In the current 'format war' between LCD and plasma flat TV technologies, the plasma team has no more vocal supporter than Panasonic.

Yet Panasonic's plasma love affair only applies to 37in or bigger screens - anything smaller and it goes the LCD route. But is the company's seemingly begrudging acceptance of LCD reflected in any shortcomings in its latest, good-looking 32in LCD TV?

Connectivity is impressive. Two HDMIs and a set of component inputs do HD video duties, supported by a D-Sub PC port, three Scarts, an SD card slot for direct playback of SD camera cards, and a CI subscription TV slot that instantly reveals the presence of a built-in digital tuner.

The TX-32LXD600 is HD Ready, of course, with a native resolution of 1366 x 768 backing up the HD connectivity. The set can't take 1080p signals, topping out at 1080i, though arguably this is no great shakes on a screen as small as 32in.

The TX-32LXD600 boasts Panasonic's V-Real picture processing engine for boosting detailing in standard definition sources, black levels and colours - among myriad other things. It's worth adding, too, that the set can automatically adjust its backlight brightness to potentially improve black levels during dark scenes.

Set to work on an HD DVD disc of King Kong, the TX-32LXD600 delivers a consistently excellent performance. Particularly striking is how rich and deep dark scenes look.

For instance, as the ship's crew is attacked by huge insects in the darkness in a ravine, the TX-32LXD600 has a much more credible stab at presenting a true black colour - complete with subtle shadow detailing - than many LCD rivals.

Great colours

Colours are outstanding too, with the extremely varied skin tones present throughout being delivered with impressive authenticity from start to finish, while richly coloured scenes such as those in Ann Darrow's Vaudeville theatre look exceptionally vibrant and solid.

The King Kong HD DVD is strikingly crisp and detailed - and this TV eats these talents for dinner, delivering particularly textured scenes such as the first encounter with Skull Island's violent natives with phenomenal accuracy.

Furthermore the TX-32LXD600 suffers less with motion blur than many LCD rivals, is unusually capable by LCD standards when it comes to showing standard definition, and produces rich, potent soundtrack moments (like Kong's rampage through New York) with bags of clarity and frequency range.

In fact, aside from a sporadic tendency to judder a touch with fast picture pans, the TX-32LXD600 is almost flawless, proving in no uncertain times that while Panasonic might favour plasma for large screens, its approach to LCD is anything but half-baked.