Features & VIERA Connect
Before we get to VIERA Connect, it's worthwhile to note Panasonic has spruced up their user interface as well. Gone is the nondescript blue and yellow UI. Instead, we now have an attractive and functional menu system in its place, thanks to the addition of colored icons that makes the text-based interface a little more interesting. The Main Menu features selections such as Picture, Sound, Timer and Setup on the leftmost column. More importantly, it's nice to know Panasonic has taken constructive measures by consolidating all of its display adjustments under the Picture option this time. Previously the settings were divided between Picture and Setup, which caused confusion. Presets wise, the E30S features Cinema and True Cinema modes on top of other selections like Dynamic, Normal, Game and Photo. If you prefer warmer tones, you can give True Cinema a try since it was designed to replicate close to cinema-like quality out of the box. As for video files playback, WMV and MPEG4 files we've tested were rendered without a hitch. However, Panasonic's claim of 1080p MKV hangs in the balance for it stuttered more than it should. On another note, this model's DLNA support is also part of its features arsenal.
Given the recent proliferation of Internet-enabled TVs and Smart TVs, it would be fairly odd if Panasonic has nothing to offer in the same vein. What we have in the E30S is a rejuvenated VIERA Cast platform, now christened as VIERA Connect. Essentially, the home page features eight "windows" for installed apps, but they're currently limited to four pages in all. While the design may be appealing, the interface could have been more effective if the windows were a tad smaller to accommodate more icons. You can download more applets from the VIERA Connect Market although content is still relatively sparse for now. For video streams, there are sites such as YouTube, uStream and WoWTV to leech from, but note that the latter requires a paid subscription. Besides news and weather services from the likes of Associated Press and AccuWeather, social media junkies can also exploit the E30S' Facebook and Twitter widgets. To enjoy these services, however, you'll need to create a Panasonic username to connect to these accounts.