TV & Home Cinema

By January 22, 2016 Read More →

Panasonic Viera TX 50CX802B review #VieraVIPclub

downloadLast year we saw Panasonic putting out a pretty fantastic Viera television set the really blew  away the competition with a feature set that included some of the nicest looking Smart TV software experiences available at the time. This year Panasonic have changed their focus away from pushing a software feature set in favour of display technology where their heart really lies.

A new super bright LED panel featuring wide colour phosphor technology which combines LED back lighting with a new colour filter system has increased brightness significantly without increasing the power requirements. This keeps the television as a low power option whilst maintaining a fantastic picture quality. This year’s 4K set has proved to be better than we could have imagined featuring crisp Blu-ray images on the panel’s generous 8.3 million pixels.

Some folks may pass this by as it is an LCD screen, nowadays most are all about LED. Panasonic is managed to produce a picture from an LCD screen that truly resembles in many ways the picture they managed to get from the plasma technologies that they so dearly clung onto for the last few years. It is a crazy notion that a company uses older technologies to achieve the best however Panasonic are certainly getting close.

Major work has been done to avoid the glow effect LCD TV’s sometimes suffer from when trying to show black, Panasonic has spent a lot of R&D time eliminating this glow effect and delivered a sense of depth and realism in the brighter content, the likes of which we haven’t seen before. Utilising clever light management Panasonic have been able to deliver deep blacks and can seemingly crush the bleed that can come from the side of the pixel affecting the next pixel. Each individual pixel seems to be able to offer its own degree of colour without affecting those surrounding it. An impressive technological feat that will probably be lost on the average viewer.

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The Tom Cruise movie Oblivion is widely considered to be one of the best test cases for a screen and Panasonic have no qualms about showing off this movie on one of their screens. This is primarily because the television can handle it easily, and if I can handle that movie I can handle any.

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The television itself is gorgeous with a minimal bezel surrounding the 50 inch screen. The stylish stand, admittedly that some may find impractical, possesses 3 HDMI sockets, 3 USB ports and an SD card slot alongside integrated Wi-Fi and wired network options. Changing from their in-house software the television now features Firefox OS as it’s main operating system. This has may concern some as recent news suggests that Firefox OS has become “a genuine open source project” and has been discontinued for smartphones. No word on the future of the television variant, and I hope that there is no plans to stop development as this it really works well. Minimal without being threadbare yet packing a lot of features that most TV manufacturers can’t manage to find a logical way to integrate without clustering of the user interface.

Functionality of this television is deeply impressive. We are given the option to simply be able to add frequently used features of the television to the main screen. I’m not talking about just a channel that is loved but a shortcut to your HDMI 3 instead of having to cycle through the TV/AV option on the remote control several times to get to HDMI 3. The helps greatly when wanting to use a Playstation or something a little more custom.

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As a cord cutter I was skeptical of the television’s ability as a smart TV to function without an aerial or satellite feed. Firefox OS has an app collection that covers the main basis of television viewing whilst not stretching the boundaries. This was to be expected given the infancy of the operating system. Whilst most people will probably not actually use the TV’s inbuilt  smart technology favouring Amazon’s Fire TV, Roku, Android TV options for their streaming needs there are some who will find the television’s operating system’s life span a concern as apps may not be supported for the long. For now, all is fine and like any emerging platform, only time will tell.

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Panasonic are one of the first manufacturers to include a Freeview Play app. This app opens up the ability to view live television from all of the main UK terrestrial broadcasting platforms and integrate with their catch up platforms in a seamless experience to make up to the last month’s programming available at any time.

Adding to the Freeview Play option comes the Market. A diverse collection of content delivering apps that vary in quality however the main contenders are there. Wuaki, Youtube, Amazon, Vimeo and Netflix lead the way with around 100 others to flirt with. Catch up options are all pre-installed  and might only need an update before use. Honestly, Firefox OS is beautifully convenient for a TV operating system, it’s hard to get right, Amazon and Roku’s hardware could learn a lot from this simple setup. In testing the 4K however I found there to be a bit of a scarcity of material. YouTube, Vimeo and Amazon are the only apps that deliver 4K out of the box. Netflix have some however I would have to change my subscription for gain access, as a legacy subscriber I get the HD for £5.99 instead of £6.99, to get 4K this would have to change to £8.99.

However judging a television cannot solely be based on the smart technologies inside. Many users never touch TVs in built operating system outside of setting the TV up. The Panasonic Viera is a display first and foremost and a phenomenal one at that. This is a television that people will stand in awe looking at and when you tell them how much you paid for it they will be considering going to the same retailer as you and picking one up.

Panasonic have lost the IPS technology they used in last year’s model and we’ve actually seen a bit of a u-turn on the viewing angle however this allows for a more impressive contrast performance.This helps Panasonic achieve the 4K Studio Master process they’re very proud of. Panasonic are hoping to deliver a similar experience to that directors see when editing their movies in Hollywood, on the master screens. Whilst most will probably not be able to tell the difference they’re taking it almost as a personal goal for the company to create the best-looking colour representation on screen this year.

If there is anything negative to say about the television is that the 3D included really feels like unnecessary addition that they don’t really expect you to use. Case and point, there are no glasses included in the box. Unfortunately I was unable to test the 3D without glasses and  whilst content providers and exactly pushing 3D as much as they had been it’s likely someone who is actively going to purchase this television will have some 3D movies on amongst  a media collection. Plan ahead, know where to get glasses.

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Many will complain that they have too many remote controls in their living room, this Panasonic Viera will add two more. Oddly they both do pretty much the same thing. One controller is a standard long candy bar with the typical functions you would expect to find on a TV remote control save for a few shortcut buttons added in for convenience such as Netflix.

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The second controller is the more interesting of the two. Much like last year Panasonic have be working on touch and voice controls. Lacking backlit buttons and a somewhat slippery exterior this little controller was more difficult to use than it’s bigger brother and be completely honest somewhat unnecessary as the touch controls felt a little unnatural. Certainly it is great to show off and voice control on your television is a wonderful addition especially when done right as with Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku however Panasonic haven’t quite nail this yet.

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On the most cutting-edge television sound really isn’t taken seriously. The speakers here perform quite well however having the screen technology that is on display only makes sense that you plug-in a suitable system rather than relying on the inbuilt rear facing speakers. It seems a little crazy that it’s a given that people will purchase a surround sound system to go along with a television and the Panasonic Viera is no exception to this rule. If you want the most you will have to add something to it. The volume can go reasonably high and it renders voice is quite well. There was no noticeable disruption during noisy sequences however it just lacked that the immersive quality.

This TV is currently priced at £1,300 in Currys. Given that 4K TV’s can cost roughly doubt that this seems like an absolute bargain and if you purchase one you will be deeply pleased with your choice. Panasonic Viera maybe arguably slightly inferior to some of Samsung’s top offerings right now however Panasonic have a loyal customer base and those who are upgrading to this will be deeply impressed and thoroughly satisfied. Those who are not should really consider just why the loyal customers keep coming back to Panasonic.

 For more information and demonstrations please check out:

 http://www.panasonic.com/uk/consumer/viera-televisions/led/tx-50cx802b.html

 

 

 

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By January 17, 2016 Read More →

Qumi Q6 HD Pocket Projector Unboxing

vlcsnap-error179Vivitek have sent over their Q6 variant of the Qumi HD Pocket Projector. This is a modestly priced HD Projector designed to be thrown in your bag, pulled out at a moments notice and deliver a HD display on a wall or screen with minimal fuss.

From the initial impressions, it’s pretty awesome. Whilst not the smallest projector we have seen over the years the picture quality is up there with the best of them delivering a range of smart looking and heavily spec’d devices to meet most scenarios.

The Q6 is the pick of the crop as it features:

WXGA (1280 x 800) HD720p
800 ANSI Lumens
C.R.: 30,000:1
T.R.: 1.55:1
0.475 kg

 

The Q6 also braggs a stylist compact design that whilst not exactly pocket-able does manage to be lightweight and very easily transportable. 4GB of internal memory allows for a little bit of content without having to resort to the USB or HDMI in every time. Speaking of, there are actually two HDMI ports, one of which supports MHL for streaming video from a compatible smartphone or tablet. The Wi-Fi connectivity helps the EZ Media and EZCast Pro operate. A Connect to PC is available however this requires an uncommon USB Type A-to-USB Type A cable and there is not one provided, unfortunately.

The Qumi Q6 HD Pocket Projector can be purchase from various retailers, and there is a list of recommended sources on Vivitek’s website. Prices vary however Projectorshop24.co.uk list the Q6 at £688.80 +£8.99 shipping

http://www.vivitek.eu/Category/Pocket-Personal-Projectors/150/Qumi-Q6-

Also included in the video is the Vivitek Portable Battery Back Up Battery. This is a large 18,000mAh capacity battery and delivers 1.8 to 4.5 hours of use (lumens vary). There are various outputs including a DC 16v to 20v, DC 9v to 12v and a USB output to charge phones etc as well as a 19v input. Prices seem to settle around £120.

By December 15, 2015 Read More →

Win a new Panasonic Sound Bar worth £160

20138_SC-HTB485_angleTo champion the latest Viera TV range, we’ve teamed up with Panasonic to offer one lucky reader a brand new Panasonic Sound Bar worth xx. You’ll be able to enjoy watching your TV with the highest quality of sound.

Panasonic Viera TVs, which I got to see in IFA, Berlin, as part of the Viera VIP Club, produce stunning images and are packed with ‘4K Pro’ technology, allowing you to view TV in remarkable quality.

Many Viera TVs from this year’s line up now feature 4K pro technology as standard. 4K allows content to be viewed in four times as many pixels as Full-HD content. They have a shiny new Mozilla-powered user interface which allows navigating around so much easier. Not only that, but the new range is the first to host Freeview Play. This service allows the viewer to stream Freeview programmes from the internet which you may have missed using the familiar TV guide rewind facility.

The Panasonic SC-HTB485EBK Sound Bar is a 2.1-channel high-quality sound system which produces a rich sound field and crisp, clear dialogue. It comes with a wireless subwoofer and its Music Sound Mode optimises music listening. Without taking up too much space, you can enjoy movies, TV and music videos with lifelike acoustic ambiance and the clearest of sounds. 

To be in with a chance of winning a Panasonic Sound Bar, just answer the following question.

As usual we are going to make this very easy for you.

To enter, all you have to do is follow tracyandmatt on Twitter and retweet the following tweet: “RT I want to win a new Panasonic Sound Bar from @tracyandmatt and @PanasonicUK – You could too: http://wp.me/p3WUB6-fwL #vieravipclub” You can also click the retweet link below to save you copying and pasting the phrase. Your twitter name will be entered in to the draw.

 

RETWEET ME!

Your twitter name will be entered in to the draw. You’ll have to keep following us as we’ll notify winners via DM. 

Entry is open until midnight on the 28th December 2015 and the winner will be picked on the 3rd January. Will that be a lucky day for you?

We’ll contact the winner via twitter so make sure that you are still following us!

Good luck.

Click here to find out more about the Panasonic Viera TV range.

 

Terms & Conditions for [insert blog/website name]/Panasonic Competition

1. The promoter is: Tracy And Matt Ltd

2. Tracyandmatt.co.uk contributors, Panasonic and their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition including helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition. The competition is only open to residents of the UK and Republic of Ireland (ROI), aged 18 years or over.

3. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.

4. Route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are via http://wp.me/p3WUB6-fwL

5. Closing date for entry is 28/12/15. After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted. Only one entry may be submitted per participant. Multiple entries will not be considered. Incomplete incorrect or otherwise invalid entries will not be considered. The Promoter reserves the right to verify the eligibility of all participants. 6. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.

7. The prize for each winner are as follows: one Panasonic SC-HTB485EBK Sound Bar

8. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice and for any reason. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.

10. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and the promotor reserves the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.

11. Winners will be drawn at random by Tracyandmatt from all valid entries received

12. The winner will be notified by email and/or letter within 28 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, the promotor reserves the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.

13. The winner consents to their name, postal address and mobile contact number to be passed on to Panasonic in order to fulfil the prize.

14. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.15. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

16. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.

17. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.

 

By October 25, 2015 Read More →

Whats new on Netflix 19-25th October

TWoNFLets take a look and see what has arrived on Netflix over the last week in the UK.

By October 25, 2015 Read More →

Whats new on Amazon Prime 19-25th October

Lets take a look and see what has arrived on Amazon Prime over the last week in the UK.TWoAP 4x5

By October 5, 2015 Read More →

Whats new on Netflix and Amazon Prime 28th Sept – 4 Oct?

TWoAP 4x5Gareth takes a light-hearted look at what new TV shows, movies and documentaries debuted over the last week on both Netflix and Amazon Prime. 

By September 27, 2015 Read More →

Whats new on Netflix and Amazon Prime?

vlcsnap-error237Here is a look at what debuted on both Netflix and Amazon Prime over the last week. Short simple and to the point, just the way we like it.

 

By September 17, 2015 Read More →

Amazon announces new Fire TV has 4K Ultra HD

downloadAmazon have given their Fire TV set-top box an overhaul, led by one feature missing from the recently added to a new Apple device: 4K. The new Fire TV adds support for 4K Ultra HD videos, letting you watch movies and TV shows at four times the resolution of 1080p video. And Fire TV owners will have plenty of 4K content to watch: All of Amazon’s original programming is offered in 4K and the Fire TV interface highlights movies available in 4K for your viewing pleasure. Amazon says it’s working on adding support for 4K streaming with Netflix content to Fire TV. Whilst the Fire TV looks the same on the outside, it’s entirely different on the inside. It features a quad-core 2.0 Ghz MediaTek CPU, a dedicated PowerVR GX6250 GPU, and 2GB of RAM under the hood. It connects to the internet through either an ethernet port or 802.11ac wireless. Unfortunately the unit retains the 8GB of internal storage however the annoyance is diluted a little by a the new microSD card slot or via a USB drive connected to its USB port. It has an HDMI port and still includes an optical audio port. The new Fire TV will retain the £79.99 price tag and can be pre-ordered now.

The new Fire TV comes with a new revised voice remote that no longer uses Bluetooth, but instead connects via WiFi direct which reduces latency and greatly improves battery life. There is also a new, much improved Fire TV Game Controller available separately for £39.99 which also uses WiFi direct for improved latency and battery life. The new game controller now features a microphone for voice commands and a headphone jack for private listening. Stateside there was an announcement of a Fire TV Gaming Bundle for $139.99 however this does not seem to be available on the UK site, perhaps an oversight. Amazon added voice-powered search in the first generation, this time around it is been expanded to app launching, navigation, and searches relating to a particular context like “New movies.” 

Advanced features, not including the 4K, will roll out to the older model in due time.

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
By September 12, 2015 Read More →

Panasonic go Curved for OLED #VieraVIPClub

P1020281For the last number of years televisions have been getting smarter and more technology has been added in to make a more attractive option for the consumer. Seen as something of a giant smartphone we have seen 3D displays, cameras and Skype integration, planners, social media taking a central position of the specifications list. Panasonic have been trying to keep up with the competition but developing a user friendly front end with an app system for their Viera range. This year it’s all change.

In a commendable effort Panasonic are focusing their expertise on picture quality and leaving other bells and whistles to 3rd parties. Announcing two Viera televisions at IFA 2015 in Berlin this year Panasonic are pushing to be second to none when it comes to image quality. A position they are easily going to achieve.

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Roving around the competitions at IFA it seems a lot of the other companies are interesting in two things, 98” behemoths or degrading the quality of the previous model to make their new line look all the more impressive, some companies more obviously than others. Panasonic opted to hang their latest panel beside a top end master screen used by Hollywood professionals for precise colour representation. A … move however an impressive one as the screen holds up to the superior picture of the master screen and help illustrate just how close you can get to an uber expensive professional master screen for the living room.

Leaving the smart end of the TV’s front end to Mozilla and their delicious Firefox OS Panasonic have put all of their efforts into the screen technology and getting the most out of the panel. The result is a mesmerizing curved OLED 4K Pro display dubbed CZ950. This is a real step forward for Panasonic having moved away from the Plasma and into the OLED field. Working with veteran Hollywood colourist Mike Sowa Panasonic are confident they have gotten their palette as close to the director original intention as a display can.

hiding inside the beautiful panel chassis is the magic processor that makes it all possible, the 4K Studio Master Pro processor. This is the mastermind behind the picture representation on the panel. Combined with the tuning from Hollywood experts the panel to creates the best picture quality and colour palette.

OLED creates an amazing black level due to the lack of a back light. Each Organic pixel LED light up on it’s own allowing the processor to control each and every pixel leading to unparalleled colour reproduction. This is the first 4K television to have the THX 4K certification, meaing the boffin’s at George Lucas’s THX labs have applied over 600 tests for colour accuracy and the panel has passed. 

To compliment the panel’s success Panasonic have gone the extra mile and designed a television that is beautiful when turned off. The rear of the panel is draped in a luxurious suede-like material called Alcantara. Additionally the screen is a mere few millimeters thick.

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Panasonic Viera TX-65CZ950V is a sight to behold, combining amazing picture quality, stylish looks and a massive picture in a small footprint this is the high end TV people have been looking for an certainly deserves a place at the top of the league. We will see this in store on October in the UK with RRP of £7,999.

By August 11, 2015 Read More →

Panasonic Viera range gets some big additions #VieraVIPClub

Screenshot 2015-08-11 at 10.09.52This year at the giant tech show IFA in Berlin Panasonic are going to be announcing something a little special. Having spent some time restructuring their approach to televisions and making it all about picture quality Panasonic are going to be upping the ante and pushing to achieve that which we all desire from a television, best picture quality. 

Rather than fussing with developing new software for the panels, Panasonic are bringing in a couple of specialised solutions to enhance the television experience. The software side is going to become a great deal more interesting.

The first major addition is the inclusion of Freeview Play. This updated viewing platform is taking Freeview to the next level. Making TV content available after live play in the electronic programme guide. Providing a catchup service without having to access separate applications, Freeview Play collates content on the channels you want in the same place. There will be a big role out of Freeview Play in the near future and Panasonic will be ahead of the rest as the first manufacturer to incorporate the service into a television.

The second exciting development is the move to Mozilla for the interface of the television. Gone are the clunky app selections and possible incompatibilities. In  comes the fresh, new Firefox OS, designed specifically to simplify experience and become personalised to your exact needs with minimal fuss of knowledge.

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We will be covering the announcements live from Berlin so check back for news of Panasonic’s new screen they will be debuting along with a couple of other surprises. We will have hands on with Firefox OS on the TV alongside release dates and pricing.

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
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