I bought a Panasonic TV and it was delivered this afternoon. It’s a Viera SmartTv, model TC-L42E50.
Setting it up between just the cable tv DVR/settop and the TV was a snap with a HDMI cable. The wired Ethernet connection worked without a glitch. That is using the TV’s built in speakers for audio. The audio doesn’t impress but that’s not a surprise – tiny speakers with low power. Without any picture adjustments this TV is already much better than what I was using before. The menu system is nicely done.
The Viera Connect (the Smart TV part) didn’t wow me but I haven’t played with it since the rest of the system needs to be set up properly. The DLNA browser did navigate my minidlna servers but complained that every video file was an unplayable file. Again, that investigation will be delayed. Naturally, I need to buy a couple of HDMI cables for the DVD and Buffalo Link Theater but that was expected too. I appear to have enough of the right kind of cables to connect up my creaky Yamaha RX-N600 for audio duty. I suspect that will be easy too but I could be surprised.
The remote control configuration will be interesting. The TV’s remote is not a universal remote. Good! That keeps my from flailing and failing with it. Other folks might be disappointed by that omission and it is a little odd for a TV with 4 HDMI ports and networking abilities. Clearly the TV is supposed to be the command and control center of the Home Theater and not just some passive monitor hooked up to some smart AV receiver center of the universe although it can be wired that way in which case the lack of universal remote makes sense. Or not.
I’ll have to reprogram my Logitec Harmony remote for the new configuration which is a bit of a pain in the ass with Linux. Something else for the Whine List. I do have Panasonic’s Viera Android app loaded on my modified Nook Tablet and it may have some mind bomb capabilities. Or not.
[Wed, July 18, 2012]
I paid too much for some 3 ft (1M) hdmi cables. Not long enough! I’ll return the one I didn’t open and I’ve ordered a pair of 2M (six footers) for less than the single. Still, I was able to hook up the Buffalo Link Theater HD and it all works well enough. The Buffalo LT can only do 720P and the source material (files stored on the computers) doesn’t come close to 720p levels to start with. No big deal. Known problem.
I’m still very pleased with the picture quality of the HDTV, it just kicks ass compared to that ancient 32 set. I can’t and won’t say whether is the backlit LED or 1080p or better decoding and display circuitry. It’s noticeably better. Sadly, that means the price I might ask for the old TV is declining rapidly. I may even have to give it away. Time to sort out the audio.
Audio went well, but I’ve paved this path before. Hook up the TV’s optical cable to the Yamaha receiver. It Works! TV speakers and Yamaha speakers going at once. Don’t want that because there is noticeable delay. Turning off the TV speakers is easy. Head Banging volume when I want.
I connected the Yamaha component video (its best video output [cheap ass Cecil]) to the Panasonic Viera so I can see the Yamaha menu. That Works too but the Yamaha remote/menus is not something is not for the faint of heart. Can’t blame Panasonic for that.
DLNA? Yes, there are issues. Different behavior compared to the Buffalo LT. That could be my server software (I suspect) . That could be fixable via a small matter of coding. It also doesn’t matter that much. I appear to have hooked up my DVD player to the receiver with component cables. I could futz with the remotes and menus but with an hdmi cable on it’s way, I’d rather not. I might see if the Yamaho net radio works. Might not.
[Thursday, July 26, 2012]
Amazon delievered the HDMI cables on Tuesday. Hook up went fine. The Phillips DVD threw some hissy fits but I don’t really care about it. It works, if by chance I need a DVD player.
I dove into the details (shallow dive, not deep) about why Minidlna and the Viera don’t like that pile of avi and wmv on the server. It’s something of a known problem and I can see hints in the minidlna source code about how to handle it. I don’t that much. Like the DVD player, it’s not that important. Who really wants to crawl down the proprietary rat holes of DLNA? Maybe later.