Panasonic Viera TH-L37D25A review: Panasonic Viera TH-L37D25A

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Typical Price: $1,699.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Decent picture quality. Packed with features. Optional Skype capability. IPTV connectivity.

The Bad Metallic purple? Really?. Blacks are streaky. Pricey.

The Bottom Line The Panasonic Viera TH-L37D25A offers a lot of features and boasts a decent enough picture but we'd only consider it if you desperately need a smaller TV

7.0 Overall

Design

With its 2010 range Panasonic has moved away from the gloss black colour schemes of past years, but the results haven't always been successful. For example, the company's flagship television, the VT20, is an unusual shade of metallic brown, and this particular television is what you might call metallic purple. It's a "love-it-or-hate it" colour, for sure.

The television is thin thanks to some recent technology improvements. And for added convenience, it's mounted on a swivel stand.

The remote control? Well, what do you want to know? It's black. It's oblong. It's easy to operate.

Features

The D25 is the most promising LCD range from Panasonic due to the number of features on offer, but it does attract a significant premium. At AU$1700, The 37-inch offers us a full high-definition screen with 100Hz processing, plus it's illuminated by an LED backlight.

But ... the features!!! You get: USB HDD recording and playback; IPTV content with the sparkling new addition of Plus7; and network streaming. You also get two USB ports to which can be connected to USB disks for media playback, a Wi-Fi dongle or even a Skype cam.

The D25 allows you to plug even more things into it. You get three HDMI ports, a component, three AV inputs, Ethernet, digital out and a PC port.

Panasonic is the only company that lists the "moving resolution" of its panels. And while this is actually very helpful to the consumer, it's not a selling point in this case. Moving resolution is how many lines the screen can display when there's movement on the screen. The TV has an 800-line moving resolution, which is a little shy of 1080, but given the size of the screen we doubt this will be a problem. On the flipside, the company applies some "truthiness" with its claims of a two-million-to-one "dynamic" contrast ratio. You couldn't measure that level of contrast — even with a space telescope. And besides, the Hubble guys are too busy finding aliens before they find us and trash New York. Again.

Performance

Panasonic has been focused on plasma for many years, and LCD has always been its "other white meat". Yet, with the arrival of the D25 the company has seemingly put the smarts of its top-of-the-range plasma into an LCD. A great idea, but has it worked?

We began with our synthetic HQV 2.0 test disc and found that the processing is very similar to other Panasonic TVs. That's to say that it readily displayed both the company's traditional strengths and weaknesses. The TV was particularly good at eradicating the most annoying artefacts — mosquito noise and blockiness — from video sources, can handle most jaggies, and is also able to display scrolling text quite well. It didn't perform as successfully with 24p material showing a tendency for "moiré".

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