Panasonic Viera TX-L32S20B - Motion Handling, Audio and Verdict

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With HD, the 100Hz IFC processing system (or 24p Smooth Film mode as it becomes with 24p Blu-rays) clearly delivers a reduction in both judder and blur. More so than we noted with standard definition, in fact. Just make sure you don’t use the highest processing level for either the Smooth Film or IFC modes, as this results in some pretty noticeable and distracting side effects.


Wrapping the L32S20B’s HD pictures up with an assessment of their sharpness, the news is pretty good. The good handling of motion blur obviously helps in this regard, but there’s enough brightness and punch in the picture to help pixel-level detailing come through. The only catch is the way detail tends to disappear into the greyness of dark parts of the picture.


The sound that accompanies the L32S20B’s pictures is… interesting. Which is, in itself, quite unusual for a smallish LCD TV! The thing is, there’s actually quite a bit of flexibility on hand to help you refine the sound quality via an equaliser, if you can be bothered to use it. But the aggravating thing is that both of the provided Speech and Music presets are pretty awful, delivering daft extremes of trebles and bass respectively.


The ideal setting lies somewhere in the middle – a position which you can thankfully find with a little effort and the User preset option. And with the treble and bass levels suitably balanced, the L32S20B sounds slightly better than most other 32in TVs in its price. Though that hardly qualifies it for some TV hi-fi hall of fame.

Verdict


It’s good to see a Panasonic LCD TV being sold at a genuinely competitive price – and the L32S20B does enough things sufficiently well to represent decent value for money at the sub-£500 level.


At the same time, however, the L32S20B lacks the black level talent to really challenge the LCD A-list, and does little to change our long-held view that Panasonic’s mastery of LCD technology is still some way short of where it’s at with plasma.