More good news finds motion looking fluid as well as clear, even when watching notoriously tricky 24p sources such as the colourful, motion-packed opening credits of Casino Royale on Blu-ray.
Importantly, though, Panasonic has kept this motion fluidity to a sensible level rather than hitting the frankly unnatural levels of smoothness witnessed on one or two 100Hz TVs – most notably last year’s 100Hz models from Sharp.
More good news with the 37LZD800 finds V-Real Pro 3 doing a better job than most full HD LCD TVs of upscaling standard definition sources to fill the 1,920 x 1,080 screen. Plus you get superb levels of sharpness while showing both HD and standard def alike, achieved without the increase in noise and ‘grittiness’ that spoils a good few rival detail-loving LCD TVs.
One of the most critical elements of any LCD TV’s performance is its black level response. And here again the 37LZD800 mostly delivers the goods. For while we have seen deeper black levels still, particularly on plasma TVs but even on one or two LCDs (such as Samsung’s new A656 range), those on the 37LZD800 are still perfectly up to the job of portraying your average dark film or game scene convincingly, without suffering distracting amounts of grey clouding, or off-key colour tones.
If we really had to pick fault with the 37LZD800’s pictures, we could say that during really quick camera pans edges can flicker just a fraction. Also, during standard definition viewing some skin tones showed a tendency to look a little over ripe at times, meaning that I often found myself slightly reining in the colour settings when switching from an HD broadcast on Sky HD to a standard definition one.
Finally, it didn’t seem to my eyes that the ‘Clear Panel’ design really contributed anything significant to the picture party, meaning that while excellent I didn’t feel as if the 37LZD800’s pictures were really significantly superior to those of the cheaper LZD85 range.
Moving onto the 37LZD800’s audio, this is pretty much as exemplary as the picture quality. We’ve long admired Panasonic’s Advanced Smart Sound system, and here it’s at is typical best, serving up really excellent levels of power, dynamic range and effects clarity during the action scenes of I Am Legend on Blu-ray. Basically this is only one of a handful of flat TVs with the sound quality to really do an action movie soundtrack justice.
Although there’s no doubt that this is yet another truly excellent TV from Panasonic, I’m not totally convinced that it offers enough extra quality over the LZD85 range to justify its price hike. Unless, of course, you have a burning desire for four HDMIs and/or you want a sound performance good enough to do your films proud without needing a separate audio system.
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