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Panasonic TX-32AS500B review

 Review: June 2014  
 

Last updated July 2014

Rating: 3 stars

In a nutshell: The Panasonic Viera TX-32AS500B is a good value 32 inch Smart TV. Picture quality is good, it includes a built-in Freeview HD tuner plus catch-up TV services, and is ideal for a bedroom.



 

Review

Panasonic's AS500B model is the same as the A400B but with Smart TV added (the "S" stands for "Smart".)

Design & looks

The TX-32AS500B has a glossy black finish and a simple black stand. The ultra narrow bezel surrounding the screen gives it a contemporary appearance, and lifts it above the looks of many budget TVs. It's ideally suited as a second TV, perhaps in a bedroom, or for use in a small apartment.

The sales package includes a standard remote control and the TV is rated A+ for energy efficiency.

Picture quality

Overall picture quality is good, bearing in mind that this is an entry-level product. 

The screen isn't full HD, having a resolution of just 1,366 x 768, but on a 32 inch screen that's hardly a problem. It can still display 720p HD material. The screen has good dynamic range, on a par with Samsung's Series 5 models. Motion resolution isn't the finest, with backlight blinking at just 100Hz, but this is less noticeable here than in the 42 inch version of the AS500B.

Overall, we'd say that the picture quality is impressive when you consider the low cost.

Audio quality

This 32 inch model has two full range speakers, with V Audio simulated surround sound. The total power of just 5W x 2 is at the bottom end, compared with products from other manufacturers. Although the audio quality is acceptable for general watching, you'll miss out on immersive sound when watching sport or movies.

Smart TV

The difference between this model and the A400B is the addition of Smart functionality. All the main Smart TV functions are covered here, including Catch-up TV from the BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport and Eurosport. You can also watch YouTube and Netflix. Facebook and Twitter apps are available, as well as a full web browser. The user interface is friendly, with a customisable "my Home Screen" that can be personalised for each family member.

The system is also Skype-ready, although you'll need to add a camera to use this option.

Connectivity

The TV includes a built-in Freeview HD tuner with a 7-day Electronic Programme Guide.

Internet connectivity is available via built-in Wi-Fi and an ethernet port. The TV is DLNA certified and can be used to source pictures and video on your home network. It also supports display mirroring of compatible smartphones and tablets. Panasonic's Viera remote app turns your smartphone or tablet into a TV remote controller with added functionality.

The TV can connect to other AV equipment via two HDMI connections, one of which is ARC compatible. There are also a range of legacy AV connections, including SCART and component. A USB connection is also available.

The fact that there are only two HDMI connections is limiting and should be factored into any buying decision. For instance, if one HDMI is used for a set-top box and one for a Blu-Ray player, that leaves nothing to connect a games console.

Conclusion - an excellent entry-level Smart TV

This is a good value 32 inch Smart TV. It looks good, has a reasonably high quality screen and is competitively priced. The low quality audio counts against it, as does the fact that there are only two HDMI connections, but these are perhaps less important considerations in a 32 inch TV compared with a larger model.

ALternatively we would highly recommend the Samsung Series 5 H5500, which costs about the same but is Full HD.


Panasonic TX-32AS500B features include:

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How do I operate ' catch up ' on this tv?

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