The effect of this reduces slightly if you switch to a high definition source, but it’s still there, as is evident in the general blurring around when you use the ‘fast scuttle’ running technique in Gears of War on the Xbox 360.
Before we start to sound too harsh, though, we should say that while the 26LMD70’s lack of 100Hz makes it a slightly poor relation to other Panasonic screens, the resulting motion problems aren’t any more severe than those of most 26in LCD TVs; in fact, they’re rather less offensive than many.
What’s more, in most other ways the pictures are very good, with the V-Real 2 processing working its usual magic. Colours, for instance, are superb; vibrant without being over-cooked or unnatural in tone, unusually wide-ranging in tone, and impressively subtle in blend. The set’s pictures thus look as good with realistic fare like Casino Royale as they do with animated fare like Shrek 2.
Good colours are seldom found without good black levels, and the 26LMD70 follows that trend. Dark scenes like the one on the HD DVD of Superman Returns where Superman flies Lois around night-time Metropolis actually look decently black, with less of the usual greyness we tend to see with LCDs – especially small ones. Sometimes dark areas can look a touch hollow, and very occasionally we spotted some distractingly over-aggressive activity by the automatic backlight adjuster. But overall black levels remain good.
The 26LMD70’s picture is also very sharp and detailed except for the odd occasion where motion smearing interferes too badly, doing a better job of revealing HD’s glories than many 26in rivals.
Moving briefly on to the set’s audio, despite a distinct lack of bass – a very common shortcoming of small LCD TVs – the speakers get by reasonably well thanks to some good treble detailing and decently rounded vocals.
As the most affordable 26in LCD TV in Panasonic’s current range, it’s hardly surprising the 26LMD70 doesn’t quite hit the same performance highs as other better-specified Panasonic models. But we have to say that we’re also not particularly convinced of its value credentials. For we’ve recently seen the 32in Panasonic 32LXD70 that we loved so much in a previous review, complete with 100Hz processing, now selling for as little as £610. And in our opinion that screen’s extra size and above all picture quality actually make it much more of bargain than the 26LMD70.