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For all of you out there who think that ever improving LCD TV technology has killed off plasma, let me tell you that you’re wrong. Very, very wrong in fact. There’s no denying that LCD TVs have shown amazing improvements over the past couple of years, while the price points have dropped faster than a lead balloon, but it’s important to remember that plasma has hardly been standing still during this time. In fact, it’s fair to say that both Panasonic and Pioneer have been pushing the boundaries, not just of plasma technology, but of high definition TV in general.
That’s not to say that Panasonic doesn’t think that LCD is a good technology, because it does. Panasonic sells a great many LCD TVs, but the company firmly believes that LCD is the right option up to 32in and anything from 37in up should be plasma. Of course many other manufacturers would ague with this logic, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that Panasonic’s last generation of both LCD and Plasma screens were superb.
But Panasonic hasn’t stood still, with its latest range of screens offering some welcome additions and improvements. For me, the most interesting model in Panasonic’s new range is the 42in 1080p plasma, but I haven’t got my paws on a sample yet. So, in the meantime I thought I’d look at the latest 37in unit – the Viera TH-37PX70.
I actually have a Panasonic Viera TH-37PX600 at home, so I was keen to see how the latest 37in model compared to the old one. The most obvious difference is in the styling, with the new design representing a definite improvement. Whereas the old model had a silver surround with the speakers mounted at the sides, the TH-PX70 has a trendy gloss black bezel, with the speakers mounted underneath the screen. This means that the new model is smaller to the tune of 60mm in the width department, and considering that most consumers going for a 37in screen are working to a dimensional budget, the TH-PX70 could look even more attractive than its predecessor. In fact, many of the guys in the office thought that this TV looked smaller than 37in, because the overall design is so compact.
The TH-37PX70 doesn’t boast a Full HD panel, instead sporting a resolution of 1,024 x 720 – elongated pixels make up the widescreen aspect ratio, as is often the case with plasma TVs. The rest of this set’s HD Ready credentials come in the form of twin HDMI ports (HDMI 1.3 no less) and a set of component video inputs. You also get twin RGB Scart sockets, a D-SUB input for PC connection and a CI slot for adding subscription packages to the integrated digital tuner. Of course the TH-PX70 can accept the mandatory 720p and 1080i inputs, but it is also happy to process a 1080p input through both HDMI and component video connections. Obviously the 1080p input is having to be scaled down, but it’s still good to see that it can handle the signal.