Panasonic tx-l37dt30b

The full HD panel of the TX-L37DT30B uses edge LED backlighting, which works thus: instead of an 'always on' fluorescent panel behind the screen a series of LED lights strapped around the – you guessed it – edges (in this case, just the top and bottom) of the panel fire light across the back to illuminate the panel.

Being able to switch on and off dynamically enables massively improved contrast compared with conventional LCDs, while the space-efficient diodes enable breathtakingly slender cabinets (just 72mm deep, in this case).

This is one of the most attractive TVs in the 2011 crop, with a rather classy fine titanium finish on the frame that's typical of the simple, subtle design.

Elsewhere on the picture side is high-speed drive system to get rid 3D of crosstalk – a major issue on sets like this during 2010 – and a dynamic contrast feature called Contrast Auto Tracking System (C.A.T.S.) that fans of moodier, more cinematic pictures will get an instant high from. Also here is Panasonic's 400Hz Intelligent Frame Creation circuitry, which is designed to prevent blur and image echoes during fast-moving scenes.

Aside from 3D compatibility, the best feature on the TX-L37DT30B is the Viera Connect online service, which now boasts a totally refreshed roll call of content providers. A load of free games and info-apps can be downloaded from an app store icon (all are free), but it's the appearance of the BBC iPlayer that alone makes this a genuinely engaging service.

If the chance to banish the laptop from the living room isn't enough, there's plenty more to divert you in Viera Connect; ignore the needlessly Euro-centric German and French language news services and head straight to streamed movies from Acetrax. It's an excellent service to rival Lovefilm and it's accompanied by apps for Screenrush (movie trailers), YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, Dailymotion, Euronews, Shoutcast and Bloomberg.

Skype video calling is also possible, but with both a compatible camera and a Wi-Fi dongle costing £130 and £80 respectively, we'll give them a miss.

The TX-L37DT30B sees the return to mainstream Panasonic TVs of a built-in Freesat HD tuner to accompany the must-have Freeview HD gubbins. Better still is the chance to record TV straight to an external hard-disk drive via a rear USB port, though even a cheap 2GB memory stick instantly creates a really useful pause/rewind TV experience. It's not exactly Sky+, but it's a feature that's thankfully fast becoming standard on mainstream TVs.

Other hardware strapped to the TX-L37DT30B includes four HDMI connections, component video, digital optical audio output, PC input, Scart, composite video and some stereo phono in and outputs. Audio, meanwhile, is graced with Panasonic's V-Audio ProSurround sound technology.