Panasonic TX-L32ET5B review

Given how many features are crammed in to the Panasonic TX-L32ET5B, the set is by no means the hardest to operate. Its connections are all easily accessed, and face either sideways or downwards, so it can be positioned against a wall (although the rearward protruding speakers do give the TV a somewhat chunky depth of 4.5cm at the bottom).

We were slightly alarmed when we removed the attached Wi-Fi module from its USB socket and had trouble getting it to go back into position. This may explain why our review sample refused to acknowledge the presence of a wireless adaptor and forced us to use a wired ethernet connection.

The Viera Connect service on Panasonic's TX-L32ET5B is a cinch to use, although it isn't the quickest at changing menu screens.

Panasonic TX-L32ET5B review

The selection of portals and apps available is still unlikely to set your on-demand world on fire (no ITV Player, for example) but there's a handful of movie services (Fetch TV, Acetrax) and iPlayer is very user-friendly. The app store should of course grow.

Logging in to social media while simultaneously watching TV has the effect of reducing the live TV screen to a rather piddly 21-inches across, and while we were able to access Twitter, our attempts at satisfying Facebook's security procedures mysteriously failed.

The Panasonic TX-L32ET5B's remote control is passably decent, while the on-screen menu system isn't what you'd call sexy, although it is logically laid out.

Panasonic TX-L32ET5B review

As mentioned earlier, the 2012 GuidePlus EPG no longer features adverts that were a pane on older Panasonic TVs as well as a pain, and is much easier to use as a consequence.

It's good that when you select a show to watch, the EPG automatically offers you the choice of watching in HD or standard definition.

But it's not so good that you lose visual and aural contact with the live broadcast when using the EPG. At least you can set up to four favourite channel lists to help speed up the browsing process.

Panasonic TX-L32ET5B review

The USB media player on the Panasonic TX-L32ET5B admirably does its job with little fuss. Movies and photos are presented as recognisable icons, and we had no trouble playing a wide range of MOV, AVI, MP4, MKV and TS files, including DivX, MPEG and H.264 codecs.

Sound quality

Audio performance is above average for an LED-lit screen of this size. Those slightly bulky rear speakers manage to pump out decent mid- and upper-range sounds, while the Panasonic TX-L32ET5B's V-audio surround mode increases the spatial fill.

Value

The set certainly has a fantastically low power consumption, rated A in the now-compulsory EU rating chart. We measured it using around 40W, which is less than many old-school incandescent lightbulbs.

These days £700 is considered fairly pricey for a 32-inch TV, even a Freeview HD set, but replacing last year's £1,100 Panasonic TX-L32DT30B, the TX-L32ET5B looks like much better value.

The outgoing Samsung UE32D6510 is an active 3D model selling for around £650, but the specs are expensive and cost extra, while you get four pairs of passive specs with each Panasonic TX-L32ET5B for instant 3D family frolics.

You're also getting a Full HD panel, comprehensive multimedia features and plenty of picture processing options. For the same money you can of course buy a larger screen, but you'd be hard pressed to find one with so many cutting-edge features.