Hailing from Germany, the Metz Primus 42 3D Media Twin R TV is very different to the mainstream Japanese or Korean TVs. The screen is of a modest size: 42 inches, or 106.7cm. Departing from the trend towards thin bezels, this one has wide surrounds: 49mm at the top and bottom, 79mm at the sides. Although, technically, it has no bezel at all in the sense of something standing forward of the picture, thanks to the flat sheet of glass across the front of the panel.
It is also deep at 144mm. And very heavily built.
Your almost-six grand gets you the TV only. The desktop stand is an optional extra, and will cost a considerable AU$649 (a similarly styled floor stand is AU$799). However, you do get a beautifully finished slab of steel, with a short pedestal made of stainless steel tubing that has 6mm walls. At 15.9 kilograms, this alone weighs nearly as much as many a modern 42-inch TV.
You don't get sound with the TV, either. The Primus 42 Sound Module is available as another option for AU$599. This is a separate four speaker, 40-watt sound bar that attaches to the bottom of the TV and fires hi-fi quality sound.
The TV purports to support the Audio Return Channel (we could not get it to work), and also offers optical digital audio output and stereo audio, so you can use an external audio system and skip the optional speakers. But, if you use your own audio system, you will need a wall mount, because the speaker module is required in order to use either the desktop or floor stand.
Is that not different enough? This is a full twin tuner TV, something we haven't seen for some years. The two HD digital tuners allow a proper picture-in-picture function. Rhe TV can also record.
The Metz also offers 3D. It uses the passive system, and you get two pairs of RealD-branded 3D glasses. These weigh 24 grams, seeming a bit more sturdy and smoothly built than most. Rather than the usual flat lenses, these have gently curved ones.
Out of the box, the TV was tuned to a bunch of TV stations which are not in Canberra, Sydney or Melbourne. Because of that, and because there was no apparent auto-setup wizard, we had to delve immediately into the TV's menus. Tuning the stations was easy enough, but these were added to the existing ones in numbered program slots, rather than being assigned the usual default numbers. If you're used to dialling up digital stations by number, be prepared to re-learn.
We figured that with the TV being so deep, it would use a panel with a LED backlight array, but it soon became evident that the panel uses Edge LED lighting. In a dark room, there was a gentle mottling effect of the blacks, especially near the screen corners, and it did not go as dark as we had hoped.
It was a pleasure to install a brand new TV set and not have to turn down the Sharpness control, which was on the perfect setting. Though, we did change the aspect ratio for Blu-ray inputs from the default 16:9 to Original Resolution to eliminate overscan.
The 3D performance was similar in most respects to what it normally available from passive 3D TVs, with zero leakage of blacks from one eye through whites in the other, and a low level the other way around. The low level was around 10 per cent to 15 per cent, a little more than normal. On our test patterns, there was a little colour shift from dark greys towards blue, which may be due to the curved lenses of the eyewear (this is often an artefact of the light not being perfectly perpendicular to the lens). The handling of static, flat images in 3D mode is a bit less well developed than in up-to-date LG and Panasonic passive 3D TVs. They detect this state and produce full resolution when viewed without glasses. This TV misses this step, so it leaves visible jaggies, even while not wearing glasses.
Nonetheless, the 3D was impressively deep and almost entirely clear of any sense of ghosting.
The TV offers media play from USB (there are two USB sockets) and from network sources using DLNA protocols. There is no Wi-Fi, so you'll need to plug in an Ethernet cable.
It would not play WMA lossless, nor WAV or FLAC, but it did like WMA and MP3. JPEG photos were supported, as were MPEG2 video, but it wouldn't play a DivX or AVI file that we use to test all TVs.
The TV has a 750GB hard disk built in drive, so you can time shift and record TV stations and set up the usual kinds of recording schedules. You can only record one station at a time, but you can watch and pauce a different one while another is recording. This, obviously, is a very rare feature.
The Metz Primus 42 3D Media Twin R TV is very nice, if expensive. It is for the person who wants a touch of European style, and probably works best if, at the least, the sound module is also purchased.
Be prepared to do some study to get the best out of this TV. Or, indeed, to make it do what you want it to. It has a daunting nested setup menu, with idiosyncratic controls. You will probably need to read the 140 page operating instructions manual end to end, followed by the supplementary instruction manual for 3D, the other one for the PVR and the fourth one for the Media System. And even then, you might be left, like us, unable to find any mention of the Audio Return Channel and how to make it work.