Panasonic TC-L39EM60 LED TV Review
The EM60 series won't knock your socks off. Most low-end TVs don't.
The TC-L39EM60 ($479.99) is an LED LCD display from one of Panasonic's lower 2013 rungs. The series comes in 39- and 50-inch varieties, featuring meat-and-potatoes television functionality without pricey frills like smart features and 3D technology.
With its spartan design and trim feature set, the EM60 series offers above-average picture quality for a price that doesn't sting. Comparison shopping is never a bad idea though—I've seen similar price and performance on bigger screens in recent months—so be sure to test the waters before you buy.
Not a very snappy dresser
The EM60 series looks just like any other low-end flatscreen: glossy black plastic every which way, and rectangles as far as the eye can see. If you're looking for something ultra modern, you'll have to ask your billfold for a bigger allowance.
The outputs and inputs on this Panasonic will do, but users only get two HDMI ports (most people are used to three), and there is no LAN hookup or headphone jack. Aside from the two HDMI, there is a digital audio out, an antenna hookup, a shared composite/component port, and one USB slot—and that's the name of that tune.
For controls, users get the bare necessities. A very elementary remote gets the job done—unless you're in the dark, since nothing lights up. If the remote goes missing or the batteries die, there is also a simple set of buttons on the right side to serve as a temporary replacement.
Extras, extras, read all about them!
Actually, there isn't much to read about: The EM60 series isn't smart, so users can't stream shows, play with apps, or Tweet selfies (thank goodness). You can't watch movies in 3D, either. But you do get to save some money!
So what features are there? Basic ones. You can alter Color Temperature, Contrast, Brightness, Backlight, and other basics. Beyond that, there is a Noise Reduction setting which does little to nothing, and a very aggressive Motion Enhancement feature. I would strongly discourage you from using this motion-smoothing item, as even the weakest setting lends a very ugly quality to the picture—it's almost like watching a sped-up, crystal-clear version of the original. Bilbo Baggins was never meant to move that fast—this setting just sucks the magic right out of him.
Not award winning, but still above average
To the meat of the matter: The Panasonic EM60 series performed slightly better than average, but did not put up scores to knock anyone's socks off. The most important performance aspects are very acceptable, with the healthy dark levels necessary for rendering realistic images. The 39-inch model we tested is also bright enough that a sunny room won't wash out its picture—check and check!
The color performance proved solid, too, though not perfect. Midtones on a Blu-ray of The Hobbit appeared a bit grainy at times, for instance. Additionally, reds are a little more faded than they ought to be, and blues sometimes take on an ugly, overly vibrant appearance. Areas of highlight look great, though, without any unwanted tints, and greens are very accurate, too.
Thus, regular content like talk shows and news reports look pretty natural and attractive. Blu-ray cinema looks quite sharp as well, aside from some very mild blurring. The only other complaint is the viewing angle, which isn't very wide. Therefore, the EM60 series is not a great option if you want a wall-mounted display.
The Long & the Short
Not exactly a goldmine, but still a fair buy
Shoppers in search of solid performance without complicated, expensive features will find a qualified candidate in the TC-L39EM60. Everyone loves scoring an off-brand price on a name-brand TV, but this Panasonic is not without rivalries, so browsing won't hurt.
If you do choose Panasonic's EM60 series, you will enjoy a good-looking picture without wearing out your wallet. From contrast, to color, to motion performance, the EM60 series delivers slightly above-average quality at a fair price.
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