The TX-L37E30B , once you've reined in the Sharpness and calmed down Brightness, performs extremely well. Colours are vibrant, gradations are smooth and there's a decent amount of shadow detail. However, the screen is not preternaturally dark, meaning deep blacks aren't as persuasive as you might expect.
Picture parameter controls are extensive. Various viewing modes are available (Dynamic, Normal, Cinema, True Cinema, Game and Photo), some of which do a reasonable job. Dynamic, however, illuminated our viewing room like a distress flare. Not recommended for those with sensitive eyeballs.
Standard picture processing tweaks include C.A.T.S. (Contrast Automatic Tracking System), which adjusts settings depending on ambient room lighting, P-NR (Picture Noise Reduction) noise reduction and 3D-Comb, which makes a stab at reducing moiré patterning on slow or still images. A useful rule of thumb is to turn all of these off until you feel a need to reinstate them.
To help combat motion blur is a 200 BLB (100Hz with 100 cycle Blinking Backlight) iteration of the brand's proprietary Intelligent Frame Creation Pro picture processor. This offers a choice of gears: Off, Mid or Max. With IFC off, the motion picture resolution of the set drops from a static 1,080 lines to around 660 lines. Panning is inherently smooth and there are no artefacts.
With IFC on Mid, more detail is pulled into the image: motion resolution climbs to around 700 lines. However, at this point predictive ringing artefacts around moving objects – people, horses, anything with legs – become noticeable if you make a point of looking for them. Stepping up to Max with IFC brings yet more detail.
A test pattern developed by the Advanced PDP Development Centre, featuring an ever-decreasing graticule grid, confirmed motion resolution to be high on this setting, between 900-1000 lines, when scrolling horizontally at 6.5ppf. We noted only a slight loss of clarity when we accelerated the test pattern to 12.5ppf. Unfortunately, motion artefacts caused by IFC become quite intrusive at this level.
One telling motion test involves horizontally scrolling English and Japanese text, of variable size. At 50 per cent luminance, with IFC on Max, the smaller characters begin to smudge, making for bleary reading.
In addition to Intelligent Frame Creation picture processing, there's also 24p Smooth Film and Clear Cinema. Essentially, these are the modes you'll want to use if you're keen for all feature films to have the video sheen of a soap opera.
For HD sources it is advisable to disable the Overscan option in the Advanced Settings of the Picture menu. Usefully, this can be memorised for just HD content. You can also choose from a selection of aspect ratios (assorted picture zooms, 4:3, 14:9 and 16:9) when required.
The LED light source is generally uniform when viewed square on, but it is directional. This is because the screen is lit by a strip of LED bulbs across the bottom. Glance at the screen top down and those LEDs will make their ghostly presence felt, particularly on the lower right hand side of the screen. This directionality should be factored into any placement.