Despite having an LG panel at its heart, the L32ET5 is very much still a Panasonic TV. Its onscreen menus are the same as those of other Panasonic TVs, and the set’s picture processing system and features are all entirely Panasonic’s own work.
The panel is claimed to deliver a "300Hz" system, delivered via a combination of 100Hz and a blinking backlight. Plus you get Panasonic’s Intelligent Frame Creation motion processing and Clear Cinema vertical resolution booster.
Smart TV stuff
Also definitively Panasonic is the set’s Smart TV system. Key content providers on this now include big hitters like Netflix, the BBC iPlayer, BigFlix VOD, Eurosport, Acetrax, Skype (via an optional extra Webcam), BBC News, YouTube and Fetch TV. Plus there’s significant social media support from Twitter, Facebook and Picasa, with an intriguing MySpace content-overlaying system (endorsed by Justin Timberlake, no less) due to launch later this year.
Gaming is unusually well supported too, especially via Gameloft’s surprisingly console-like Asphalt 5 and Let’s Golf 2 titles, which are leagues ahead of the games available on any other Smart TV platform to date.
The volume of video and app content is still off the pace of some of Panasonic’s Smart TV rivals, though. Certainly we’d love to see the likes of Demand Five, 4OD, the ITV player and, especially, LoveFilm appearing on Viera Connect sooner rather than later.
Please note, too, that Viera Connect on the Panasonic L32ET5 doesn’t benefit from the impressive multi-tasking system you get with Panasonic’s flagship TVs this year, on account of the L32ET5 not having dual core processors.
The L32ET5 gets its picture quality campaign off to a good start with its 3D performance. For starters, pictures look brighter and more richly saturated than almost any active 3D pictures we can think of. Also, the colours look impressively natural thanks to the evidently much greater colour neutrality of the passive glasses you get with the TV.
These glasses are light and comfortable, and that there’s no shuttering mechanism in them makes them much more comfortable to look through over extended periods of time.
Pictures look sharp meanwhile, especially as a) the set’s motion processing is unusually effective at removing judder from 3D images and b) the 32in screen size helps reduce the obviousness of the usual passive 3D complaint whereby you can make out jaggedness in edges and faint black lines across very bright parts of pictures.
Viewing angle limitation
The Panasonic L32ET5 also delivers on passive 3D’s big advantage of showing practically no crosstalk ghosting noise. There’s a big condition attached to this latter comment though, since the freedom from crosstalk only applies if you have your head level with the screen. If your head is as little as 10 degrees (it seemed to us) above or below the screen, crosstalk suddenly increases exponentially. This is a common problem with passive LCD, but the relatively small size of the L32ET5 makes it much more difficult to avoid than it is with larger passive sets.
Still, provided you can avoid this viewing angle problem, the fact that the brightness and colour richness of the L32ET5‘s 3D images aren’t joined by any really obvious backlight consistency problems ultimately makes them a great success considering how small a screen they’re appearing on.