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Getting back to similarities between Panny's entry-level LCD and plasma 37in models, the 37LXD85 joins its plasma stablemate in having 100Hz processing. However, the purpose of the LCD model's 100Hz is slightly different. For where the plasma 100Hz system reduces flicker, the LCD one is most notable for reducing LCD technology's problems with motion blur.
The 100Hz system comes as part of Panasonic's wider V-Real Pro 3 video processing system, which also works to reduce noise levels, boost colours, improve contrast and much more besides.
Other features tucked away within the 37LXD85's superbly well organised onscreen menus, meanwhile, include a noise reduction tool, a colour management tool that tries to automatically optimise colour settings based on a continual assessment of the incoming video signal, a virtual surround mode (complete with the facility to tell the TV how far your speakers are from your wall), and the option to deactivate all overscanning. However, this ‘no overscan' feature seems a bit pointless given that the UK doesn't have any 1,366 x 768 sources, only 1,920 x 1,080 ones.
Put to work on the excellent recent Blu-ray release of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the 37LXD85 proves impressive versus many of its LCD rivals. But at the same time it falls short of its plasma sibling.
Arguably the picture's greatest strength is its sharpness and clarity. For starters, the 100Hz system does a terrific job of reducing LCD's customary motion blur problem, ensuring that the film's frequent moments of surprisingly bloody and kinetic violence are rendered all too clearly. Plus you can see all those tell-tale signs of a class HD act such as pores on faces and the weave in clothing - even though the screen isn't full HD in nature.
It's also great to find Panasonic's 100Hz engine generating precious few processing artefacts, with nary a twitch, flicker or skin-tone lag to be seen.
The 37LXD85 scores over many LCD rivals with its colours too, which avoid the retina-singeing richness of some brasher sets in favour of credible tones. What's more, colour blends are free of striping, and rich saturations avoid fizzing noise.
Actually, noise of any sort is superbly suppressed by the V-Real 3 processing, even during standard definition viewing, leaving you feeling like you're looking straight through a window at a world on the other side of your TV. The lack of obvious scaling noise also made me feel the need for a Full HD pixel count less than I would have anticipated.