, with the exception of the 60in model, which runs at 1000Hz instead of 1600Hz.
It has the same 'Hexa-processing engine' and also uses passive 3D technology. You don't get a camera - you have to buy the optional USB version.
The DT60 comes in five sizes: 60in, 55in, 50in, 47in and 42in (TX-L42DT60)
The DT60 range has a V-shaped stand which is used by a fair number of the 2013 LED and plasma models. It looks good, but has the drawback of no cable management so won't hide the mass of cables running to the three HDMI inputs, three USB ports and aerial sockets.
FT60 LED range
Another step down the range is the FT60 which comprises just two models: the 47in TX-L47FT60 and 42in TX-L42FT60. It has the same IPS panel and image processor as the DT60 (with passive 3D) but lacks the twin tuners. Two pairs of glasses are included in the box.
Like the WT60 and DT60 the FT60 has Wi-Fi plus voice interaction for controlling certain functions, including web searches.
ET60 LED range
Moving down the lineup, the ET60 has an IPS passive 3D panel, but with a 600Hz scanning backlight. It's available in 55in, 50in, 47in and 42in sizes.
Again, two pairs of 3D glasses are included in the box. Plus, you get built-in Wi-Fi. What you can't do is record programmes to a USB hard disk - you can, however, play back media from one.
What you don't get is the Hexa-processing engine (it's the V-real 3D Pro), nor the Clear Panel Pro of the more expensive models - this is claimed to improve black levels and colour saturation.
The other difference from the FT60 is the different stand design, which is similar to previous models - a flat metal base with a central pillar.
It still looks stylish in silver with a slim bezel, though.
EM6 LED range
Available in 50in, an unusual 39in and 32in sizes, the EM6 is a budget LED TV which lacks an IPS LCD panel. Naturally, it's still Full HD but not 3D. It has a 100Hz scanning backlight. It also drops down from three HDMI inputs of the higher ranges (which itself is down from four on 2012 models) to just two HDMI ports.
You do get a USB port for media playback, but that's about it. There's no Wi-Fi, no Viera Connect, nor My Home Screen or voice interaction.
Next page: Panasonic 2013 plasma ranges
Panasonic's 2013 plasma TV ranges
Panasonic is well-known for its plasma models, and the 2013 lineup looks strong.
There are four ranges, the mid-range ST60 and GT60, plus the high-end VT60 and reference-level ZT60.
ST60 plasma range
The ST60 should be great value, as the ST range always has been. It has a full HD NeoPlasma panel with Infinite Black Pro - black levels are excellent. It uses active 3D and you get one pair of glasses in the box.
A new feature for 2013 is the Viera Touch Pen. We're yet to be convinced this is a worthwhile addition, but it allows you to draw on the screen to edit photos and add text to them before saving back to an SD card in the TV, or swiped back to a mobile device using the Viera Remote app.
The new My Home Screen is present as is the latest Viera Connect (including Skype, an on-screen web browser and Facebook/Twitter).
There's also built-in Wi-Fi, as with all of Panasonic's 2013 plasma TVs. There's no option to use a USB hard drive for recording, nor the voice interaction feature of the other plasma ranges. You won't find the touchpad remote control in the box, which is reserved for only VT60 and ZT60 models.
The ST60 will be available later this year from 42in to 65in, with 50in and 55in versions inbetween.
GT60 plasma range
The venerable GT range looks very similar to the ST, and still has a relatively thick bezel (compared to the LED TVs).
It’s a small range, available in only 42in and 50in - the TX-P42GT60 and TX-P50GT60. You won't find a 46in plasma anywhere in the 2013 range.
The GT60 is a step up from the ST60 range with the Hexa-Processing Engine, recording to a USB hard drive, two pairs of 3D glasses rather than one, and the addition of Panasonic's new Voice Interaction feature.
VT60 plasma range
The VT60 range comes in 50in, 55in and 60in models and has an edge-to-edge glass front panel which makes its bezel look much slimmer than the ST60 and GT60 models.
Compared to the GT60 it adds a touchpad controller and the highly useful twin tuners (2x Freeview HD and 2x Freesat HD).
The only other main difference is better claimed contrast - Infinite Black Ultra instead of Infinite Black Pro. We'll reserve judgement on the visible difference until we can test the two side by side.
ZT60 flagship 60in plasma TV
Finally, there's the special edition ZT60, which comes in 60in only. Panasonic calls this a 'beyond reference' set with a 'studio master panel'.
We saw it compared to a four-year-old Pioneer Kuro (a reference plasma) and the absence of an air gap between the front glass and inner panel led to noticeably better blacks. Again, in demos, it was clear that the ZT60 was able to reproduce more detail in dark areas than the Kuro.
One final feature for purists is '1080 Pure Direct' which means the full 30-bit information from Blu-ray discs is sent direct to the TV without compression - as long as you have a compatible Blu-ray player. This is also on the VT and GT series.
Expect to pay around £4000 when the ZT60 goes on sale later this year.
Here are the new remote controls for the 2013 range: