With Pioneer now out of the market, Panasonic is arguably the king of the plasma screen. Luckily, Panasonic understands that not everyone wants a monumental telly, so it also produces a broad range of LCD displays. The 32-inch Viera TX-L32G20B, priced at around £650, sits in the middle of Panasonic's current line-up of LCD screens, packing plenty of features.
Touch on the portly side
Like most of Panasonic's mid-range TVs, the TX-L32G20B isn't exactly what you'd call a 'looker'. At 86mm deep, it's quite thick. To make matters worse, Panasonic has lumped it with a bulbous, glossy black surround. The design is given a slight facelift by the bluish tinge that runs across the bottom of the frame, but even this doesn't add much in the way of wow-factor.
The company certainly hasn't skimped on the set's range of connections. Around the back, there are three HDMI ports, with another conveniently side-mounted for connecting camcorders and games consoles. There are two Scart ports along with a set of component inputs, a VGA port and an optical-digital output, so you can feed the audio from the on-board tuners to a surround-sound system. Conveniently, the set has both a Freeview HD and freesat HD tuner, which means you should be able to watch high-definition broadcasts no matter where you live in the UK.
It's no slouch when it comes to digital media, either. There's an SD card slot on the side, two USB ports and an Ethernet socket for hooking the TV up to your broadband connection (there's an optional USB Wi-Fi dongle available if you prefer to go wireless). The USB ports can also be used to record video to a select range of hard drives, but none of the drives we tried were compatible.
Colour my world
The TX-L32G20B totes a 1080p IPS Alpha panel, which benefits from a wider viewing angle than many other LCD screens. This is certainly noticeable if you're sitting off-centre of the screen -- the colours and contrast remain steady rather than washing out or appearing overly dark, as they do on sets with poorer viewing angles. In fact, the set delivers impressively rich colours no matter what angle you view it from.