The set does support network integration though, either by LAN port or Wi-Fi, and you can use this to either stream content from networked, DLNA-capable devices or explore Panasonics online content platform. This means the 32AS500 doesnt carry the Freetime catch up, TV Anywhere and MyStream smart features that so illuminate Panasonics 2014 smart TV offering. Theres even an interactive spoken-word guide to getting the most from the My Home Screen interface that proves genuinely useful despite the narration appearing to come from Metal Mickeys more monotone sister apologies for the dated cultural reference, but its actually quite appropriate considering how dated such a narration sounds.If you want to get the best from the 32AS500s picture quality which surely you do, right! there are plenty of use tools in its picture set up options worth exploring.One thing you dont get, though, is any 3D support.
Not having Freetime means youre very restricted in terms of catch-up TV support on the 32AS500; theres only the BBC iPlayer where terrestrial TV channels are concerned in fact, and theres no Amazon streaming app to accompany the provided Netflix one. But then weve often said we dont really think 3D has any place on a TV as small as 32 inches anyway, unless youre some kind of die-hard 3D gaming nut. But then this is one of the reasons why the 32AS500 costs 300 vs the 32AS600s 400. It bolsters its potential value appeal more by offering Smart TV functionality and a sharp design.
The 32AS500s picture tech is built on an LED-lit LCD panel with, slightly disappointingly, an HD Ready 1366×768 resolution rather than a full HD 1920×1080 pixel count. We have seen HD Ready TVs deliver very sharp pictures, though, so we wont get too caught up on this resolution point at this stage.SEE ALSO: New TV Buying GuideIts important to stress, though, that the 32AS500s smart features are built around 2013s My Home Screen system, not the new one found in the AS600 series upwards.The rear panel is disappointing, though, on account of it only bearing two HDMIs rather than three and only one USB rather than two.
Panasonic TX-32AS500: Design and FeaturesThe 32AS500s bezel is startlingly slim by cheap telly standards, yet its build quality avoids the typical budget TV flimsiness. This provides a series of different themed content hubs out of the box, but also lets you and other family members set up other personalised hubs. Other highlights on a more basic level include standard and MPEG noise reduction systems, a simple on/off adaptive backlight control, and a series of picture presets.
Inside the 32AS500 is a Freeview HD tuner allowing you to access the likes of BBC HD not always a given at this price level while motion reproduction should benefit from a 100Hz Backlight Blinking engine. If you really know what youre doing there are white balance, colour management and gamma adjustments impressive at the 300 price point.Finding smart features on a 300 32-inch TV from a big-name brand is good, especially when the interface for these features is as great as the 32AS500s My Home Screen system. This is easy to do and is well worth the effort, as youre much more likely to engage regularly with the TVs smart features once theyre organised to suit your personal priorities.
SEE ALSO: Best Value TV 2014: Which cheap TV should you buyPanasonic TX-32AS500: Set UpThe 32AS500s initial set up routines are good, with simple explanations and helpful graphics.At just 300, the Panasonic 32AS500 is remarkably cheap for a 32-inch TV from Panasonic, showing how hard the brand is working to expand its LCD offering following the demise of its plasma division. Meanwhile the gently curved corners, glossy black finish, slightly protruding bottom edge and, especially, open-frame stand design add up to a very crisp-looking little telly. Wed suggest keeping all the noise reduction systems turned off while watching HD, and that you keep the Adaptive Backlight system turned off all the time for reasons discussed in the picture performance section.
Wed also get the backlight down to around its 50 level or even a bit less when watching films in darkened rooms to try and improve the screens black level response. But as we indicated before, any sort of smart support for 300 is a bonus, really.