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Panasonic TC-60CX800U 4K LCD smart TV review: Great features, smooth motion, but not much contrast

Jon L. Jacobi | Dec. 15, 2015
There's plenty to like about this TV, but it's not the best model on the market.

panasonic 4k ultra hd smart tv 240hz cx800u series

When the TC-60CX800U first came out, it was a pricey $2500. Recently, we’ve seen it selling online for a more realistic $1899. It’s a capable 3D UHD TV with a sharp picture, fine color acuity, and a ton of connectivity features. It also did by far and away the best job of processing 25fps Ultra HD video files of any TV in the roundup—and there’s a lot of 24- and 25fps home video out there. But it lacks contrast compared to the competition. 

The TC-60CX800U is a 59.5-inch smart TV with Ultra HD resolution (3840x2160 pixels) and a 120Hz refresh rate (nevermind the “240 Image Motion” number—it’s not a hardware spec). It weighs in at a manageable 53 pounds, and it comes with an easy to set up stand. You will need a Philips screwdriver, but it’s a mere four-screw operation. 

Each of its three HDMI ports support HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2, so you don’t need to worry about future copy-protected content being playable. There’s also MHL (for mirroring the display of mobile devices), which in Panasonic-speak is part of Viera-link. There are three USB ports: one is USB 3.0 for fast storage and two are USB 2.0 for attaching peripherals. Bluetooth is also on board, but it’s for mice and keyboards only—you can’t use it to connect wireless headphones or speakers.

Video

The way the TC-60CX800U processes video is a joy to behold. All videos, including 25fps h.264 files, were rendered smoothly and evenly. It was the only TV in the roundup that could make that claim, including the LG 65UF9500, which costs quite a bit more. 

But the TC-60CX800U was lacking in contrast compared to its rivals. And, though there were no major issues with screen uniformity (dark or light areas), there were seemingly lots of subtle ones throughout the display. The relative lack in contrast serves to highlight these issues.

panasonic 60 inch 4k ultra hd smart tv 240hz tc 60cx800u 3 
Panasonic’s 59.5-inch TC-60CX800U offer good features and performance, but we like the LG 65UF9500’s picture quality better. Credit: Panasonic

Color was quite nice out of the box, so tweaking wasn’t really necessary. I tried, but never really managed anything better than the defaults. Pumping up the backlight was helpful, but beyond that…

Audio capabilities 

There’s support for HDMI ARC (audio return channel), so you can send audio from the TV to a soundbar or A/V receiver, and there’s an optical S/PDIF output, too. That’s a good thing, because after hearing the internal speakers you’ll immediately want to connect the TC-60CX800U to some type of audio system. The onboard sound is good for TV news, but it’s basically useless for everything else, and no amount of tweaking made a difference.

 

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