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After making a solid arrival with a couple of recently reviewed low-end ‘X10' models, Panasonic's latest - and most expansive - TV range kicks up a gear today with the TX-L37G10B. This is a much more mid-range offering, upping the feature count in two particularly significant ways: the addition of a built-in Freesat HD tuner, and the addition of Panasonic's latest Intelligent Frame Creation system.
More on these presently. But first it's a relief, too, to find the L37G10 also marking a significant step forward for Panasonic aesthetically. Regular readers will know that it's been an age since I was really enthused by a Panasonic TV design, yet while the L37G10 is hardly a supermodel, the slimness of its bezel and the neat compactness of its desktop stand and bottom edge do at least make it look kinda cool in a macho kind of way.
The set also goes much further with its connections. The HDMI count rises to four from the X10 range's three, while the provided SD card slot can play back video files as well as the JPEG image files supported by the X10 models. Plus, of course, there's a connection for the feed from your Freesat satellite dish LNB alongside the usual RF tuner input, and an Ethernet port for future online Freesat-related services.
None of these potential services are available yet, but at least with this new generation of Freesat TV Panasonic has made the effort to discuss in the manual how to get the TV talking to your broadband connection via your router. And if you're interested, the exact wording Panasonic uses in the manual to describe the Ethernet's operation reads like this: "Network settings are for applications from broadcasters to enable greater interactivity and added features for Freesat services."
What's encouraging about this sentence is the clear implication that the sort of online services available might ultimately be much more extensive than just the BBC iPlayer support we've been guessing at since we first noticed Ethernet ports on Freesat TVs. Watch this space.
While we're on the subject of the L37G10's Freesat functionality, let's briefly cover off the TV's Freesat electronic programme guide support. Happily, the first thing that comes up when you press the dedicated Guide button on the remote is a list of genres, enabling you to immediately filter out a lot of unwanted channels from your search before you proceed to the listings section proper.
This listings section is clearly presented, and features a simpler layout and better use of the coloured buttons on the remote than we found with LG's recent Freesat debutante. The L37G10's listings also scroll around faster than the slightly sluggish ones of the LG TV.
In an ideal world Panasonic would have kept the picture running in a small box somewhere among the listings, but then I guess the world is seldom ideal, is it?!