Panasonic TC-L39EM60 LED TV Review
The EM60 series won't knock your socks off. Most low-end TVs don't.
Behind the Screens
Delivering accurate, scientific assessments of TVs is our specialty, and the Science Page is where you can come to take a look at our findings.
The Panasonic TC-L39EM60 didn't exactly sweep the TV lab off its feet, but the results still outdo some of the competition in this sub-$500 price range. Contrast, color, and viewing angle come together for above-average overall performance.
Ramping up and dimming down
Each area of a television's performance contributes to its overall score, but some performance aspects count more than others. For instance, a television's minimum luminance—or how dark it can get—is absolutely crucial. The darker a display can get, the better equipped it is to render intricate areas of shadow with meticulous, lifelike detail. I gathered a dark reading of 0.072 cd/m2 —which is very acceptable for a budget model like this, and means it will look nice in theater-like settings. The EM60 series can ramp up in brightness, too, with a peak luminance of 254.7 cd/m2, so natural sunlight won't overwhelm these TVs. These readings make for a total contrast ratio of 3538:1, which is pretty average for displays in this price range.
A television's color performance is an arena that we like to break into three parts. I'll begin with gamut—which charts a television's adherence to the Rec. 709 international HD color standard. This matter gets to the heart of the matter: Which colors are depicted? Are reds the right shade of red? Are they washed-out in appearance?
Testing showed that the Panasonic TC-L39EM60 produces undersaturated reds and oversaturated blues. At times, these errors are noticeable: Blues look unnatural and overly vibrant here and there, while areas of red can appear lackluster and faded. At least green is accurate, and whites are mostly pure-white. Overall, this color gamut is fairly average—not too impressive, not too disfiguring.
Color curves are another aspect of color performance. These curves indicate whether the TV segues from one hue to the next smoothly, or disastrously. My findings for this TV aren't too bad: The curves aren't buttery smooth, but the transitions are gradual and polished enough that pictures look clean and detailed, for the most part.
Finally, the results from the color temperature test look great, as well. When we test color temperature, we're hoping to note the same temperature in Kelvins throughout a TV's whole output, from dark to light. While the EM60 series isn't perfect, its temperature errors are mild, polluting a small portion of the darkest area of the grayscale—the least visible area—with a blue tint.
Testing a panel's viewing angle gives users an idea of how comfortable they'll be on the end of a couch. Is the view much worse from the side than it is from the head-on? In this case—yes.
We measured a total viewing angle of 40° on the 39-inch EM60, or ±20° from either side. In other words, if you sit at off angles of more than 20º, the contrast will fall by upwards of 50%.
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