|Panasonic TC-32LX20 LCD HDTV|
|Home Theater Flat Panel HDTVs LCD HDTVs|
|Written by Bryan Southard|
|Monday, 01 November 2004|
Page 2 of 3
Television, HDTV and Movies
“Bruce Almighty” (Universal Studios Home Video) was one of last year’s brighter comedies and a great movie for video evaluation, with combinations of dark and light scenes. In Chapter Four, as Bruce (Jim Carrey) prepares for his news scene at Niagara Falls, I watched as the water fell at a distance. The detail in the white water was quite clear and void of distracting artifacts. Colors in Bruce’s umbrella-hat were deep and rich, and very satisfying. The picture had considerable depth and detail when supplied with a 480p feed.
Chapter Eight provided a much more challenging scenario with the white suit of God (Morgan Freeman) against his dark skin. The skin tones were good but could look a bit washed out when compared to their depiction via CRT tubes. The overall contrast in the scene was on par for LCD displays I have seen, yet was short of a theatrical standard. When I later compared this scene to my high-contrast eight-inch CRT projection system, I found the TC-32LX20’s black levels were respectably good but sometimes tended to make scenes look abnormally bright. In direct comparison to the Sharp Aquos set, they displayed similar contrast, with the overall edge going to the Sharp. This is not a knock directed specifically toward the Panasonic as much as it is an indication of what to expect from LCD displays in general.
I loaded up “Legally Blonde” (MGM Home Entertainment). I like this pressing for its deep rich color schemes and over the top costumes. In Chapter Five when Elle (Reese Witherspoon) explains to her father that she plans to attend Harvard, the detail in the water surrounding her silhouette was very good and provided a true three-dimensional image. Edges were clean and there was little video noise. In Chapter Eight, Elle’s pink hat and colorful pink and blue shirt was clear and detailed, with very good skin tones. The Panasonic TC-32LX20 provided an enjoyable picture, one that would be the envy of most who viewed it. Throughout this movie, I was taken by the TC-32LX20’s ability to control fast motion and to reproduce vibrant colors. I walked around the room to test the TC-32LX20 from side viewing angles and there was little to no degradation as I wandered from center position. This is particularly important for those who plan to place the display in a room with many viewing positions away from the center. This test knocks out nearly all rear-projected sets.
I next changed to an HDTV feed from a DirecTV tuner. The 720p native resolution feeds looked fantastic. When I stepped beyond a few feet, the images were perfect and even diagonal motion was clear. Images were notably sharp and details were very good. I next tuned into ESPN’s Sunday Night Football. Details in the helmets, including the light refection from the overhead stadium lights, were perfectly formed and accurate. Colors were again well reproduced. The high resolutions made the images, even when in motion, appear as though I was looking through a glass window. As the cameras pan out, there is some blur and lack of detail, primarily due to the amount of pixels available for a smaller images, yet the Panasonic TC-32LX20 was a solid player for HD broadcasts. Faces in the crowd were detailed enough to recognize your co-worker who may have called in sick earlier that day to play hooky at a game. NTSC television feeds were adequate. While watching my local news, images were far from crisp, yet were very good for this inferior broadcast standard. I then set the sidebars for black when viewing 4:3 feeds. The lack of contrast became very evident, yet I can be easily satisfied with its picture while I wait for my local news station to buck up big time for local news in HD.