Panasonic has got its near-legendary plasma picture quality down to a three-figure price for the first time. And we're pleased to say that the price-cutting undertaken to produce the 37-inch TH-37PX70 doesn't seem to have suffered any significant compromises.
The 37-inch set shuns the slightly plasticky silver finish of Panasonic's previous PX60 range in favour of a more voguish and robust-looking black.
Connections, meanwhile, are fine for top-spec pictures, including as they do twin HDMIs, a component video input, a PC port, a CAM slot to support a built-in digital tuner and an RGB Scart. However, there are neither four-pin S-video nor RCA composite video inputs, unusually.
Perhaps surprisingly for such an affordable Panasonic plasma TV, the 37PX70 is equipped with some serious image processing power. Not least among its talents is a digital chipset able to accept and process full HD as well as polish up lower-quality material to 1080p standard.
The picture engine also includes some new, sophisticated noise reduction techniques: Panasonic's Real Black Drive system together with a new Deep Black Filter to help the TV achieve a stonking claimed contrast ratio of 10000:1. There's advanced colour management, too, and enough processing power to reproduce a claimed 3,072 steps of colour gradation.
The picture technology Panasonic has poured into the 37PX70 is 'up on screen' for all to see. Black levels are outrageously good by flat TV standards, with night scenes richly scaled, full of subtle shadow detailing. This has a knock-on effect into the 37PX70's colours too, which are both richly saturated and outstandingly natural in tone.
Fine detailing is good, too, helping the set look sharp and clear with high-definition sources, while elsewhere we are hugely impressed with the TV's handling of fast motion. The 37PX70 is additionally more than happy to show SD sources, which unusually by flat TV standards look clean, sharp and well scaled to the TV's 1024 x 720 resolution.