3D TVs using LCD technology were conspicuously absent from 2010â€™s Panasonic TV range. A fact we rashly put down to a combination of Panasonicâ€™s abiding preference for plasma technology, and the fact that Panasonic sticks mostly to relatively small screens with its LCD models.
According to Panasonic, though, the real reason it didnâ€™t do a 3D LCD TV last year was that it didnâ€™t feel its LCD screens were up to the job. Or perhaps it would be fairer to say it didnâ€™t feel LCD technology full stop was up to the job - a position all too easy to agree with given how 2010â€™s 3D LCD TVs were all afflicted by the double ghosting noise known as crosstalk.
Here we are in 2011, though, with a 32in LCD TV from Panasonic, the TX-L32DT30B, that most definitely does 3D. So whatâ€™s changed?
A lot, actually. In fact, Panasonic has developed a completely revamped LCD display for its 3D models, using new technologies designed to reduce the L32DT30â€™s response time and thus reduce the usual crosstalk problems.
The main two innovations are a reduction in the â€˜gapâ€™ between the backlight and the screen, and the use of a new liquid crystal material thatâ€™s more fluid than its predecessor. The net result of these improvements is reckoned to be a 50 per cent reduction in the L32DT30â€˜s response time versus previous Panasonic LCD panels.
Also potentially key is the L32DT30â€™s use of a combination of a real 200Hz refresh rate and a scanning backlight - a combination that allows Panasonic to call its new 3D groundbreaker a 400Hz model.
While weâ€™re on the subject of the L32DT30â€™s panel technology, itâ€™s worth adding that itâ€™s one of Panasonicâ€™s IPS-Alpha designs, with their ability to be watched from a wider angle than normal â€˜VAâ€™ designs.
Itâ€™s tempting to go straight into looking at whether Panasonicâ€™s 3D-friendly LCD panel improvements actually deliver on their promise. But weâ€™d probably best stick with our normal order of doing things!
Which means forming an opinion about the L32DT30â€™s looks. Panasonicâ€™s recent TV designs have been notoriously drab to be brutally honest, so itâ€™s a relief to find the L32DT30 looking both slinky (it uses edge LED lighting, naturally) and even quite chic in its glossy, metallic finish offset by a dash of metallic trim.
Fans of â€˜size zeroâ€™ TV models might take offence at the sight of a bulge along the back of the L32DT30â€™s bottom edge. But personally, weâ€™re quite happy to see this, for it shows that the L32DT30 actually has proper box speakers. Bonus.
The DT30 range, comprising the L32DT30 and 37in L37DT30, is actually Panasonicâ€™s flagship LCD range. So itâ€™s not surprising to find it packing an excellent collection of jacks. Four HDMIs are on hand for your HD and 3D video sources, but more intriguing are an Ethernet port, three USBs and an SD card slot.