Review Price £349.99
Panasonic Viera TX-L32S20B
Before we go any further, we have to say that we sincerely hope that the price of £461.57 we’ve found for the L32S20B at Amazon is still available by the time you read this. For it’s so substantially less than any other prices we’ve being able to find that we can’t help but wonder if Amazon has made a mistake! Basically, if you decide by the end of the review that this is the TV for you, you should probably hot-foot it over to Amazon sooner rather than later.
Anyway, before any decisions like that have to be made, we’d better first find out if the set is actually worth buying for any money.
It’s slightly more attractive than your typical Panasonic 32in LCD TV, at any rate, on account of its gently textured bezel finish. That said, you don’t really notice this texturing unless you’re quite close to the TV, so from a distance it still looks like a fairly straightforward black rectangle.
It also sticks out rather extensively round the back, giving it a distinctly old-fashioned look compared with all the slinky catwalk models that have come our way in recent times. In fact, rather unfortunately for Panasonic, the L32S20B hit our test benches immediately after LG’s brain-bendingly thin and spectacularly good OLED debut: the 15EL9500. Compared with this the L32S20B looks like something from the Stone Age. Let’s hope its performance doesn’t appear similarly dated.
The S20 series rests relatively low down Panasonic’s current range, as you might have guessed from the £461.57 price tag we’ve found. But it still provides a decent set of connections.
These include three HDMIs (one a v1.4 affair to offer an audio return channel), an SD slot that can play JPEG photos and MPEG2/AVCHD video directly from SD cards, a D-Sub PC port, and an Ethernet port.
Don’t get too excited about this Ethernet jack, though. For it’s only there as mandatory support for the L32S20B’s built in Freeview HD tuner; you can’t also use it to access Panasonic’s Viera Cast online platform, or content stored on DLNA PCs. It’s just there in case the Freeview HD platform unleashes some interactive features (like the BBC iPlayer) at some point.
The screen also retains a Full HD resolution, and carries 100Hz 'Intelligent Frame Creation' (IFC) processing to reduce LCD’s motion blur issues. This latter processing system comes on top of Panasonic’s proprietary V-Real Pro 4, all-purpose video engine.
Heading into the L32S20B’s bland but simple onscreen menus doesn’t reveal much else to get our teeth into. There’s what appears to be a fairly straightforward 'Vivid Colour' feature for boosting the picture’s colour vibrancy, an auto-contrast system that adjusts the picture based on ambient light conditions, a simple multi-level noise reduction system, multiple levels of strength for the IFC system, and perhaps the most interesting feature, a Resolution Enhancer for boosting the sharpness of standard definition feeds.