Panasonic Viera TC-55AS650U
Consumer Reports (CR) overall weighted score = 69
This 55-inch 1080p LCD TV from Panasonic offers excellent high-definition picture quality, though its 3D performance was a bit below average. It also has a fairly wide viewing angle for an LCD set, very good anti-blur performance, and a good number of features, including Panasonic's updated Life+ Screen smart TV platform, with a browser, access to apps, and online content. A Swipe and Share app lets you send content back and forth from compatible mobile devices. This model comes with two sets of passive 3D glasses.
• Excellent HD image detail
• Excellent color accuracy
• Wide viewing angle
• Low ghosting in 3D mode
• Ineffective local dimming feature
• 3D ghosting varies with vertical viewing angle
• Image resolution in 3D mode is half 1080p HD
Detailed test results
. This model had excellent high-definition picture quality. It did an excellent job displaying the finest detail. Color accuracy was excellent, so colors looked very natural and lifelike. Contrast--the difference between the darkest blacks and brightest whites--was good, so images had depth and dimension, typical of most models we test. The brightness level was good, making it a suitable choice for most rooms. Depth of black level was good, with negligible enhancement provided by Panasonic's "Adaptive Backlight Control." In scenes with subtly shaded light-to-dark areas, such as a sky during sunset, the TV did a very good job producing a smooth transition without distinct, coarse bands. Film mode operation for HD film-based content was excellent, with no visible jaggies along the edges of objects during motion scenes. Deinterlacing was very good, with minimal jaggies visible when converting 1080i video content, such as from cable, to the display's native resolution.
This Panasonic has a wide viewing angle overall, better than that of most LCDs. It will provide the same picture quality, with fewer problems than most LCD sets, for typical viewing conditions--say, if your family is seated across a long sectional or in chairs off to the sides of the TV.
With brighter scenes, like sporting events, the display did a fine job maintaining accurate colors and decent contrast whether we moved off to the sides or were viewing from above or from below screen. The picture did show some dimming from the sides but not to any point we found distracting. With dark scenes the display didn't fare quite as well. When viewed from the sides, the depth of black levels varied depending on the vertical position of the viewer's head. As we moved closer to the screen this limitation became even more apparent, especially if seated on the floor looking upward where black levels brightened significantly. This display's wide viewing angle is best appreciated when viewed at eye level to the screen.
. This Panasonic TV has very good motion performance, with minimal blurring on our motion tests, thanks to Panasonic's Motion picture setting. This feature is designed to reduce motion blur, a shortcoming of most LCD TVs. With the feature turned off, motion performance was only fair, with significant blurring on our motion tests.
. Though not as mirror-like as on some LCDs, this screen surface is glossy and therefore susceptible to reflections from a nearby lamp or window. The screen is dark so it does a good job reducing glare from ambient light and maintains contrast even in a bright room.
. The overall 3D effect was only good, a notch below the better 3D displays. 3D images showed effective depth, with minimal levels of ghosting (left eye/right eye crosstalk) on our 3D test patterns and on a wide variety of 3D program content. There was an increase in ghosting when we viewed 3D images from above or below eye level, which got worse as you move closer to the TV. Images conveyed half 1080p, or 540 lines of resolution to each eye; there was visible loss of vertical detail when compared to models capable of 3D at full 1080p. 3D image content showed visible jaggies and moire on fine detail due to the absence of half of the lines.
. This TV's sound is good, fine for typical TV programming, but won't reproduce the full range of movie soundtracks and music. It has a good volume range. At more typical listening levels the TV's sound has only decent bass and impact, and is bright sounding. All told, none of these issues were overly distracting and most will find this sound quality acceptable.
EASE OF USE
. Overall, we found the set easy to use. Setting up the TV for the first time was straightforward, as was access to features and controls you'll probably adjust only once. Ease of access to features you typically use more often was very good. Also, the remote is satisfactory, and the on-screen menu is easy to navigate.
Remote has a dedicated button to access Internet features, and to access 3D, and to access Internet features. The remote's major function buttons were sufficiently large and have high-contrast labeling, making them easier to see and navigate. Labeling uses non standard icons making button selection less intuitive to use. We found the set responds slowly to commands from the remote.
. Mounting the TV to the included support stand is fairly straightforward. The stand requires the assembly of a few parts before mounting.
. This TV provides advanced Internet capability. Features include a full Web browser and access to a library of applications via "Apps Market." Movie streaming services include: Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, Hulu Plus, Movies by Flixster, Netflix, Target Ticket, Vudu. It also supports an optional Web cam for access to video conferencing applications such as Skype.
This TV includes three HDMI inputs, one shared connection between the component and composite inputs (which means you can only use one type or the other at a time), optical digital audio out, two USB ports, an Ethernet port, Wi-Fi (via yes USB adapter), and a Secure Digital memory card slot. Wireless connectivity includes: DLNA network file sharing. HDMI and analog cable connections made to the rear-facing panel will protrude beyond the panel's slim depth.
INCLUDED IN THE BOX. The TV comes with: a printed user manual, an electronic manual in the TV's menu, a quick start guide, two remotes with batteries, and two pairs of 3D glasses.
OPTIMIZED PICTURE SETTINGS.
Our expert TV testers recommend the following settings for the Panasonic Viera TC-55AS650U to get your image looking like the rated picture quality we saw in our lab.
Accessing the picture controls is simple; find the Menu, Home, or Settings button on your remote (name varies with manufacturer), and navigate to the picture settings menu where you'll see most of the controls. To find some other controls you may additionally have to enter the "advanced settings" or the "picture options" sub menus (name may vary depending on model). Don't worry about making any "mistakes." You can always reset the picture settings to factory default if necessary. Consult your user manual for additional guidance.
Picture Mode: Custom
Contrast (Picture): 90
Color Temperature: Warm 2
Aspect Ratio: Full (overscan = Off), H size = Size 1
Miscellaneous: Adaptive backlight control = On, Motion picture setting = Weak, Gamma = 2.2, 3:2 pulldown = Auto, Back level = Light (All remaining settings set to OFF, or 0)
TV FIRMWARE. All TVs are evaluated using the latest firmware version available at the time of testing.
Firmware version for Panasonic Viera TC-55AS650U is: 2.057
ABOUT CR's OPTIMIZED PICTURE SETTINGS
: Our fine-tuned picture adjustments are made with the support of special test patterns and reference videos to yield best image fidelity, and a professionally calibrated reference HDTV is used for comparison. Whether you are watching movies on Blu-ray or sports from your cable box these settings will ensure you are seeing the programs in the best quality this display can offer, short of a professional calibration. To optimize the image we typically turn off (or turn down) the settings from features that can often degrade performance, including; power saving modes (which often dim the image), sharpness, noise reduction (also known as DNR, a feature that can degrade image detail), and "motion smoothing", if present (an effect that can give movies a soap opera, video-like appearance). Optimal settings for your TV may vary a bit from ours due to slight variations between similar TV samples, or the firmware version of the TV's software.
ABOUT CR'S TV VIEWING CONDITIONS: Our picture settings are optimized for a dimmer home viewing environment. If the settings we recommend don't suit your taste or your environment, use the picture controls to achieve an image you consider "just right."
ABOUT FIRMWARE VERSION: Our test results and picture settings are valid for the version of firmware indicated. If your TV's firmware differs from the one shown you either have an older or a newer version of firmware. Manufacturers may periodically upgrade the TV's firmware to enhance operation, fix bugs, or add features. Firmware upgrades may be downloadable directly to your TV via a wired or wireless network (if internet capable), USB port, or memory card, depending on your TV's capability. You can check your TV's firmware version, or upgrade to the latest firmware by pressing the menu button on your remote and navigating to the appropriate submenu, typically under settings. Consult the user manual or manufacturer's website if further guidance is needed.
About - Panasonic Viera TC-55AS650U
The Panasonic Viera TC-55AS650U is a 55-inch LCD HDTV with a native resolution of 1920x1080 (1080p). This TV has a 3D mode that requires the use of special glasses to see three-dimensional images. It has LED backlighting, a more energy-efficient type of backlighting. Rather than the basic 60Hz, it has a faster 1500Hz frame rate, a feature designed to reduce motion blur.
This model is Internet-enabled and can access online content, including streaming movie and TV services. It has an Ethernet jack for a wired connection to your home network via a cable. This TV is also Wi-Fi capable, so you can connect it to your home network wirelessly. It is DLNA certified, so you can view digital photos stored on a compatible computer, phone, or other mobile device also connected to your home network.
There are 4 HD-capable inputs: 3 HDMI and 1 component-video, which doubles as a composite-video input. It also has 2 USB ports, which may be used to play media--photos, videos, and music--stored on a flash drive.
The Panasonic Viera TC-55AS650U measures 30.2 inches high by 49 inches wide by 11.5 inches deep, including its base. The panel itself is 2.2 inches thick including any protrusions, and the screen has a glossy finish. The bezel framing the screen is gloss silver and black
The warranty on this TV covers parts/labor for 12/12 months, respectively.
About This Brand
Panasonic continues to expand its VIERA line of LED-based LCD TVs, adding more models and announcing a growing line of Ultra High Definition LCD TVs ranging from 55 inches to 85 inches.
Once the market leader in plasma TVs, Panasonic has exited that market for 2014.
Read our Brand Reliability
Features & Specs - Panasonic Viera TC-55AS650U
info Native resolution 1920x1080
info Overall height (in.) 30.2
info Overall width (in.) 49
info Overall depth (in.) 11.5
info Other sizes in brand line Viera TC-60AS650U (60"), Viera TC-50AS650U (50")
info Screen shape (aspect ratio) 16:9
info Screen finish Glossy
info Digital Tuner (Off-air ATSC and Cable QAM) 1
info Panel size without base HxWxD (in.) 28.4 x 49 x 2.2
info Weight including base (lb.) 43
info Swivel base No
info Bezel finish/color Gloss silver and black
info Warranty (months): parts/labor/in-home 12/12/12
info Frame rate (Hz) 1500, 60
info Wi-Fi Yes
info 3D-capable Yes
info 3D type Passive
info Number of 3D glasses included 2
info Internet-enabled Yes
info Streaming video services Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, Hulu Plus, Movies by Flixster, NetFlix, Target Ticket, Vudu
info Web browser Yes
info Web camera capable Optional
info DLNA-certified Yes
info PIP (no. of tuners) No
info HDMI inputs 3
info Component-video 0
info Component/Composite-video shared inputs 1
info Composite-video 0
info USB port 2
info VGA input No
info Ethernet port Yes
info Digital-audio output Optical
info Headphone jack (3.5mm audio jack) No
info Memory-card reader Secure Digital
info Other connections None