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The first of Panasonic's new range of flat TVs arrives with quite a weight of expectation on its shoulders. For the brand scored critical successes pretty much across the board with its previous ‘Viera' TV range, regardless of whether a particular model used LCD or plasma technology.
The TX-32LZD80, as you would expect given its 32in screen size, is an LCD model. But this is pretty much the only way in specification terms that it's similar to its 32LXD70 predecessor.
The single most significant difference comes with its native resolution. For the 32LZD80 is that rarest of things, a 32in LCD TV with a full HD pixel count. This is the first time that Panasonic has managed to squeeze 1,920 x 1,080 pixels into such a small screen, in fact.
The 32LZD80 also differs from most previous Panny LCDs in having three HDMI inputs, all built to the latest v1.3a specification. This means they're all capable of handling the Deep Colour/x.v.YCC colour format now produced by JVC and Panasonic HD camcorders, as well as HDMI 1.3's auto lip-synching functionality if any sources ever support it.
Another connection trick of the 32LZD80 that was once exclusive to only the top echelons of Panasonic's flat TV range (the 32LZD80 actually sits fairly low down in the new pecking order) is a built-in SD card slot, via which you can play your digital still photographs straight onto the TV screen.
Elsewhere Panasonic has refined its proprietary image processing system into ‘V-Real 3' from the previous, already excellent V-Real 2. At the time of writing, though, I have to say that the only information I have from Panasonic on exactly how V-Real 3 improves on V-Real 2 suggests that they've ‘redesigned every V-Real device' and ‘combined technologies that were originally developed to produce the HD camcorders that relay the excitement of the Olympic Games with technologies that were created by the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory (PHL) for moviemaking.' Er, right then.
Sorry about the gratuitous Olympics mention back there, but I guess if you've coughed up as much to be an ‘Olympic Partner' as Panasonic doubtless has, you've probably earned the right to drop the Olympic name as often as you feasibly can!