History suggests that getting any sort of Panasonic flat screen TV in for review these days is a cause for celebration. So when that TV also happens to be a ‘flagship' model, as with the 32in 32LXD700, it's fair to say our excitement dials pretty much get turned up to 11.
Which is all fine and dandy provided the TV actually lives up to the quite possibly unreasonable expectations we've built up for it. If it falls short in some way, our post-review disappointment will probably be felt as keenly as our current high. And we certainly don't want to have that hanging over the rest of the week!
Thankfully, the 32LXD700's design gets things rolling in the right direction by combining some smart - if not particularly original - looks together with ultra-robust build quality. The TV is perhaps a bit chunkier round the back than we've come to expect from LCD screens now, but this is hardly an instant deal breaker.
Shifting our attention to the TV's connections uncovers two of the key features that signify the 32LXD700's flagship status: three HDMI sockets (rather than the two sported by Panasonic's cheaper LXD70 LCD models) and an SDHC card slot from which you can play HD digital photos directly on the TV.
Other connections include the inevitable component video input, a digital audio output for passing out digital soundtracks received via the HDMIs, all the usual Scarts and so on, plus, of course, the paraphernalia associated with a built-in digital tuner.
Before we move on, it's worth mentioning in passing that the HDMIs accept 1080p signals and carry Viera Link: Panasonic's version of the increasingly common technology permitting the TV's remote control to operate HDMI-connected sources. Please note, though, that unlike the similar systems of a number of competitors, Viera Link only works with Panasonic equipment, not different brands.
The 1080p talents we mentioned a moment ago come about at least in part via the 32LXD700's sophisticated V-Real 2 Pro image processing engine, which as well as accepting native 1080p sources will also scale lower resolution sources up to the 1080p level before fitting them into the available pixels - in this case, 1,366 x 768.
We guess some of you may feel a bit disappointed that Panasonic's top-end LCD TV doesn't sport a full HD pixel count, but we have strong doubts that you'd really appreciate a full HD resolution anyway on such a small screen.
If this in turn makes you wonder why Panasonic's flagship LCD isn't a bit bigger, the answer lies simply in Panasonic's continuing belief that when it comes to large screen sizes - as in, anything above 32in - plasma rather than LCD technology is where it's at.