Don't Know Which HDTV To Buy? Try Our HDTV Selector Tool

TX32LXD70 Picture Quality

by Colin Tang
12 April 2007

From the word go, we chose the `cinema' setting on setup that should give the most neutral processing. First impressions are good although the white point leaned toward blue and the colours looked a little weak. There aren't many PQ settings to tinker about in the menu, so we get the feeling that the panel will either get it right or hopelessly wrong.

Torture Test

Dead pixels None
Screen Uniformity Uniform
Overscanning on HDMI, Component 2.5 percent
Blacker than black Passed
Black level Average
Black level retention Stable on cinema mode
Primary chromaticity Good
Scaling Good
Video mode deinterlacing Fair, limited jaggie reduction
Film mode deinterlacing 3:2 cadence passed but poor lock on to mixed edits
Viewing angle 120-130
Motion blur None
Digital noise None at 8 feet, Very good performance
Sharpness Defeatable edge enhancement

Black Level

After calibration, the blacks on the Panasonic TX32LXD70Buy this for £569.99 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £30.00 discount
was decidedly average, which is what you'd expect to get in this price bracket. The TV passes blacker than black with no issues. Black retention patterns are stable in cinema mode but fluctuates in dynamic mode to maximise the contrast ratio.

Greyscale

Gamma CCT
Fits to a tee...
The faint blue dotted line is the 6500 K standard...

In cinema mode, the Panny's greyscale intensity follows the 2.4 curve very smoothly. Calibrated contrast ratio is only about 650:1 mainly because of its higher black luminance. We would have liked a backlight control to squeeze out a little more black level performance. Smooth greyscale ramp shows no overt banding that can cause posterization (or colour banding) on your images.

To our astonishment, the warm setting gives a 5500K temp that corresponds to normal daylight lighting. The 6500K (or D65 on the CIE chart) standard used in video production matches the light from peak daylight at noon. The [Normal] temperature gives a 7500K, which to me, adversely affects the colour of sand, skin and grass. However, I suspect that the warm setting may be too `yellow' for most viewers, even though colours are quite natural but not director intended.

Colour

CIE
Quite close to Rec. 709 standards...

It seems that Panasonic is sticking to its guns on the footie colourspace, with greens being a little more saturated (but not too far off). Yellow is tainted with a bit orange, but every other colour points are quite near. The default saturation in cinema mode on warm setting can create a weary blue, but this can be helped with a small dose of saturation at the expense of enriching the reds and greens.

Colour balance is a strong point with the Panasonic TX32LXD70Buy this for £569.99 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £30.00 discount
. You never feel that a single colour is fighting for prominence and ruining your enjoyment.

Motion

The first incarnation of frame interpolation algorithms can be found in what we consider the first generation of LCD HDTVs e.g. Sharp XD1E powered by Micronas TruD engine, Philips' proprietary Digital Natural Motion. Regrettably, early adopters will also remember the unusual pseudo-fast forward motion artifact that came along with judder reduction. At that time we weren't impressed and did not recommend it.

This time around, things have improved to the extent where motion is smoother and judder free without being too artificial. Futhermore, smearing has been reduced with shorter sample-and-hold time. This is what football fans who love LCDs have been waiting for.

Detail and Sharpness

When you consider, the 1366x768 resolution, there will be some lost of detail from any 1080 source. Detail appreciation is another different matter and is dependent on factors like your visual acuity, sitting distance and size of TV.

From where we are sitting (8 feet), the internal scaling lends pictures the sharpness and edge definition that is difficult to beat. The default sharpness setting creates some haloing around objects but decreasing it a notch blurs it too much. Something in between would have been nice, but I won't complain too much here.

Overscan
There should be a white outer border...overscan at about 2.5 percent on HDMI and component.

Viewing Angles

The picture washes out after about 120-130 degrees so its not quite the advertised 170 degrees. It should still comfortably cater to to two or three friends on the couch and if for some reason you like watching TV from the periphery, the swivelling stand can be useful.

Video Artifacts

I'm going to be really picky on this section, but don't let it weigh too heavily on your estimation of this TVs performance.

The Motion Picture Pro 100Hz is quite wonderful in the way it tries to correct the two main motion artifacts. The benefit in judder and blurring reduction is enormous in quick action and panning shots in sports and movie material. However, if you look at it examine it closely, there is still a hint of the pseudo-fast-forward movement in those scenes. Thankfully, it's something I have gotten used to. The other artifact I noticed was the occasional `shimmer' around objects during motion on a light background, which again was minor in the grand scheme of things.

I invited a sharp-eyed critic over the Easter weekend who spotted one or two instances of audio lip sync delay. We never experienced this before and it is difficult to isolate the main culprit for this effect, especially when you can't switch off certain picture processing. Anyway, the problem never reared its ugly head again.

Because of the small screen size, many of the deinterlacing and MPEG artifacts are not as visible compared to larger screen sizes. The trade-off is that you get a smaller picture filling your field of vision.

A very notable achievement with this TV is that pictures are relatively free from excessive video noise when noise reduction is disengaged.

High Definition

Miami Vice   Love boat
Vice...
 
Mojo...
Jarhead   Jarhead
This is my rifle. Without my rifle, I am nothing
 
Without me, my rifle is nothing

Although a bit lacking in the black, resolution and colour temperature department, the Panasonic excel in overall picture quality. The blacks aren''t quite at the level of £1000 panels, but it could easily convey the subtlety of shadowy detail in tricky scenes, such as those found in the opening of Miami Vice at the night club and the cop-and-druglord shootout at the end. (Shame about the Michael Mann film... strong in attitude but short on substance).

Colours are reproduced effortlessly even with the warm 5500 K setting. Skin tones look life-like and greens are very realistic. The only other panels that matched my expectation was the recent Panasonic and Pioneer plasmas. Very impressive since LCD panels are leaning towards fixed wide colour gamuts, with all the inaccuracies inherent in them. My only criticism of the colour spectrum would be the 5500 K temperature for the warm setting, which is an odd choice. You can opt for the [Natural] level, but desert landscapes in a movie like Jarhead can't communicate the extra realism and depth of colours found in lower temperatures. If you are a warm junkie, you should stick to the 5500K setting.

LCDs have an unenviable reputation for motion blurring (or ghosting) but those days are fast disappearing. Frame interpolation with high refresh rates are breaking into mainstream this year and from what we've seen, its definitely going to give the plasma manufacturers a run for their money. I can go on and on about why this will be the NEXT BIG THING but just drop by your local (and friendly) TV shop and ask them for a side-by-side demonstration of say, a football or cricket match.

Standard Definition

Charlie Angels   Han solo
Escorted by angels...
 
Han caught in the act...

Assuming a fixed, standard sitting distance, SD broadcast will always `look' better to a viewer on a small screen. Larger screens (37 and above) require better and more expensive processing that most average households won't be prepared to pay for. If you're in the market for a small TV mainly for SD material, this TV comes easily recommended. For reasons just mentioned, this TV will tolerate mediocre SD feeds much better than its larger cousins.

With higher bit rates on DVDs, the benefit of an upscaling DVD player becomes marginal. Watching old classics like Star Wars and newer blockbusters like the Return of the King and Charlie's Angels (I didn't mean to lump them together) is very easy on the eye. Some black scenes, like the final light-saber carving duel in Star Wars, will lack the extra punch but the bright scenes are so beautifully rendered that you'll easily forgive and forget.

I don't know how many of you enjoyed Manchester United's Italian Job a few days ago, but I thought it was extra special for me. Watching the football match became a renewed experience on a LCD TV. Panning shots and objects seemed to retain a little more `detail' compared to conventional LCDs during motion. I don't recall thinking about excessive motion blurring like I usually do on other LCD panels. Judder reduction is perhaps less effective on PAL movies, especially when most of us have been conditioned for some form of judder when watching movies. But, if you can get used to it, you may enjoy the benefit of higher motion sampling captured on video recordings. (vs film recording, that is). For LCD fans aching for a solution to your motion smearing nightmare, you will want to put this feature at the top of your wishlist for HDTVs this year.

Settings

The following settings are optimized for HD broadcast and HD DVD performance via HDMI input. There are several reasons why they won’t work for you, as they can all affect `final’ picture quality.

  • Personal preference
  • Ambient light
  • Source material
  • Players
  • Intramodel variation

Cinema mode
Contrast At Default
Brightness -2
Colour +5
Sharpness -1
Tint -4 (if available)
Colour Temperature Warm
P-NR Off
Colour Management Off

All the controls above are denoted as presses from default values, hah...I didn't make the rules...blame Panasonic. I can already hear the disapproving cries from the angry mob because of my colour temperature choice, but at least give it a chance ;) Your eyes will remember...


Back To: TX32LXD70 Review

Discuss this article at our new HDTVTest forum