Not so long ago, Panasonic was telling us all that plasma was the future and we'd do well to remember that. The problem for Panny is that as good as plasma is for , it's utterly hopeless for smaller screens. As the most popular screen sizes these days hover around the 32- and 37-inch marks, this year Panasonic is putting more effort than ever into its LCD range -- it would be crazy for the company to ignore it.
In the past, we've always been impressed with Panasonic LCD TVs -- they produce a great picture and decent sound but don't make much of a fuss about it with crazy aesthetic statements. The new Viera TX-37LZD800 looks really very smart indeed, though -- we'd go as far as to say it looks as good as Panny's plasma range.
There's also some pretty smart technology knocking around inside these TVs too. The LZD800 has an IPS Alpha panel, which offers a very wide viewing angle, up to 178 degrees in fact. We watched a demonstration of this at the TV launch, and it was actually pretty impressive. The LCD panel in the LZD800 also offers a contrast ratio of 10,000:1 and Panasonic's 'clear panel' tech is supposed to help produce fantastically sharp images.
There's also a feature called 100Hz Motion Picture Pro 2, which is a ridiculous name for anything, let alone a picture-processing system. Ignoring the awkward moniker, it's designed to greatly improve fast-moving action, such as sport and Jason Statham movies. It does this by turning 50 interlaced frames per second into 100. But it also adjusts the backlight, which Panasonic claims enhances the resolution.
Of course there's all the usual technology knocking about inside this screen, including a Freeview tuner, a smart sound system with two woofers and two tweeters and a very generous selection of inputs, including four HDMIs, component and VGA in, although curiously it will only accept XGA (1,024x768-pixel resolution) inputs via the PC connection.
All in all, the 37LZD800 looks like a smashing TV, and we really look forward to having a play with it, although UK pricing and availability haven't been announced yet. Keep it CNET for a review in the near future. –Ian Morris
Update: Read our full