Panasonic Viera DT30 (TX-L32DT30B) review: Panasonic Viera DT30 (TX-L32DT30B)

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Motion is also impressively smooth, helped along by the panel's fast response rate and Panasonic's Intelligent Frame Creation software. It's best to keep the latter set to about medium, though, as otherwise pictures can look rather flat and video-like, which isn't ideal for film material, such as movies on Blu-ray.

Panasonic has finally integrated BBC iPlayer into its Viera Connect Internet TV platform.

The only real problem is one that affects most LED sets with local-dimming capability. When dimming is enabled and you have bright areas of the picture overlaid on very dark areas -- for example, white subtitles on a black background -- you can see haloing around the brighter areas of the picture. That said, this isn't something that affects most footage and, under normal conditions, the local dimming really helps the set to produce very deep and rich black levels. 

Handsome fellow

Panasonic has finally started to pay more attention to the design of its sets, with the result that the TX-L32DT30B is a much more stylish affair than last year's models. The glossy finish and metallic strip around the outside of the frame help to add a touch of class too.

The TV is slim, with its panel measuring just 33mm thick. It's thicker at the bottom, though, to accommodate a decent set of speakers, rather than the puny ones you usually find in LED TVs. This is a smart move because the TX-L32DT30B delivers relatively impressive audio, with stronger bass than most flat-panel TVs can muster.

Panasonic has also improved its Internet TV service, which is now called Viera Connect. Once you've hooked the set up to your router via its Ethernet port, or installed the optional Wi-Fi dongle, you'll find that it includes a good implementation of BBC's iPlayer service, along with other options such as the Acetrax movie-rental service, YouTube and Dailymotion. There's also support for a range of social-networking and picture-sharing services, including Skype, Facebook, Twitter and Picasa. All in all, it's an impressive line-up.

The set can stream a range of file formats, including Xvid and MKV files, across a network from a PC or network-attached storage drive. It can also play back these files from USB-attached storage, such as hard drives and memory keys. What's more, if you connect a USB hard drive, you can take advantage of a basic TV-recording feature, so you can record shows to disc from the Freeview HD tuner, or simply pause and rewind live TV.

Conclusion

The Panasonic Viera TX-L32DT30B is a revelation. It shows that LCD technology really can compete with plasma when it comes to producing clean and engaging 3D images. It's also a sterling performer with 2D content. We just wish the set weren't so expensive, and that the DT30 range included models larger than 37 inches, so you could make the most of the excellent 3D performance.

Edited by Charles Kloet 

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