Panasonic are a well trusted and respected brand here at Richer Sounds, so it’s no surprise that whenever the new ranges come out, we get a slight tingle in the stores that won’t go away until we get busy unboxing them.
This year has been a year of great importance for pretty much all the major manufacturers with the conception of the UHD alliance and new levels of excellence strived for by all to give a great picture quality and of course look the business.
Upon opening the box on the 40DX700 thankfully it appears that someone at Panasonic has listened to the cries of its consumers and has finally brought back the silver bezel on its TVs that was so highly coveted back when they released the award winning ET, FT and WT range back in 2013. They look very much like a premium item, and that’s always a great starting point for something that people will be displaying in their home as their pride and joy. The stand is also adjustable to be put into 2 different locations giving those with a smaller table top the ability to keep their units in place, which is a nice touch considering those who have invested previously in a soundbase to fit underneath.
This TV is the cheapest model that Panasonic provide with HDR support (High Dynamic Range) which is going got be the benchmark for all of the new 4K (or UHD) Blu-ray discs being released and is clearly a hint that one should perhaps look at investing in Panasonic’s new DMPUB900 UHD Blu-ray player alongside it.
There’s also an upgrade to the Firefox operating system as well which means you can move nicely between your TV channels and Smart apps including a direct Netflix button on the remote to jump straight into the UHD action (if you have the right subscription).
As with all Smart TVs these days, it is a very quick and painless process to set it up and once you’ve popped in your wi-fi password, the TV will find any updates, install them, restart and then throw you right into whatever you want to watch. We started with some 4K footage from Netflix (House of Cards) and it’s no surprise the picture quality is fantastic. We recommend switching off all the excess processing to get the most stable image possible in standard picture mode and the detail in Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey)’s face is astounding. Perhaps those of us looking to go into films and TV should be wary of 4K as it certainly brings out every line, bump, and curve on a person’s face and figure. The motion was very smooth thanks to the 1400Hz BMR IFC motion processor and the colour spectrum was wide and very natural looking, a trait with pretty much all Panasonic TVs.
Moving down the resolution spectrum again, we popped on a traditional Blu-ray disc (Avengers: Age of Ultron) and it didn’t struggle at all. Again the motion was smooth, the edges were defined and after popping on the Noise Reduction system it was a very grain-free image that greeted us. The intro scene where the Avengers are battling a bunch of old Hydra troops gave an immersive feel and would certainly only have been improved by having the larger screen size to test it upon.
When dropped down into the HD ready channels from Sky it is still a very capable performer. The Formula 1 channel had its signature wavy heat lines coming off the cars in the distance and gave great detailing on the cars that really got the most out of the TV when the sun glinted off them in Shanghai. Again the motion held up remarkably well considering the amount of upscaling required to go from 1million pixels to 8million on the panel!
Another drop down to the SD channels and there were a few issues with the clarity, but it is to be expected with all 4K TVs. They aren’t really designed with this resolution in mind, but the DX700 still did a very good job whilst watching the classic Star Wars: A New Hope.
All in all, the catch-up services and the interface make this a nice TV to use, and Panasonic have stuck to their guns with their traditional big buttoned remote to keep things nice and easy when selecting the various functions of the TV. The speakers are adequate for the job but as with most TVs these days, don’t expect a blast of bass or as refined a treble as you would expect on a soundbar or base.
For those changing up from the old plasmas, you may still want to consider the higher range models or indeed the OLED range to combat the contrast that they were able to offer but none the less it’s a very impressive picture on a TV capable of providing HDR content to the masses.
To find out more about the Panasonic TX40DX700, click here.