Since it’s so unusual on a full HD screen, the first of these good qualities I’m going to focus on is the PD370’s standard definition performance. All that video processing we mentioned earlier really pays off here, as the screen produces arguably the most natural, polished, sharp and noise-free standard definition picture we’ve ever seen on a full HD 37in screen. Noise inherent to a standard def digital source and the sort of interference and softness often introduced by upscaling processors are both filtered out of the picture to an almost magical degree.
What’s more, this standard def polish is not achieved at the expense of sharpness; indeed, the PD370’s standard definition pictures are as sharp as any we’ve seen.
Turning to high definition, the PD370’s processing quality again excels, helping the screen reproduce HD detailing and textures with a delicacy of touch and subtlety that takes your breath away. The result of this is that HD ‘landscapes’, such as the shots of a deserted New York in ”I Am Legend”, look stunningly natural, three-dimensional and expressive.
It’s not just the amount of detail in the HD picture that makes it look so pristine and believable, either. Colours are also reproduced with the sort of blend subtlety and tonal accuracy that we can’t recall seeing anywhere else before (other than on previous Planar LCDs we’ve reviewed).
With the MPEG noise reduction system deactivated, motion is free to look reasonably crisp considering the screen doesn’t carry 100Hz processing. Black levels get likeably if not quite outstandingly deep during the aforementioned ‘dog chase’ scene too, leaving me with only one proper ‘complaint’: that the PD370’s pictures aren’t quite as bright and vibrant as those of many rival LCDs, including the Panasonic 37LZD800 reviewed a couple of days ago.
However, before you get disheartened by this, I should quickly add that this slight lack of relative vibrancy is potentially more of a strength than a weakness. For if Planar had pursued the same sort of glaring colour palette most rivals strain for, it’s difficult to imagine that it would have produced so much colour and detail subtlety. And since I guess I could be called a ‘video purist’, I’d take extra subtlety and naturalism over glaring gaudiness any time!
The PD370’s custom installation focus means it won’t suit everyone’s needs. But if you’re about to get the experts in to ‘home cinema up’ your house, then provided its size is right for you, you’d be crazy not to discuss making the PD370 an integral element in whatever system you end up with.