Overview

I don't expect a great picture from a $300 TV, but it can be better than this. Panasonic's TC-L32C5 is the company's least-expensive 2012 television, and on paper it looks just like the competition's cheap 32-inchers. In person, however, it's just as disappointing as the company's other, more expensive 2012 LCD and LED televisions, and nowhere near as worth recommending as its plasmas.

The picture is hampered by murky shadows and unnatural color that the meager controls can do little to improve. Yes, the TC-L32C5 does cost less than some other major-name 32-inch TVs, but it performs worse than almost all of them, making it a questionable value despite the low price.

Read the full review of the Panasonic TC-L32C5

Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Bezel detail

If you've seen one thick-framed, glossy-black TV, you've seen them all.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Corner detail

Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Corner detail

Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Stand detail

If I had to choose on looks alone I'd pick this Panasonic over the Toshiba 32C120U by virtue of the Panny's squared-off stand base and angled and otherwise unaccented bottom strip, but the two look basically the same. Neither can hang with the Samsung EH4000 in style terms.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Side view

Nope, it's not an LED-backlit model. Move along.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Remote detail

Panasonic's remote is a step up from Toshiba's, however, with better use of spacing, shape, and size to differentiate the keys. I also prefer it to Samsung's packed-in grid, but Samsung's clicker has a trump card nearly unheard-of at this level: full backlighting.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Remote in hand

Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Inputs

You get two HDMI ports, one each component- and composite-video, an RGB-style PC input, and a USB port. That's standard for a cheap TV.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

USB photos and music

This TV's only "extra" is a USB port, allowing the display of JPEG photos and audio files (MP3s and other formats) from attached thumb drives.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Main menu

You don't get many picture settings from this entry-level Panasonic, although the capability to adjust all four picture modes beyond the default settings is a nice plus.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Advanced settings

The TC-L32C5 lacks advanced controls found on a few other entry-level sets we compared it with.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Picture quality

The worst color accuracy we've seen in the entry-level class combines with murky shadow detail to render the TC-L32C5 one of the least palatable cheap TVs we've tested. I did find one or two nice things while watching it, namely OK black levels and uniformity, but those can't overcome its deficits.

Read the full review of the Panasonic TC-L32C5

Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:
Hot Galleries

CNET's Holiday Gift Guide

Tablets that put your TV to shame

Binge-watch your favorite episodes on these portable screens.

Hot Products