Panasonic TX-32A400 review

A good value HD-ready TV that offers clean and contrasty pictures from all sources

Panasonic DMP-BDT360
Great Value

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A live broadcast of Italy Vs Uruguay on BBC One HD provides ample examples of the 32A400's strengths and weaknesses. Although it might lack the ultimate detail to get the most out of a Blu-ray disc, the 32A400 is very much at home with Freeview HD fare.

Images appear not only detailed but also spotlessly clean and fluent, with plenty of contrast, lusciously deep blacks, and bold, well-saturated colours all present during the anthems and pre-match build-up. To achieve this kind of performance two things are necessary: a HD channel, and the use of the 32A400's cinema mode.

Cinema is one of four preset viewing modes, the others being dynamic, normal and true cinema. Those first two feature forced contrast and an overly bright backlight, while the latter is confusingly undistinguishable from the cinema mode; both put the backlight on half-power. Some tweaks are needed, but overall there's a very clean image.

Panasonic 32A400

As with most TVs the presets aren't great, but you can tweak them easily

But there are problems with the 32A400's image. During Brazil Vs Cameroon on ITV 1 HD I noticed a touch of picture noise in backgrounds, the odd jagged edge and, most problematic of all, some motion blurring. It's actually not as bad a problem as you'd normally expect on such a low-cost TV; there's only a definite loss of resolution as the camera scans during close-ups, and again during rapid shots that follow shots on goal.

The moving pitch never seems to be shown in its full detail, but switch to regular TV on a HD channel – such as news or drama – and the 32A400 hardly puts a foot wrong.

Swap to a standard definition channel, however, and the 32A400's use of a HD-ready rather than a Full HD panel begins to reveal a massive advantage. During the action in The Hunger Games on Channel 4 the images are soft, but clean, with few motion artefacts and a lack of picture noise. It's a comfy watch.

Panasonic 32A400

Occasionally there can be some noise present in the backgrounds

Hooked-up to a Blu-ray player, the 32A400 handles Gravity reasonably well. There's little sign of star-fields in backgrounds; instead the 32A400 displays an ironically named 'black hole' approach to contrast that hides ultimate detail and instead puts a block of black where textured detail exists. During dark scenes I also noticed a few small blotches of light in the lower right-hand corner.

Viewing angles on the 32A400 are reasonably good, with colours remaining fairly bold even when watched from the wings. However, there's a distinct drop in black levels and contrast, though it shouldn't affect general TV viewing.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),