Panasonic jumps into the Smart TV market with this media-savvy LED
The £850 TX-L37E30 is the first in a new wave of LED LCD TV products by Panasonic. The brand may be synonymous with plasma, but it’s hungry for a slice of the booming global LCD TV pie as well. This Full HD LED 2D offering majors on network connectivity and opens the door to the brand’s new VIERA Connect IPTV and apps portal.
Panasonic TX-L37E30 Build and Connections
With its sharp, gloss-grey cabinet, the TX-L37E30 is smart but not smarmy. Connectivity is accommodating. The rear panel offers up three HDMI inputs, a PC mini D-sub connection, SCART, component, Ethernet LAN and two USB ports. There are also phono stereo and digital optical audio outputs.
On the left-hand side of the bezel is a fourth HDMI input, a third USB slot, phono AV inputs, headphone jack, CI cam slot and SD card reader with VIERA media player software. The latter has multiple slideshow options and will also play your AVCHD home movies.
Unlike last year’s models, the set’s network streaming capabilities are excellent, we hooked the screen up to our network via Ethernet and it immediately located all our DLNA media servers. Music support includes MP3, AAC and WMA, with album art and artist data display. Video support is superb. Across the network we successfully played AVCHD, DivX, AVI, MKV, MP4, MOV and MPEG test files. The screen failed to identify SRT subtitles over the LAN, but rectified this when the same media was played back from a local USB drive.
This set also marks the debut of Panasonic’s new cloud-based VIERA Connect IPTV and apps service. Headline attractions here include BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter but there’s more to explore in the encouragingly large and searchable VIERA Market.
Panasonic TX-L37E30: picture quality
HD picture performance is as refined as Tate & Lyle Demerara. Colours are vibrant without being luminous and there’s a smoothness to gradations with is seductive. While the set’s black level isn’t class leading, there’s plenty of subtle shadow detail.
To minimize LCD blur, the screen features a 200 blb Intelligent Frame Creation Pro panel driver – actually 100Hz with a blinking backlight. It comes in three flavours: Off, Mid and Max. With IFC off, motion picture resolution drops from a static 1080 lines to approx 660 lines. With IFC on Mid, motion resolution rise to around 700 lines, however some ringing artefacts around moving objects become noticeable. Upgrading IFC to Max brings detail to 900 lines plus. Unfortunately, motion artefacts become quite overt at this level, with some moving objects swathed in a fluffy, smudgy cloak.
Backlight uniformity is generally good, considering that it’s only lit from the bottom of the screen. There was a distinctive LED glow from the bottom right of our sample, when the screen was viewed top down.
Audio performance is fine, if a little thin. The downward firing speakers parp along, but are left without a subwoofer to fill out lower bass. In the menus you’ll find a couple of V-Audio ‘Surround modes’. Neither of these makes a pimple of difference to the output.
Overall, the TX-L37E30 is an attractive LED screen, made desirable by its excellent networking credentials. The brand’s VIERA Connect portal is a huge step up from what we’ve seen before, and the set’s media streaming capabilities are first class.
Panasonic TX-L37E30 launch date: Out now, link Panasonic
Panasonic TX-L37E30 price: £680-£750 online
Panasonic TX-L37E30 Specifications:
- Screen: 37inch LED LCD TV
- Resolution: 1920x1080p Full HD
- Type: Bottom-edge LED backlit LCD
- TV Tuner: Freeview HD /analogue
- Connections: 4x HDMI, PC D-Sub, SCART, component, phono AV, 3x USB, Ethernet LAN
- Sound: 20w (2x10w)
- Audio: Nicam Stereo, Dolby Digital Plus/Dolby Pulse, DTS 2.0
- Dimensions:890 x 548 x 75 mm /12.5kg