Updated: December 13, 2012
Panasonic Projection TV Sets
'LCX65' and 'LC14' Panasonic LCD Projection TVs
An Interesting BIG Screen Option for the Home Theater
The latest LCD Panasonic Projection TV sets are all set to deliver top-level home theater excitement. Picture quality is superb. They are slim and stylish, and come with a full list of features and specifications. But there is even more...
We review the latest 'PT-xxLCX65' and 'PT-xxLC14' ranges of LCD Panasonic rear projection TVs to see what's on offer for the home theater.
Mitsubishi WD-82840 3D DLP TV
For less than a 65-inch LED TV, this 82-inch DLP HDTV features 3D, Internet-TV, is ISFccc-ready for professional calibration, and includes a 16-speaker soundbar for one of the best sound experiences you will enjoy direct from the TV speakers.
Introducing the Panasonic PT-xxLCX65 and PT-xxLC14 ranges of LCD Rear Projection Televisions
Panasonic are considered as one of the top leaders and their products have always been synonymous with top-quality and reliability.
The selected Panasonic rear projection TV product ranges reviewed in this article are no exception to all this. Both the PT-xxLCX65 and the PT-xxLC14 series of projection TVs come loaded with similar features and specifications.
The smallest in the range is the 43" PT-43LC14 Widescreen HD-Ready LCD TV, an ultra-slim model which at 12.8" in depth, surely represents a cheaper alternative to Plasma. The largest rear projection model is the 61" PT-61LCX65 HDTV. This comes complete with built-in ATSC/QAM/NTSC tuners and CableCARD slot. There are six models as part of these LCD Panasonic projection TV series, covering 43-inch to 61-inch TV sizes. Products within the same Panasonic projection TV series i.e. series LC14 and series LCX65, come with identical technical specs irrespective of screen size.
Main Features and Difference between the LC14 and LCX65 Panasonic Projection TV Series
The real significant difference between the LC14 and LCX65 Panasonic projection TV series is that the latter comes with a built-in HDTV tuner and a digital CableCARD slot.
The HDTV tuner and the CableCARD slot on the LCX65 series of Panasonic projection TVs give you the possibility to receive both over-the-air HD broadcasts as well as premium cable channels like HBO and Cinemax - if supported by your cable company - without the need to spend a few hundred dollars in an external decoder to feed in high definition signals. These features are not available on the LC14 series; instead, the two built-in tuners on the LC14 range of Panasonic rear projection TV sets are standard analog NTSC.
PCMCIA Card slot: This is present only on the LC14 series of projection TV products. Though both series come with a built-in digital camera memory reader to view your digital camera pictures direct on your HD screen, yet this is only compatible with SD and Multi-Media memory cards. The PCMCIA card slot on the LC14 series gives you the possibility to use a PCMCIA memory card reader - through which you can plug in a different type of memory card e.g. Compact Flash, Smart media, etc.
HDMI: All Panasonic projection TV models referred to in this article include an HDMI interface. HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface; it is a lossless uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface that enables the user to link the set with any audio/video source (such as a set-top box, DVD player, or AV receiver.)
HDMI supports standard-definition (SD), enhanced definition (ED), or high-definition (HD) video, plus multi-channel digital audio - all using a single cable. It transmits all ATSC HDTV standards and supports up to 8-channel digital audio, with bandwidth to spare to accommodate future enhancements and requirements.
The video portion of the HDMI interface is backward compatible - through the use of a special cable adapter - with DVI-HDCP devices. Surely, this single cable interface is a big bonus in any home theater setup as it reduces the pile of cables on the floor behind the set!
Latest LCD Technology: These Panasonic projection TVs make use of the latest LCD micro-display projection technology. The Panasonic light engine uses a three-LCD panel setup - supporting a native resolution of 1280 x 720 for a total pixel count of over 2.7 million. It is this high pixel count that enables these LCD Panasonic projection TVs to produce exceptional smooth detailed images especially when feed by a HDTV signal. OK, this is not as high as that of the Sony Grand WEGA range of LCD rear projection TVs, but still it is one of the highest presently available.
Price wise, there is minimal difference between the LC14 and the LCX65 series of Panasonic projection TV models; in fact, the 60" PT-60LC14 and the 61" PT-61LCX65 models are practically selling online for the same price. This means that if you still need to invest in a set-top-box for your HDTV receiver and cable decoder, then the LCX65 series may be a better option.
It is worth pointing out here that these Panasonic projection TVs compete well with similar products from other brands. In particular, these Panasonic rear projection TV products are in direct competition with the Toshiba HM94 series of DLP HDTV sets.
The 43"/44" Panasonic models are presently selling online at around $2,000 while the 60"/61" models are selling at amazon.com for approx. $2,800. Not cheap but still relatively inexpensive considering the specifications list.
What's more, at 12.8" depth for the 43" model to a maximum of 18.44" in depth for the largest 61" wide screen set, these Panasonic projection TVs surely represent a cheaper flat-screen option to Plasma TV.
What's on offer for the home theater?
These Panasonic projection TVs come loaded with an interesting list of specifications, features, and enhancements. There is no doubt that these high-definition liquid-crystal projection TV sets are among the best high definition 16:9 flat-screen televisions for any home theater.
Both the PT-xxLC14 and the PT-xxLCX65 support full compatibility with standard-definition 480i, enhanced-definition 480p, and high-definition 720p and 1080i signals.
The high pixel count as well as their high brightness and high contrast levels ensure vivid, exacting images from DVD players and HD programming. In addition, these Panasonic projection TV sets incorporate Panasonic proprietary progressive scan 'Doubler' that will up-convert standard interlaced (non-progressive) broadcast and auxiliary signals to flicker-free, 480p resolution.
Panasonic LCD Light Engine
These Panasonic LCD rear projection TVs make use of three (one for each RGB color component) 0.7-inch poly-silicon TFT LCD high resolution panels, each having a native resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels.
This calls for a more complex optical setup but at the same time, it gets rid both of the color wheel found in most DLP sets - often associated by some with the rainbow effect, as well as of any misconvergence and flicker problems typical of their CRT counterparts.
The use of LCD technology also means that these Panasonic projection TV sets do not suffer from burn-in, typical of all phosphor-based displays such as CRT and Plasma TVs. The light source is a high brightness 100-watt HID (High Intensity Discharge) lamp; lamp replacement is a few minutes job and can be easily carried out by the user.
Black-level performance, or rather their ability to accurately render black and very dark picture areas, is very good; still it is not exactly on par with some of the best CRT-based rear projection TVs, but surely better than most competing LCD and DLP rear projection TV sets.
A whole suite of proprietary video processing circuitry is used in these Panasonic projection TVs to ensure the best possible results:
Wideband Video Amplifier: These Panasonic projection TV sets feature a wideband video amplifier and a 10-Bit 60Mhz A/D conversion processor with a high definition image enhancer.
3:2 Pulldown: Panasonic 3:2 pulldown detection and reversal is a handy feature for watching progressive-scan movie programs in their native 24-frame format. Digital video mastering introduces a common distortion when adjusting 24 frames-per-second movies to 30 fps video; 3:2 pulldown digitally corrects this distortion by removing the redundant information to display a film-frame-accurate picture.
Motion Adaptive 3D Digital Comb Filter - this is the best type of comb filter available today since in addition to separating the Y (luminance or black and white) and C (chrominance or color) elements of a video signal, a 3D Y/C filter also performs two additional key functions - that of comparing three consecutive horizontal scan lines within a single video frame, and also of analyzing each frame in advance. In this manner, a 3D Y/C filter is able to ensure the best possible picture.
Horizontal/Vertical edge correction: This helps sharpen the edges of objects in the picture. Horizontal edge correction works in conjunction with the dynamic sharpness control and velocity modulated scan to help produce clean, crisp television images and reduce the unwanted effects of video noise. The vertical edge correction circuit works in conjunction with the digital comb filter to sharpen the horizontal edges of objects in the picture.
Surely, these Panasonic projection TV sets are not lacking in this respect in that all models come with an interesting mix of inputs and outputs.
In particular, the PC inputs on these LCD Panasonic projection TVs make them ideal for use not only as a TV but also as large multimedia monitor - simply connect your PC or laptop and experience web browsing or gaming over the set's high definition large screen display.
There is a slight difference in the total number of inputs and outputs between the LC14 and the LCX65 product ranges. However both the PT-xxLC14 and the PT-xxLCX65 series of Panasonic projection TVs offer multiple component-video inputs (4 on the LC14 and 3 on the LCX65), a HDMI digital video input for a direct-digital connection with a DTV set-top box, as well as a PC input (2 PC inputs are available on the LC14 series) supporting VGA, SVGA, and compressed XGA resolutions.
These LCD rear projection TVs come with a 2-way stereo speaker system that is capable of delivering a total of 15 watts total per channel. The sound system makes use of BBE ViVA HD 3D surround sound processing technology.
BBE ViVA is a new High Definition 3D Sound technology that is capable of creating authentic-sounding 3D effects from stereo speakers with exceptional sound-stage imaging. Unlike ordinary 3D sound effects, which often tear the stereo image down the middle, resulting in centrally staged audio material, such as dialogue, becoming fuzzy or even disappearing, BBE ViVA delivers crystal clarity for solo vocals and movie dialogue.
This is possible through the use of true linear phase correction and dynamic amplitude compensation, thus improving speech intelligibility and the dynamic range of musical passages, giving music a realistic, 'live' presence.
Other audio features include Artificial intelligence sound that automatically adjusts the volume level on your TV to prevent wide variations in sound both between different TV stations or between different programming sources, and support for Multi-channel Television Sound (MTS) standard for stereo sound with Dolby noise reduction, and SAP (secondary audio programming) for receiving a second audio track in another language.
Built-in SD Memory card media slot allows quick, easy viewing of digital photos (JPEG images) right off your digital camera as well as digital photo slide shows and playback of MP3 audio files.
Two-tuner split-screen: This is not exactly PIP but it lets you view 2 programs at once by dividing the screen in half down the middle. Each program is shown at full height, with one program on the left side and the other on the right.
Trilingual On-Screen Display in either English, Spanish or French.
V-Chip Program Lock Out (USA/Canada) to block out specific program content that may be inappropriate for certain viewer e.g. children.
Video Input Picture Memory: This allows you to select from three pre-configured picture settings namely Standard, Cinema, or Vivid, and save the setting which looks best to you for the various input video sources.
Energy-start compliant: Yes
Product Dimensions and Weight
The table below lists the respective product dimensions and weight for each of the Panasonic projection TV sets referred to in this review article:
|PT-43LC14 - 43" HD-ready RPTV||49.6"||31.3"||12.8"||68lbs|
|PT-50LC14 - 50" HD-ready RPTV||55.7"||35.5"||15.3"||84lbs|
|PT-60LC14 - 60" HD-ready RPTV||64.4"||41.3"||18.1"||101lbs|
|PT-44LCX65 - 44" rear projection HDTV||41.25"||30.25"||14.75"||68lbs|
|PT-52LCX65 - 52" rear projection HDTV||48.25"||35.19"||17"||77lbs|
|PT-61LCX65 - 61" rear projection HDTV||56.1"||40.5"||18.44"||93lbs|