Review Price £685.00
Panasonic Viera TX-L37V20B - So Near and Yet So Far
Also doing their best to convince you that the L37V20B is a cracking TV are its colours. They’re vivid, dynamic, and best of all, unusually expressive for LCD technology thanks to the sheer range of colours available, and the extreme finesse with which the set combines and blends them.
The L37V20B continues in a positive vein with its standard definition reproduction. It does a clever job of doing away with noise from source signals, and doesn’t fall into the common trap/mistake of believing that standard def images need to be turned into something really sharp and textured before they’ll look credible on an HD TV.
For all its generally sterling efforts, though, the L37V20B ultimately fails to win our hearts. Simply because it’s not as good at showing dark scenes as we would like a relatively high-priced LCD TV to be. There’s a general slightly grey look to dark scenes unless you’re willing to remove practically all the picture’s brightness and punch.
Much more troubling, though, is the appearance of that dreaded TrustedReviews bugbear of inconsistent backlighting. As with a troubling number of edge LED TVs we’ve seen recently, parts of the image - quite large parts, actually - look brighter than others during dark scenes. And as you might expect, whenever you see these patches, you’re left feeling very dislocated from what you’re watching.
You can limit the damage this backlight inconsistency causes by really pushing down the L37V20B’s brightness. But the resulting loss of colour dynamism and subtle detailing in dark areas is a heavy price to pay.
The L37V20B thankfully finishes off its performance testing in a more positive vein, by producing an engaging soundstage. There’s some smart treble and detail handling, and an above average mid-range that’s got enough ‘breathing room’ to shift up at least a couple of gears when a source wants to go loud. Bass levels are hardly earth-shattering, but that doesn’t stop them from sounding actually a touch better than those of the majority of ultra-slim LCD rivals. Our only serious audio gripe is that the speakers seem to funnel the sound straight at you, rather than delivering a wider, more enveloping soundstage.
While there’s enough good stuff going on inside the L37V20B to leave us in hope - again! - that Panasonic might one day make a truly great LCD TV, the amount of backlight inconsistency on show also reveals Panasonic’s relative lack of experience with edge LED technology. So with competition in 2011 looking set to be fierce, here’s hoping the brand proves to be a fast learner...