In some ways Panasonic is in a tricky position right now. Why? Because it’s one of only a small handful of companies which not only have feet in both the LCD and plasma camps, but are also still strongly committed to the old argument that while LCD is fine up to 32in, plasma is the only technology that’s good for anything bigger.
The problem with this argument now that big LCDs are getting cheaper and better on a seeming daily basis is that it almost seems to imply a lack of confidence from Panasonic in its own LCD technology. After all, the likes of LG and Samsung are just as happy making 40-46in LCDs as they are 42in plasmas, leaving it up to the public to decide which technology they want to buy.
So Panasonic’s decision to be so vocal about its very deliberate LCD/plasma size division can’t help but appear suspicious. Of course, the best way for Panasonic to lay these suspicions to rest is to deliver a really top-quality LCD TV – and that’s precisely what it hopes to do with the new 32in TX-32LXD60.
The set gets off to a slightly unpromising start, however. Previous Panny LCDs have boasted some quite dramatic styling, but this one’s plain silver, rather flimsy bodywork just comes over as rather bland.
Things look up considerably when it comes to connectivity, with the discovery of not one but two HDMI sockets. These HDMIs are no ordinary HDMIs either, for it turns out they’re also configured to support Panasonic’s new HDAVI system. This is a ‘home network’ system Panny has developed that allows HDMI cables to carry two-way control signals between compatible pieces of equipment. For instance, you could use HDAVI to let your TV control a connected and HDAVI compatible Panasonic DVD recorder.
There was once a time when the AV industry assured us it was working together to make this sort of inter-kit communication global, so that different brands of kit could talk with each other. But surprise surprise, this cracking idea seems to have fallen by the wayside somewhere, meaning HDAVI will only work between Panasonic-branded equipment.