e30b

Sound

Despite its booty bulge, this is not a particularly bombastic box. It's capable of some stereophonic imaging, but there's no subwoofer for mid and low bass. The set's two 10w speakers are bolstered by a trio of acoustic settings: Music, Speech and User.

The latter enables you to tailor the sound of the TV using a simple equalizer for bass and treble. The preset Speech mode is rather telephonic, but Music is a decent all-rounder.

Panasonic tx-l37e30b

There's also a 'Surround mode' but this doesn't contribute anything meaningful. There's a selection of Audio Description controls. You can select AD to run automatically, as well as route it to the headphone output.

Value

Coming hot on the heels of last year's bargain-tastic TX-P37X20 plasma (which typically sells for less than £500), this new, thinner LED set appears distinctly overpriced. But there is some justification for the ticket.

The screen is well built with a forward-looking feature set. The TX-L37E30B 's video streaming talents are the best we've seen from the brand, the user interface has matured and Panasonic's Viera Connect proposal is looking extremely exciting.

Picture performance is accomplished, with good colour fidelity and crisp detail, although crank up IFC and you'll start to notice unpleasant artefacts: sticking with IFC at Mid should help to alleviate this.

Ease of use

Panasonic has been steadily improving its UI over the past 12 months, away from the generic windows of old but never staying too far from its salary-man demeanour. With the TX-L37E30B even more visual flair has crept into its presentation.

There are no big changes for the set's EPG though: it's still one of the least attractive around. There is no Live TV window (fast becoming standard on rival sets), and the space turned over to an advertising banner not only compromises the amount of room given to timeline listings, but is also intrusive on a conceptual level.

You can filter the Guide listing by Favourites and Free channels to make it more manageable. You can also hide unwanted DVB channels – adios, shopping channels ­– as well as editing position numbers. There is a Search function that enables you to scan programme titles for a keyword.

For those without a dedicated PVR, the TX-L37E30B will record to an external USB hard drive. The drive needs to be formatted by the TV and content is then locked to that specific set for playback (you can't take recordings on the road to watch on other devices). If you want the external drive to work with a PC again, you'll need to reformat it.

Be warned that XP won't recognise a Panasonic-blessed drive, which could be problematic. Of course, once the DVB tuner is committed to a recording onto an external HDD you can't then watch another channel. You can however pre-program recordings using the seven day EPG.

The TV ships with a standard generic Panasonic remote handset. We suspect there's a factory pumping out millions of these things, and the brand now has a bit of a surplus. This is the only reason we can think to explain why the zapper still has a button designated 'Viera Cast'.

Naturally, the TV is compliant with CEC HDMI interoperability. Panasonic calls it Viera Link, but it's a fair bet that other branded gizmos will work with this screen's CEC codes.

Panasonic sells a dedicated wall-bracket, the TY-WK3L2RW, if the pedestal is not to your liking. Other commercially available mounts are widely available.