Setting the TX-32LZD81 up is an absolute breeze. When you power the set on for the first time, it will automatically tune all the internal tuners – Freesat HD, Freeview and analogue. Once all the channels have been found and stored, the TV will then ask you if you’re at home or in a shop. This is a great feature, since many TVs leave the factory with settings that suit a shop floor, but look awful in the living room, so this simple selection means that consumers don’t have to manually calibrate their TV, although a bit of manual tweaking will certainly still help.
Even though I’m a long term Sky HD user, I’ve got to say that there’s something really nice about having a high definition tuner built into a TV, rather than having to use a set top box. Of course you’re only getting a very limited amount of HD content, but the BBC HD service looks every bit as stunning as it does over Sky. Heroes for instance looks breathtakingly sharp and detailed, even though the programme itself hasn’t really improved since the woefully bad second season. It’s also worth remembering that Freesat HD is the only way to receive ITV HD, and if you’re a football fan, you’ll know just how important that is. With ITV showing some of the key Champions League and England matches, most viewers are subjected to God awful transmissions where it’s hard to even make out which team has the ball. But if you have Freesat HD, you can watch all those matches in glorious high definition, and believe me, it makes all the difference.
On the whole the TX-32LZD81did a very good job of rendering the pristine high definition images that its Freesat HD tuner received. There’s certainly no lack of detail on offer – even though many would argue that Full HD resolution isn’t worthwhile on such a small screen, there’s still no substitute for a 1,920 x 1,080 image mapped pixel for pixel. The result is a pin sharp picture, that’s enhanced by the fact that the pixel pitch on a screen this size is considerably smaller than on a larger TV.
Of course, to make use of Freesat HD you’re gong to need a satellite dish installed, which will cost around £70 if you don’t already have one. But if you’re already a Sky customer, you should just be able to run a cable from your existing dish – assuming you’re not already using all four LNBs. Even if you’re not a Sky customer, you may already have a dish installed at your house thanks to a previous tenant, which is exactly what I found when I bought my house. Then it’s just a matter of connecting the cable that’s already there.