One interesting difference between the L37G20B and the G20 plasma screens is that it doesn’t share the plasma models’ THX endorsement. Presumably because THX is yet to be convinced of LCD capabilities as a video display. However, the L37G20B does still earn support from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), with two Professional picture presets provided for one of their experts to calibrate separate day and night settings.
You can have a stab at calibrating the TV to a high level yourself, of course, with options to adjust the gain and cut-off settings for the red, green and blue colour components, as well as a selection of gamma preset points.
Please note that the fine-tuning options just mentioned only come into play if you switch on an Advance (isfcc) option within the TV’s Setup menu.
Also contained within this Setup menu is a further submenu option rather unhelpfully just called Other Settings, which actually contains a couple of quite important features. One allows you to turn on and adjust the strength of Panasonic’s Intelligent Frame Creation and 24p Smooth Film motion processors, while the other allows you to turn on and adjust the strength of Panasonic’s new Resolution Enhancer system for – predominantly – boosting the sharpness of standard definition pictures. Both these features are quite important, it seems to us, and really shouldn’t be tucked away in such a dim and distant submenu.
For the record, we left the resolution enhancer on its mid setting with standard def, but off with HD, and the IFC/24p engine on at its mid level at all times bar some very fast moving sports footage, during which even the IFC engine could generate some minor artefacts.
As with quite a few Panasonic LCD TVs we’ve seen, the L37G20B’s pictures are good rather than outstanding – which we guess makes them slightly disappointing compared with the stellar G20 plasma efforts.
One of the main factors preventing the L37G20B from truly excelling is the way really dark scenes tend to look slightly greyed over – despite the set’s claimed contrast ratio of 100,000:1. This is especially true if you don’t strongly ramp down the set’s contrast and brightness settings from their ‘normal’ preset levels. But even if you do (something the set’s Cinema preset does reasonably well for you, in fact), a definite trace of greyness remains.
The only exception to this is when the image is completely blank, at which point the set’s dynamic contrast system really can dim the set’s lighting to a point where black really does look black.
The slight grey undertone we’ve been talking about is not bad by CCFL LCD standards, by any means, and at least the backlight looks consistently bright across the whole screen rather than throwing up distracting bright patches. But plasma and LED-lit models can both outgun the L37G20B in the black level department.