-Screen Quality that rivals Samsung
-Excellent App Support
-Excellent Smart Phone Support
-No built-in QWERTY Keyboard on the Remote Control
-Terrible on-screen typing
-Interrupts in Netflix Streaming
-Disconnects with Smart Phones when content sharing (Photos or Video)
This was purchased through Costco two weeks ago for $750 ($50 Off) and it's my first HDTV. I've been fortunate to experience a 55" Samsung Smart TV and a 60" Sharp Aquos from my Father's setup, and I was biased to Samsung's superior screen quality. When I started my search, I read through Consumer Reports Articles, Newegg, and Amazon reviews, but ended up with this Panasonic Viera.
First, I spent an hour watching content side-by-side comparing the Panasonic Viera TC-50LE64 with the Samsung 46" Smart TV UN46F6350A ($800), and the Panasonic has the same screen quality. Second, the Apps that I wanted from the Samsung were already on the Viera (Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Vudu, and YouTube). Netflix Streaming has been very impressive for HD Content and surround sound on my 5.1 Logitech Z-5500. Third, the most important feature was content sharing from Smart Phones, specifically from the Samsung Galaxy SIII that my wife and I have. The SIII and Viera detected each other with ease and I have been able to view Picture Slideshows and Videos in HD.
Remote Control - At my work, we use 60" Vizio E-Series TVs for System Monitoring, and Vizio was smart with integrating QWERTY on the backside of the remote control. For the Viera, each App will have different ways for on-screen input (since they are not uniform, I find this cumbersome for input). I plan to try the IOGEAR GKM681R 2.4GHz Wireless Compact Keyboard, which has been compatible with some of the older Panasonic models.
Netflix - I've watched about 20 different movies and several TV shows and about 1-in-5 will buffer and then fail to load (I'll try to post pictures and video). My career as a Network/System Administrator makes my home setup very particular, so I have the Viera on the 5 GHz Band instead of 2.4 GHz due to congestion from neighboring Wi-Fi. I have a TrendNet with OpenWRT that is about 20' away going through two uninsulated walls. I regularly use inSSIDer to check for Wi-Fi Interference and I'm the only Wi-Fi on 5 GHz. Turning the TV Off/On hasn't made a difference and using 2.4 GHz produced the same results.
Content Sharing - when viewing a picture or video, a special icon appears to initiate the connection to the Viera. On a few occasions, the feature would work and then lose connectivity or the icon to connect would disappear. Power cycling the TV or Wi-Fi AP, as well as reboot on the phone, wouldn't fix the issue. Eventually, the feature would just start functioning again.
(1) Netflix App may have a bug or Netflix is have server issues
(2) The radios for the 5 GHz Band may be failing, but I'm not convinced that's the case because my Macbook Pro and SIII remain connected on 5 GHz when the issue occurs.
(3) During one instance, when I had the Viera scan for Wi-Fi, it did not produce any results. Fortunately, the Wi-Fi module is exposed on the back of the TV and easy to access, so there's a possibility of a Panasonic repair to come out and replace the module or send a replacement.
(4) For Content Sharing, it could be a Networking issue (need to check my Router) or a bug that could be fixed with newer firmware on the Viera or updates on the SIII.
When I get time, I'm going to check with Panasonic's Support. I'll continue to monitor the Netflix and Content Sharing issues and add more feedback, but so far 1-star off for minor inconveniences.
[Update August 18, 2013]
I discovered that Content Sharing pictures and video on the MicroSD card occasionally has trouble being streamed to the TV. I'm not sure if this is a bug with my SIII or Panasonic. Could still be related to Network issues, but I've check my Mikrotik and used the Packet Sniffing tool. Everything seems fine there, but I have a TrendNET AP that I have to check.
I tried a firmware update for the TV, but the problem with Netflix still persists, but with less frequency. In some instances, I can jump to another movie without problems, but other times I have to shutdown the App and then it resumes on restart.
I added my Amazon Prime account for Amazon Instant Video App. The user interface is not as nice as the Netflix App, but I'm not sure if it differs across different TVs. I have encountered similar issues where the streaming gets interrupted. Again, it would be a Wi-Fi issue.