Panasonic Viera E30 (TX-L37E30B) review: Panasonic Viera E30 (TX-L37E30B)

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The Good Attractive styling; good picture quality; iPlayer is finally available.

The Bad At obtuse angles, the picture washes out considerably; fairly pricey.

The Bottom Line The 37-inch Viera TX-L37E30B is incredibly capable, and a huge improvement on Panasonic's previous LCD offerings. The inclusion of iPlayer -- at last -- is incredibly welcome too.

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8.3 Overall

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Just as we never really expected Porsche to make hybrid cars, so we never thought Panasonic would make LCD TVs. But Panasonic jumped into the LCD arena because most people don't buy massive televisions, and screens of 37 inches and below are best served by this technology. The 37-inch, 1080p, LED-backlit Viera TX-L37E30B LCD TV is one of Panasonic's latest efforts, and will set you back around £750.

Lounge lizard

The first thing we noticed when we took the TV out of the box was how nice it looks. We use the word 'nice' deliberately -- it doesn't look cool or glamorous or like a work of art. It's simply the sort of TV that would look great in your lounge, or your mother's lounge for that matter. We approve of its dark grey finish, and the TV looks like it will last too.

HD merriment

The TX-L37E30B includes a Freeview HD tuner. That means you can watch BBC One HD, ITV1 HD, 4HD and BBC HD. 

The set's high-definition picture performance is excellent, but we were also pleased to see that there's a decent level of detail in standard-definition channels too. Panasonic has got rid of the smoothing and blurring that was present -- and deeply upsetting -- in its earlier generations of LCD TVs.

Although Freeview HD yields a good picture on this TV, you have to fire up a Blu-ray to make it really sing. We used Spider-Man 3. Despite a high level of film grain, the image was very sharp and detailed.

The TX-L37E30B handles both detail and colour superbly, with high-definition images really impressing us in these areas. When it comes to displaying detail, a fairly small TV like this can please more easily than larger TVs, but we were still able to see the difference between Freeview, Freeview HD and Blu-ray.

A marvellous improvement

Panasonic's previous LCD TVs have made us groan somewhat. Their slightly mundane design, coupled with sub-par performance, always made us wonder what the company was playing at. But, this year, the boffins in Japan have created an LED-illuminated LCD panel that's a match for others on the market.

This TV is a fine-looking set, and its pictures aren't bad either.

One area of concern, however, is the viewing angle of this TV's IPS Alpha panel. The main selling point of such panels is that they have the best possible viewing angle. But, while the TX-L37E30B's image is still very visible at angles off dead centre, it also becomes very washed-out. In some rooms, this is unlikely to present a problem. It won't be an issue for people who like to look at their TV straight on, either. But, when there are numerous people watching the set, it might lead to a fairly disappointing experience for some. 

Too smooth?

This TV includes Panasonic's film-smoothing feature, Intelligent Frame Creation. It does what most of these processing modes do, which is make film look smoother and remove the inherent judder that you get with content that runs at 24 frames per second.

What it also does, as a by-product, is make all film look like video. That's good if you think video looks classy, but we don't, and we think the feature spoils the aesthetic of film. It also creates some weird shimmering around the edges of moving objects, although you may not notice this.

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