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Panasonic Viera TX-L32D28 review

John Archer

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Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Given the enormous vested interest it has in its beloved plasma technology, it’s hardly surprising that Panasonic has been rather tardy about getting involved in the LED scene. But with the 32in L32D28, the Japanese brand has finally bitten the LED bullet, plumping for the edge-mounted LED approach for its debut screen.

With this in mind, it’s surprising that the L32D28 isn’t significantly slimmer than most ‘ordinary’, CCFL-based LCD TVs. After all, one of the key reasons to go the edge LED route is its potential for making screens exceptionally thin.

Not that the L32D28 is by any means bland aesthetically, however. For starters, the really heavy, metal desktop stand it ships with is designed so that you can slide the TV right down its neck, leaving the TV sitting almost flush with the table. The stand also tilts the screen back slightly, for a more comfortable viewing angle.

Most striking of all, though, is the fact that our review sample was white. Given Panasonic’s monotonous penchant for black over recent years, this high-gloss white finish really comes as a surprise - and definitely a welcome one. Especially as strangely the white finish somehow makes the set’s sculpting look more attractive than the actually quite similar lines carried by the brand’s black screens.

Not that white is your only colour option, either. For the L32D28 is also available in silver and purple alternatives. Blimey. Someone in the Panasonic design department has been on the whisky!

The L32D28’s connectivity is impressive, too. For starters, it boasts a satellite LNB connection as well as the usual RF input, indicating that this is another Panasonic TV that carries both Freesat HD and Freeview HD tuners built in. Panasonic remains the only brand to offer so much HD broadcast flexibility.

The set also enjoys four HDMIs, all of which, according to the instruction manual, are v1.4 affairs. Though only one of them actually supports the Audio Return Channel for shipping digital audio to suitable AV receivers that’s part of the HDMI v1.4 specification.

The set’s other connection highlights are mostly concerned with multimedia features. There’s an Ethernet port, for instance, through which you can access future Freeview/Freesat interactive services; Panasonic’s VieraCast online service; and files on a DLNA-enabled PC. Plus there’s the more predictable D-Sub PC input, and rather more impressively, two USB ports and an SD card slot for direct playback of various video, photo and music formats, including DivX HD and AVCHD.

The USBs have two further points of interest, too, since they also a) let you make the TV Wi-Fi capable via an optional dongle, and b) let you record programmes from the digital tuners to a connected USB HDD.

These recordings work superbly, appearing to our eyes identical to the original broadcasts - but please note that you may need to buy a new USB HDD drive to make the recordings happen, since Panasonic only recommends Buffalo’s JustStore Desktop HD-EU2-UK series as guaranteed to work with its TVs. And certainly no other brands of HDD we had lying around did the trick.

Please note, too, that you can only play back the programmes you record to USB HDD on the same TV you made the recordings through. There’s no shipping them off to a PC or portable video device.

AJ

May 19, 2010, 1:22 pm

Nice review - thanks guys.





One question. I'm potentially in the market for a 32" to 37" TV in the next month / two. I'd like to get something that will be able to pick up the BBC iPlayer and all the other online services from Sky, ITV, Ch4, etc. I've not really seen a comprehensive summing up of what all these TV's can now do natively.





Are there any TV's that are going to offer this native functionality without me buying a laptop and plugging it in ?





Finally the ability to record to a USB hard drive is very useful. But useless if I can't use any of the drives I've already got.





Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Premfab

May 19, 2010, 10:08 pm

Is that price a mis-print?





Seriously, I do like high-end stuff and am willing to pay for it but this price is not acceptable.

HDRE

May 20, 2010, 6:54 pm

@Prem


I paid £700 for a quality TV a couple of years ago. It doesn't have Freeview HD or Freesat HD and doesn't have the ability to record TV. These are the features, which in Panasonic's mind justify the RRP.





When it hits the web the price will drop as mine did from £1000. All things come to those who wait and Google.





@AJ


It would seem from John (@ TR and his print reviews) that Buffalo USB sticks/hard drives (or some are compatible). I'd contact Panasonic for a full list of compatible models. Others may become compatible via a firmware update in time.

Can Ozyaman

May 22, 2010, 9:47 pm

Hi


Seems that this 2010 Model Panys is worth to go for!(at least Baclit-LED Series)





I'm wonder that does type of Module IPS-Alpha/Super by IPS-Japan???





Bye


CAN+

Simon Gardner

September 4, 2010, 1:55 pm

Overall, I am pleased with the Panasonic TX-L32D28BS TV. At the price, I would hope so. The picture is good, both digital receivers are good and the sound is good too. Even the largely unmentioned analogue tuner works well. HD is good including HD from my several external sources. Most functions appear to work very well, including connecting via wifi to my home network with the added {and pricey} dongle. I find the ability to view photos via the SD card slot and via a memory stick {flash drive} into a USB connection surprisingly useful. The TV accepts a USB hub perfectly to deal with that 2 USB port limit. It's pretty useless at dealing with almost all video files around via "Media Server" but OTOH, connecting my MacBook Pro straight into one of the HDMI ports means there's no problem playing computer video (or indeed pretty much anything) that way. That direct computer link was one of my major requirements and it works flawlessly.





Viera Cast is pretty useless in range but what is there works fine.





Very nice to have the page 7001 iPlayer beta functionality work very well on this TV. I understand Panasonic has still refused to implement it on 2009 models.





The programme "Guides" work as required but for scheduling I tend to use the "Other Sat" option because Freesat doesn't include Sky News of course. Not Panasonic's fault.





But who on earth at Panasonic thought it was OK to include those incredibly annoying advertisements in the DVB {terrestrial digital} TV guide {EPG}? They are so irritating I end up more or less never using the terrestrial EPG. Thankfully, there aren't any on the satellite EPG.





As per usual I would have very much liked at least 2 more SCART sockets {apparently unobtainable from any other manufacturers either} and I have already run out of HDMI sockets even though I also used the Component Video connections for one VCR/DVD device.





Now the serious bugs with the recording function when you have added the recommended by Panasonic hard disk via USB. I used a 1Tb drive.





I can't quite believe that my new Panasonic TX-L32D28BS LCD TV with HD satellite and HD terrestrial built-in "tuners" has a Timer Programming limit of just 15 events. 15!





Panasonic's response to my suggestion they increase this limit to (say) 45 via software upgrade was that "we have no intention of doing anything about it" and "nobody else has complained".





{I programmed in a number of regular events I want to record day-in, day-out. {I'm a fan of Sky News and BBC News newspaper reviews so we are talking a number of short ones every day.} Add in a couple of weekly programmes going on at the moment and I *rapidly ran out of available slots*.}





There's also the silly matter that if you schedule a programme recording (or even just a programme reminder without any recording instruction) via either EPG the TX-L32D28BS won't allow you access to the "record this weekly" or "record this daily" or "record weekdays" functions. There's a kludge way round this but it is not elegant. Panasonic's response to this bug has not been at all adequate.





Then there's recording of radio. The TX-L32D28BS accepts the schedule to record radio. It behaves as if it is doing so. But in fact it doesn't. There's no sign of the recording - as Panasonic has confirmed.





I DO NOT recommend you buy a hard drive to plug into the TX-L32D28BS as the TV's functionality in this area is dreadful.

Simon Gardner

November 3, 2010, 4:11 pm

PS * PS added 1-11-10





As if the very bad implementation of the Panasonic TX-L32D28BS hard drive recording function - with inadequate slots available - weren't enough, a new bug appeared when the clocks changed to GMT in Britain. Whilst the TV "knew" about the time change, it altered every single pre-set recording time already in place by one hour! As a result one had to go into every single one and manually change those to ensure they weren't recording completely the wrong thing.

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