This Panny offers 32 inches of screen and a digital tuner for very little cash. Surely there's a catch?
The world of flatscreens can be a confusing place. Panasonic, for example, has more than 20 different models out there, and most are harder to tell apart than an identity parade of Agent Smiths.
The TX-32LMD70 has a typically obscure background, but we've delved into its personal records to pin it down. Our detectives have found that this is the budget version of the TX-32LXD700, which is our current favourite premium 32in LCD, and can take a 1080p signal.
So what corners have been cut to achieve its low, low price? The picture processing is much the same as its higher-priced siblings, although it lacks the Motion Picture Pro tech that can help smooth fast action sequences. It also only has two HDMI ports compared to the usual three, loses an SD card slot and delivers sound from one speaker rather than two.
But these are but minor losses. More importantly, the TX-32LXD700's picture is hard to distinguish from its higher-priced brother. It has a 1366x768 resolution and watching HD on it is a joy, whether in native 720p or downscaled from 1080p. There's plenty of detail, no sign of noise or instability and low-light detail is excellent.
The blacks aren't the darkest we've ever seen, but the insight into gloomy corners is excellent – you never get the impression you might be missing any action.
Images from the digital tuner were noise-free, stable and sharp. Colours were bright without making skin tones look unnatural, and DVD playback kept up the good work, with contrast levels being particularly impressive.
The only thing we're not enamoured with is the downgraded audio, which can make dialogue less than clear. But it's otherwise fine and, considering the price of the set, far from a deal-breaker.
This would be an excellent set for first-time LCD owners, with the emphasis on easy-to-use features and pared-down functionality. And with the Great Digital Switchover looming, it's not hard to imagine who Panasonic sees as its target market.
Panasonic TX-32LMD70 review
Some average speakers aside, this is a fine LCD and one of the best buys in the 32in market