Despite the fact that Panasonic is best known for its excellent plasma TVs, the company also does a nice line in LCD screens too. However, Panasonic does things differently from other TV manufacturers, drawing a definite distinction between its LCD and plasma ranges. Panasonic has always insisted that LCD is good for screen sizes up to 32in, but above that plasma is the better option - until now, that is.
The Viera TX-37LZD70 heralds a departure from Panasonic's previous stance, in that it's a 37in LCD TV. There's a very good reason why Panasonic has upped the maximum screen size for its LCD TVs, and that reason is Full HD. Back in July I reviewed the Panasonic TH-42PZ700B and marvelled at the fact that Panasonic had managed to shrink its plasma chambers enough to squeeze a 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD resolution into a 42in screen. As such, the chances of seeing a 37in Full HD plasma are pretty slim for a while - hence Panasonic's decision to release a 37in Full HD LCD TV to bridge the gap.
I've given the game away fairly early on, and you now know that this is a Full HD, 1080p screen - which is fast becoming the standard when it comes to good quality HDTVs. This means that the TX-37LZD70 has a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 and will happily accept a progressive signal from a source device at that resolution. Unfortunately, it's this set's 1080p ability that lets it down somewhat, compared to its direct competition. First up, like previous Panasonic Full HD TVs I've looked at, this one will only accept a 1080p signal through HDMI, so if you have an older Xbox 360, you won't be able to set the output to 1080p. Obviously, the newer consoles come with HDMI support, but there are a lot of X360s out there with only component video output.
The second issue is far more concerning - this TV doesn't support a 1080p 24Hz input. Now, when Panasonic first told me about its Full HD TV line up at the beginning of the year, I was mildly concerned about the lack of 1080p 24Hz support, since there wasn't much in the way of source devices at the time. However, there's now no shortage of high definition players that will output a 1080p source at 24 frames per second, making the fact that this TV doesn't support it quite concerning, especially since it's such a new model. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that pretty much every other Full HD TV we've looked at lately features 1080p 24Hz support.