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Panasonic TX-L37G15 Review
02 July 2009
 

 

37in LCD
Picture
Sound
Features
Usability
Value
Excellent HD pictures and good SD performance along with vibrant colours make this screen a serious option.
Rating: 88%
   

Reviewed: 02 July 2009

  Overall picture quality

  Black levels slightly disappointing

Design

With a slightly slimmer frame along with some subtle stylistic changes, the TX-L37G15 looks a cut above Panasonic's entry level LCD TV's. A narrowing of the distance between the screen and outer edge of the frame along with an all black pedestal are simple but effective design touches.

The TX-L37G15 can't compete with some of the waif like models out there at the moment, but decent build quality and attention to detail add to what is on the whole an attractive looking package.

Features

Sitting alone as a single model in the G15 LCD range Panasonic's TX-L37G15 adds some of the more interesting internet connectivity options over its G10 siblings.

Viera Cast

Viera Cast arrives as Panasonic's solution to internet access directly through your TV. The Viera Cast button on the TX-L37G15's remote takes you straight to Panasonic's online content portal where you can choose from a limited but growing amount of content.

You can access the likes of YouTube videos, the Picasa photo sharing web site or stock quote information, weather reports etc. The content on offer is certainly not comprehensive enough to lure hardened internet users away from their PC's at the moment, but Viera Cast is an interesting feature which gives the L37G15 an added dimension.

Screen: 37in 16:9
Tuner:Digital
Sound System: Nicam
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Contrast Ratio: 50,000:1
Other Features: V-real 4 picture processing, Freesat digital tuner, Viera Cast, DNLA, 100Hz processing (IFC), noise reduction function, V-audio surround sound.
Sockets: 4 HDMI, 2 SCART, Component Video, Composite Video, PC input, CAM slot, SD card slot, Ethernet port.
   

 

DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) makes it easier to integrate your electrical entertainment appliances as part of a home network. Viewing your still JPEG holiday snaps stored on a PC through your TV is just one of the many benefits DLNA brings.

As you would expect, there is a Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution screen which will enable the TX-L37G15 to present High Definition (HD) material in its full unadulterated glory.

The G15 series also benefits from the inclusion of a built-in 'Freesat' tuner. The Freesat service currently offers over 80 subscription free channels which includes all the major terrestrial stations (BBC1, ITV etc) apart from 'Five'. You also get the BBC HD and ITV HD (exclusive to Freesat) channels. Unlike Sky or Virgin, there are no subscription charges, but it is worth remembering that access to the 'Freesat' service requires a satellite dish.

Panasonic's V-real Picture Processing Engine now comes in the shape of V-real 4. Tweaks to the screens main picture processing circuitry have been designed to clean the incoming Standard Definition source as well as improving High Definition presentation.

The TX-L37G15 boasts a dynamic contrast system in the shape of 'Eco' mode. Through Eco mode, the panel responds to the ambient light surrounding the screen, brightening or dimming the picture to optimize the screen for the current lighting conditions.

Panasonic's Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) technology doubles the number of frames shown every second from 50 frames/sec to 100 frames/sec. This increase in frame count has been designed to allow more natural frame-to-frame transitions. IFC can be set to 'High', 'Medium' or switched off alltogether.

There are four HDMIs, a D-Sub PC port, and an SD card slot through which the TV can play JPEG stills. Viera Image Viewer is a new function for easy viewing of digital still photos. The G10 also features an Ethernet port for broadband connection via your router or future online Freesat-related services.

Like most Panasonic TV's these days the TX-L37G15 hosts 'Viera Link', which uses the high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) connections to automatically control similarly enabled devices using a single remote. Panasonic have now added support for their LUMIX range of digital cameras to Viera link.

V-audio surround is a virtual surround system which has been designed to replicate the effect of a complete multi- channel system (numerous speakers) from just two speakers.

Performance

Slipping quietly under the technological radar is the latest incarnation of Panasonic's latest V-real picture processing engine, which now appears as V-real 4. We mustn't forget that this little piece of electronic wizardry will have as much bearing on the screens performance as any other single component. All indications suggest that Panasonic's latest picture processing engine contributes to a significant improvement in this screen's picture processing abilities.

Despite having to upscale a poorer quality Freeview signal (or slightly better Freesat) signal to fit the Full HD resolution, and testament to the effectiveness of V-real 4, the TX-L37G15 produces a better than average Standard Definition (SD) picture. The images are largely free from any intrusive influences and are as clean and sharp as anything in this price bracket. Hook up a cable or satellite source and the TX-L37G15 will reward you with SD pictures that match anything in its class and will worry a number of screens costing a good deal more.

Panasonic do High Definition as well as any other manufacturer and this is the area in which the TX-L37G15 really shines. BBC or ITV HD channels on Freesat are presented with a sharpness and clarity that very few flat panel TV's can match. In fact you may find yourself watching these two HD channels whatever the TV schedule, just to experience the depth and realism the 10-bit panel can reproduce. If you can feed the screen some 1080p Blu-ray material, the results are simply stunning. The overall effect is a true home cinematic experience which at times almost compels you to reach out and touch the screen.

Again we are left contemplating the viability of a particular implementation of 100Hz processing. The addition of this component as a feature of LCD TV's is something that a number of manufacturers have toyed with for a number of years. In the eyes of many it has never really fulfilled its promise for delivering smoother motion. The implementation of 100Hz technology differs across manufacturers with the benefits remaining a matter for some strong debate. Set to 'High', Panasonics 100Hz implementation, IFC (Intelligent Frame Creation) in our opinion gives an over processed look, with noticeable picture artifacts with fast motion sequences. Set to 'Medium' the effects are more palatable but on the whole we prefer the picture with IFC turned off.

It came as a slight disappointment that the Black Level ability of the G15 couldn't quite deliver the stunning deep blacks we are used to seeing on Plasma screens and the better LCD TV's. Panasonic, once a leader in this particular area (with LCD TV's) seem to have been caught napping by the likes of Sony, who have made significant strides in this area. Admittedly, the very best 'LED' based LCD TV's are high end offerings, but there are now some mid range screens from other manufacturers which are better. Black levels on the TX-L37G15 are reasonably good, with virtually no hint of greyness, but lacking that very subtle fine detail that the best LCD TV's can produce across darker scenes.

Helped by a good black level response and testament once again to the processing abilities of V-real 4, colour on the L37G15 is a minor revelation. Tricky areas such as facial tones are presented with a realism that few LCD TV's can match. Colours display a glorious vibrancy which make colourful scenes come alive while at the same time never appearing over saturated.

As with virtually every other LCD TV we have come across, the acoustic performance of the TX-L37G15 fails to deliver a really convincing performance. The sound will never become a problem for day to day use but push it to the limit and its shortcomings are quickly revealed. Again, as with most TV's these days the lack of a really strong deep Bass sound is where the problem lies.

Conclusion

Like its G10 siblings, if it wasn't for an average black level response, Panasonic's TX-L37G15 could claim to be one of the best mid level LCD TV's around. As it is, excellent picture quality and dynamic colours make this screen a very good all round performer. You may be tempted to forgo the internet options in favour of the slightly cheaper G10 which has comparable performance.

Panasonic TX-L37G15 

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