No matter how you look at it, the 37in PD370 from US brand Planar is not a normal TV. For starters, it's not strictly-speaking a TV at all, thanks to its lack of any flavour of tuner; digital or otherwise. It can thus ‘only' be called an LCD screen or monitor. It then rubs your face in its lack of TVness by shipping as standard with no speakers. Or SCART sockets.
Then there's the PD370's build quality. The screen, for instance, is hardened off, avoiding the Southern shandy-drinking softness of most LCD TV screens. Also, unlike the shiny plastic used by the majority of TVs these days, the PD370 is built - it's tempting to say hewn - out of diamond-brushed aluminium, making it feel like it could go 12 rounds with Mike Tyson and come out without a mark on it. Especially as it doesn't have any ears to chew on.
What's more, no less than five coats of premium-grade black lacquer have been applied onto that aluminium bezel, with a final clear car-grade coating painted on top of that to deliver the screen's final, indomitable gloss-black finish.
We're not saying here that the PD370 is especially attractive, mind you. Truth be told, its resolutely straight, flourish-free rectangular shape is rather lacking in imagination. But the sheer hardcoreness of its design gives it a distinctively ‘serious' appearance that will probably prove more alluring to its uncompromising target audience than any number of curved edges or dramatic angles.
Even the set's connections are unusual, since the digital audio output the screen carries can be switched to ship out the sound coming in from any of the screen's AV inputs, making the PD370 potentially a very simple but effective AV switch box.
The apparent madness to the PD370 design and specification we've uncovered so far does actually have a method, however. For it has been put together by Planar for distribution not through the standard high street multiples, but through custom install channels.
Now that we know this, pretty much all of its initially curious specifications and design elements start to make perfect sense. For instance, you don't need speakers if the screen is forming just the video part of a wider AV system that will doubtless include a separate audio system. And you don't need a tuner if you're almost certainly going to be fed your TV shows through a Sky HD box. Taking the PD370's custom install potential even further is an RS232C control port so that the TV can be integrated into a fully networked control system.