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Panasonic Viera TX-L32D28BW review

Riyad Emeran
25 Oct 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
799
inc VAT

The Panasonic Viera TX-L32D28BW’s image quality is the worst of all the TVs we've seen recently and it’s the most expensive 32in TV by a mile. This is one to avoid.

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Specifications

32in, Analogue, Freeview HD, Freesat HD, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: no, 4x HDMI

We've been incredibly impressed with Panasonic's plasma TVs recently, so we were hoping for a lot from its LCD Viera TX-L32D28BW. Sadly, we got the opposite. Not only was the performance of the TX-L32D28BW woeful compared to its plasma-equipped cousins, but the price of this 32in TV is, quite simply, hard to believe.

On paper the TX-L32D28BW looks like a winner. It has an LED backlight behind an IPS LCD panel. Traditionally In Plane Switching (IPS) LCD panels provide wider viewing angles, and reduced contrast shift, both of which would be welcome features in a television. On top of that, the TX-L32D28BW has analogue, Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners, providing outstanding source flexibility. Unfortunately the reality doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the specs.

Straight out of the box it was clear that there would be issues with the TX-L32D28BW when we saw the stand configuration. There’s no height to the stand, so only the bottom bezel separates the screen from the surface that the TV stands on. To counteract the height (or lack of it), the screen is angled backwards slightly, which means that you’re viewing the screen off plane. Of course the IPS panel will help deal with this issue, but ultimately you really want to be viewing a TV as directly as possible.

Panasonic Viera TX-L32D28BW

It’s the picture quality that’s the real culprit here, with standard definition content close to unwatchable. Even good quality Freeview channels like BBC1 simply look terrible on this TV, with almost every ounce of detail lost. It’s literally hard to recognise actors and presenters with their faces looking like a pixelated mess.

You’d hope that it’s a different story with high definition sources, and to a degree it is. HD pictures are at least sharp and watchable, but they’re by no means impressive. Black levels are particularly poor for an LED backlit set, with the streets and rooms in Dark City looking decidedly grey. And despite the lack of true blacks, there’s still significant loss of shadow detail.

Even the colours in Coraline appear washed out and muted, which is quite an achievement, but not in a good way. At the other end of the spectrum, the chase scene in Casino Royale was completely washed out, with pale colours providing no impact. Panasonic might quote a 2,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, but we saw little evidence of such a number in practice.

You can stream media across a network, from a USB storage device, or an SD card. The TX-L32D28BW even supports the latest SDXC format. Unfortunately streamed video doesn’t look any better, with XviD/DivX encoded content exhibiting awful scaling. Also, many of our XviD encoded files would only play for a few seconds before hanging with an incompatible file type message. The VGA PC input is also limited to 1,366x768, although there’s no such limitation over HDMI.

Then there’s the price. The cheapest price we could find for the TX-L32D28BW was £799, making it £180 more expensive than the far superior Samsung LE40C650. And when you consider that Panasonic’s own, Best Buy winning 42in plasma TV is less than £100 more, it’s impossible to recommend its 32in LCD.

Basic Specifications

Rating*

Physical

Viewable size32in
Native resolution1,920x1,080
1080p supportYes
Aspect ratio16:9
HD readyyes
3D capableno
Contrast ratio2,000,000:1 (dynamic)
Speakers2x 10W
Bezel (top/side/bottom)47mm/47mm/76mm
Screen depth77mm
Screen elevation101mm
Stand size (WxD)345x185mm

Connections

DVI inputs0
D-sub inputs1
HDMI inputs4
Component inputs1
SCART2
S-Video input0
Composite inputs1
Audio outputsHeadphone, Stereo phono, Optical digital
OtherEthernet, 2x USB

Tuner

Tuner typeAnalogue, Freeview HD, Freesat HD
EPG8-day, Now and Next

Environmental

Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on90W

Buying Information

Warrantyfive years RTB
Price£799
Supplierhttp://www.digitaldirect.co.uk
Detailswww.panasonic.co.uk

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