Video on demand is better on the Samsung — more services and more IPTV ‘channels’ to choose from. Panasonic’s recent VIERA Connect update brings more services like ABC iView but for Web video buffs the Samsung is the smarter choice.
Apps again are more diverse and a better experience on the Samsung. The Samsung Smart TV app interface, with its simple grid layout, is better than the slightly basic interface of the Panasonic, which also has fewer apps. Panasonic’s VIERA Market is still good, but not as extensive as Samsung’s store.
Wi-Fi is built-in on the Samsung D8000 and comes as a bundled USB adapter on the Panasonic. If you’re not going to be using Wi-Fi it’s not a big deal, but if you are it’s relevant to note that you’ll only have two free USB ports on the Panasonic once the Wi-Fi adapter is plugged in, rather than three.
Connectivity and ports is a near identical comparison between the two. Four 3D-capable HDMI ports, VGA, and other analog connectors take care of video. Samsung uses break-out cables for its component and composite video inputs which might annoy an installer hanging the TV on a slim wall-mount. Panasonic wins with three USB 2.0 ports inbuilt compared to Panasonic’s two.
Thinness The Samsung clearly wins here: it’s a thinner television all over. Most plasma TVs do need to be a set distance from the wall for air circulation reasons, so don’t be fooled into thinking that the Samsung will be a super-svelte wall panel where the Panasonic won’t. The bezel is also less thick on the Samsung, which makes the TV screen look larger than it is (comparatively).
Fashion is the Samsung’s strong suit — thin bezel, brushed aluminium, thin design. Panasonic’s VT30 is much more attractive than last year’s VT20 model, but still doesn’t look quite as modern or enticing as Samsung’s panel. The Samsung Series 8 D8000’s four-pronged stand is very impressive.
Accessories are better on the Samsung, which has a nifty QWERTY remote control keypad on the back of its already-stylish candybar remote control. There’s nothing wrong with the Panasonic remote control, it just looks pedestrian when next to the Samsung’s. Each television comes with a single set of 3D glasses.