Panasonic TC-LX1 series overview

All of a sudden electronics store shelves seem flooded by iPod-friendly HDTVs. OK, not exactly flooded, but at least two contenders are busily competing to be the place where your precious 'Pod or 'Phone nestles nightly, charging and serving up yummy music and videos onto a much bigger screen than iTunes or your favorite video conversion software ever intended. The Panasonic TC-LX1 wasn't quite as friendly as the JVC LT-P300 we tested earlier, on account of its inability to display 'Pod-based digital photos or adjust aspect ratio for videos, but it's still mighty convenient. The JVC also delivered slightly better HDTV picture quality, but the Panasonic is less expensive at comparable screen sizes.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Panasonic TC-LX1 series back panel inputs

Back-panel connectivity on the Panasonic includes two HDMI, one component video, and one PC, in addition to the iPod dock connector.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Panasonic TC-LX1 series side panel inputs

The side panel offers one HDMI, one AV input, and an SD card slot.
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Panasonic TC-LX1 series iPod dock

While a bit less convenient than a built-in version, the external iPod dock still gets the job done.
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Panasonic TC-LX1 series iPod dock

The dock can fit numerous iPod models and is even compatible with the iPhone.
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Panasonic TC-LX1 series video playback

Video playback can also be expanded to fill the screen, but you cannot change aspect ratio.
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Panasonic TC-LX1 series Podcasts menu

Podcasts merit video and audio categories, and we appreciated the ability to page up and down long lists of titles.
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Panasonic TC-LX1 series music categories

A variety of music categories are available, and shuffle and repeat options are available for all of them.
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Panasonic TC-LX1 series main menu

Panasonic's TV menu offers only basic control over the picture.
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Panasonic TC-LX1 series picture quality

Overall the Panasonic is a perfectly adequate HDTV in terms of picture quality, but it won't wow home theater fans seeking deep black levels--one reason, along with off-angle performance, why we consider the JVC a better performer. The Panasonic delivered slightly more accurate color, however.
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Panasonic TC-LX1 series remote control

The remote is dominated by a trio of keys--Viera Link, Viera Tools, and SD Card--that arc above the central cursor control. Aside from Viera Tools for iPod access (we'd prefer a dedicated "iPod" button, but no dice), each of the three provides direct access to functions we'll warrant most users won't access frequently, and the important-yet-tiny Menu key takes a secondary spot near the top of the clicker. We like the feel of the keys, and appreciate the size, color, and shape differentiation that helps us forget that none of the buttons are illuminated. The remote cannot control other devices via infrared (IR) commands, but it does allow some control of compatible HDMI devices connected to the TV via Viera Link (aka HDMI-CEC).
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Panasonic TC-LX1 series side view

From the side the TC-LX1 series is typical for a smaller LCD, and the stand doesn't allow any swivel action.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Panasonic TC-LX1 series--iPod compatibility chart

Although the iPhone isn't officially supported according to the user manual (from where this chart originates), in our tests it worked fine with the Panasonic TV.
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Photo by: Panasonic / Caption by:
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