Panasonic's Ultra High Definition debutant is able to display 4K faster than any of its rivals. Check out our Panasonic TX-L65WT600 4K TV review
4K native content may still be as elusive as big cats on Bodmin Moor, but Panasonic is already thinking ahead. The big Panasonic TX-L65WT600 is the first TV in the world to offer compatibility with high frame rate 4K. Expected to be embraced by Sky and other broadcasters in 2015 (that's our guess), 50/60Hz Ultra HD adds a silky smoothness to the astonishing clarity of 4K images.
Panasonic TX-L65WT600: Features
As the premium screen in Panasonic's panel posse, there's nothing missing from the WT600's feature slate. The brand's My Home Screen Smart TV interface allows you to customise your app and streaming TV experience, and includes a native 4K resolution web browser, while the inclusion of multiple tuners also opens up novel viewing options, from MultiView windows to smartphone integration.
However, its key provision is HDMI 2.0 compatibility and a 4K-capable DisplayPort input. The latter is particularly useful as it can be used right here, right now to play 4K games at 60 frames per second via a tricked-out PC and graphics card.
So how has Panasonic effectively leap frogged the current HDMI 1.4K standard which tethers the other 4K set makers? Because it owns a semiconductor business able to manufacture HDMI 2.0 compatible silicon, that's how.
Panasonic TX-L65WT600: Design
The WT600 looks decidedly futuristic. Just 56mm thin with a super narrow bezel that doesn't detract from its imagery, it wears its huge screen size with surprising elegance.
Panasonic TX-L65WT600: Specs
Connectivity is where the WT600 steals a huge march over rival 4K screens. Not only are there four HDMIs, one of which is HDMI 2.0 compatible, there's also a DisplayPort input. This connection standard may be more commonly associated with Apple laptops and PC graphics cards, but it's essential to enjoying 4K 50/60Hz content now.
There's also museum-grade Scart and component/composite compatibility, a trio of USBs (one designated for external hard drive recording), Ethernet, SD card reader and an optical digital output. Wi-Fi is integrated.
Panasonic TX-L65WT600: Performance
We've waxed long and lyrical over the image quality available from first-generation 4K televisions. With 8m pixel density they offer photographic smoothness, even with upscaled Full HD content. But none deliver 4K resolution running at 60Hz.
Hooked up to a PC media player this screen is capable of a kind of hyper reality. The picture demands you get closer, just to savour the fine delineation. Test footage of high frame rate 4K looks mind-bogglingly fabulous. As a preview of what to expect from those inevitable 4K TV services, it's absolutely mouthwatering.
Importantly the WT600 also looks terrific with upscaled Blu-ray and Full HD TV. There's a wealth of calibration options for tweakers, but if you can't be bothered to fiddle, the screen is THX 4K certified and offers well-considered THX Cinema and Bright Room presets.
Audio performance is little more than functional though - disappointing for such a forward-thinking product.
Panasonic TX-L65WT600: Verdict
As near to future proof as we might dare hope, this impressive Ultra HD debutant offers a scintillating viewing experience.
If you're running a high-end gaming PC, it should be viewed as an extravagant cinematic monitor upgrade. As a premium gogglebox it takes some beating too. If you want to watch the future of television today, the Panasonic TX-L65WT600 is the only way to do it.
However, with very little 4K content currently available, it's hard to recommend spending over five grand on it and prices will inevitably come down when more content becomes available. If there was enough content available to watch on it, this would definitely be a five-star TV.
Panasonic TX-L65WT600 release date: Out now
Panasonic TX-L65WT600 price: £5,499