Panasonic TH-L32X15D 32″ Wide LCD Television


Review of Panasonic TH-L32X15D Television
Review of Panasonic TH-L32X15D Television

For a couple of years now I have been doling out “expert ;-)” advice to my friends regarding which LCD Television to buy for their home/offices. This festival season we decided to take the plunge, having waited long enough for the cost/inch to drop below Rs. 1000. I guess the time had come for me to practice what I preached.

Buying an LCD TV is way harder than just visiting the store and being wowed by their LCD wall and glib sales-people. That said, I think the quality of technical sales-people in Hyderabad has improved quite a lot. During my exercise to buy the LCD TV, many of them turned up to be quite knowledgeable earned my respect; on prior occasions I would openly vent my frustration at their lack of knowledge by making un-parliamentary comments giving them a disdainful look.

At start, we decided that we needed a TV of 32″ size. I owned a Philips 21″CRT TV and for my small drawing room, it proved to be sufficient. When I bought the TV in 2002, it cost me Rs. 18,500/- (Rs. 880/inch) and the image quality after 7 years of service was as impeccable as the day I had bought it. I would have happily relegated it to be my secondary television had it not been an acute lack of space in my house.

While most LCD TVs being sold in this season are ‘Under Exchange’, the store valuation of my TV varied between Rs. 500/- to Rs. 1,500/-. I found a buyer for my CRT TV at Rs. 3,500/- and to our mutual satisfaction, I let go of my old love.

I checked out LCD TVs from 19″ Wide up-to 47″ and decided that the optimum size which I should go in for would be 32″. Just enough prestige without breaking the bank. Hey! I am not gonna live in this small rented apartment all my life!!

Size being fixed, the other parameters which I considered for evaluation were:

  • Image quality
  • Full-HD (1920 x 1080)  vs. HD-Ready (1366 x 768) resolution
  • No. of inputs: HDMI, Component, S-Video, Composite, VGA
  • Speakers: Speaker placement, Power Output
  • USB: USB Slot, Card Reader, JPEG Player, MP3 Player, DivX / XviD / MP4 Player
  • Aesthetics

The various products on offer were from well-known brands like LG, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Videocon & Onida. I disregarded brands like Haier since it is actually a chinese manufacturer (like TCL) which goes under a German sounding name. Just like TCL, in India, I don’t expect Haier to survive. For some reason, Philips was not at all available. For a while now, I have been unable to purchase Philips TFT monitors and the only store which displayed Philips TV was e-Zone in Banjara Hills which had a couple of old Philips LCD TVs displaying Sat-TV. Not for sale, I was told.

$$$

My first criterion was price. I was willing to pay up-to Rs. 1,000/inch. While I was looking for a better deal, I was not averse to paying a slight premium for an outstanding TV. The Panasonic had a few models on display in sizes from 26″ – 42″. The price being between Rs. 1,000/in to 1,700/in.

Image Quality

My second criterion was image quality. Most stores set the TVs to display images in ‘Vivid’ color. On most TVs this is done by setting the Image quality to ‘Dynamic’. I let this be and requested that all TVs on the wall be tuned to National Geographic. The brand to score the best impression was Videocon. The image quality on the Videocon was very good indeed. Colors were natural and devoid of any color cast (no excess red/blue/greeen). While on every other brand, the sky was a washed out white, on the Videocon it was a pale blue. Sadly though, I have never owned a Videocon and my Videocon CRT TV owners did not have good things to say. So the brand was eliminated.

While the rest of the brands displayed images that were near identical, the images on Sony were lackluster when compared. Also, Sony TVs command a premium which is not justifiable given their less than average bundle of features. Sony was eliminated due to over-pricing & less-than-stellar features.

It is worth noting that on LG, the images looked really good but a look at the menu options revealed that this was at Color & Contrast settings of almost 100%. On other TVs, the settings were just at 50-70%, giving them a lot more head-room enhance images. This in-fact was discovered by my friend Kamal Namburi.

Full-HD. What the ‘F’ is that?

The next factor to consider was Full-HD vs. HD-Ready. This is something that is not very well understood in India. Technically, Full-HD means the panel can display images up-to 1920 x 1080 pixels (2 million pixels), while HD-Ready panels display images up-to 1366 x 768 pixels (1 million pixels). Thus in a Full-HD panel, while the number of pixels is doubled, it is only wider & taller by 40% when compared to a HD-Ready panel.

Note that Full-HD content is only available in Blue-Ray movies. Television broadcast in India is still stuck at Standard Definition (SD) which is at 720 x 576 pixels (37% of Full HD resolution). DVDs are limited to 720 x 576 too. Video-CDs are even worse at just 352 x 288 (18% of Full HD). This means that when you play SD content on a Full-HD TV, the image is scaled by a factor 2.6 before being displayed. This results in an extremely blurry image. Apart from Blue-Ray movies, a few personal video-cameras too record in Full-HD. Since this kind of usage is likely to be less than 1% of total TV viewing in a month, I shall discount it from being a killer app.

Since it was unlikely that I would be buying a Blue-Ray player anytime soon or would be able to download and play Full-HD video anytime soon, I decided to go for a HD-Ready or Full-HD panel. Full-HD panel would add points in favor but not be a game changer.

Onida Diamond & LG had Full-HD 32″ panels. Samsung & Panasonic only had HD-Ready panels in 32″ size.

Inputs

While buying LCD TVs for my friends, if there is one thing I have realized, it is the importance of having sufficient inputs. To a LCD, I would typically connect – one or more Satellite TV boxes, DVD Player, Game machine like PS2/3 or Wii, Computer or Media Player device like Western Digital TV & my Canon Handycam. So I would need 4-5 inputs straight away. Satellite TV only uses low-end Composite video & Computer output is over VGA but can be converted to HDMI. DVD Player, Games Machines & Media Players generally connect over HDMI for best performance.

Most TVs had at-least 2 HDMI ports. The Panasonic L32X has 3 HDMI ports, 2 composite inputs & 1 S-Video/Composite input. All TVs had a single PC/VGA input. I prefer that Tvs provide Composite, S-Video & Component Inputs at each input port, giving me utmost flexibility in connectivity. Most TVs had Composite & Component inputs in each port. A few also had S-Video on AV2 & AV3, while the Panasonic featured S-Video only on AV3. Perhaps S-Video is a dying breed since cables for it are expensive and not easily sourced, whereas HDMI is becoming popular and component video-output is present on almost all devices.

In layman’s terms, Composite video (Single Yellow cable) uses a single cable to transmit video signal. This severely limits the color gamut & signal Q factor that can be transmitted due to limited bandwidth. In effect, when composite video is viewed on a large TV, the video will appear to lack detail (blurry), have noise/interlacing/comb effects & appear dull in color.

S-Video uses two cables (single connector has 4 pins) to transmit the video. This doubles the available bandwidth and increases Sharpness & Color gamut of the video noticeably.

Component uses three cables (RGB) to transmit the video. This provides the best video quality.

HDMI has an advantage of using a single cable to transmit the video along with audio. Video over HDMI has the same clarity and color has component. The video signal does not suffer from interference easily and there is no clarity loss even if the cable is extra long (default 5-6 feet). HDMI also carries audio (encoded and compressed digital audio, up-to 7.1 channels) over the same cable and this really reduces the number of cables required to connect. If a DVD Player were to be connected to a Receiver/Amp using conventional cables, it would require (9 cables = 3 for component video, 6 for 5.1 audio); using HDMI this is reduced to just one!

Pump Up The Volume

I had decided to connect my existing basic Home Theater system to the mix and planned an upgrade to a mid-end Home Theater setup. Hence, I was not looking for loud-thumping sound from the TV. The Onida CRT TV (with sub-woofer) that my dad tends to blast has a sound output worse than the Creative SBS 5.1 speaker set connected to my computer. I had decided that sound should be left to a device that specializes in it. However, I was looking for clear stereo audio from the TV. Tinny audio without any semblance of low-end is not acceptable.

The Onida had the best sound of all. Two large speakers placed at the back of the LCD, producing nice large sound. All other TVs either featured side-panel speakers or down-firing speakers. Miraculously, despite the tine size of the speakers, these TVs produced audio that was clear and could be heard over the loud din of the various shops I was visiting. The Panasonic has basic equalizer controls and surround modes. The surround modes were disappointing but the equalizers were ok to boost up the treble.

Note that it was essential that every TV provide at-least one ‘audio-video output’ (aka Monitor-out), so that I could connect the audio output from the TV into the Home Theatre Amp. All TVs that I checked had this feature.

Features

A few confusing features found scattered across brands were Memory Card Reader, USB  connector, Divx compatibility, 100/200 Hz scan, Bluetooth, Device Linking etc.

Samsung, Panasonic featured a SD Card Reader which could display JPEG images stored on it. I think the Samsung also plays MP3 files stored on the card but the Panasonic does not. Onida & LG featured USB ports. Onida Diamond could read MP3 audio & Divx movies stored on a USB key and play them flawlessly. Since I was going in for a new DVD player that featured a USB port & Divx compatibility, this feature was not important to me.

While most TVs display TV broadcast at 50 Hz (the screen is redrawn 50 times a second), A few models in LG featured 100 Hz & 200 Hz refresh. The Panasonic featured 100 Hz refresh. The utility of higher refresh speed becomes evident if you set the display to a financial channel that a fast moving ticker the bottom of the screen.

On most TVs, the ticker tape information appeared quite blurry. The LG 100 Hz TVs displayed an image that was reasonably sharp & the 200 Hz TV displayed a sharper image. The Panasonic 100 Hz TV displayed a image as sharp as the LG 200 Hz TV. Please also note that I was comparing a Panasonic 32″ TV with a LG 47″ TV. Hence,  in all fairness I would give equal marks to LG & Panasonic on this count. Increased refresh rate should also be matched with low pixel-response times. A LCD panel with 2-4 ms response times will give you an outstanding image even in fast moving scenes.

She’s Got The Look

Aesthetics wise, Samsung has a dated look. Their curved-crystal look came to the scene almost 3 years back and has not changed since. The Panasonic had a glossy rounded all-black look while the LG had a funky look with curves, highlights, glowing lights at front. I ranked the Panasonic higher since I wanted the TV to have contemporary looks with the least amount of distraction it’s face. The Videocon in-fact had a blue LED in front which glowed really bright. This would completely spoil the fun of watching a movie in a darkened room.

PC Connectivity

I carried my Asus EeePC 900HA Laptop (Netbook featuring a 8.9″ screen) with me to test PC connectivity. No store I visited had a VGA cable or Computer/Notebook at hand to demonstrate PC connectivity. Their concept of high-end demo was to play a Blue-Ray demo disc. I in-fact saw a LG Demo disc on a Sony TV and vice-versa.

I plan to connect a computer to this TV permanently an use it extensively. Imagine being able to switch between watching TV, playing a movie and checking an email by the press of a button. Imaging being able to read the review of a movie on IMDB just before begining to watch it on TV. Imaging being able rave/bitch about a program with friends over instant messenger just as you are watching the program.

To my horror, PC connectivity gave me a lot of pain. To the extent that I resigned myself and stopped testing. For starters, it appeared that except LG, none of the TVs were returning DDC information. This meant that the Intel Graphics present on the laptop was unable to determine the display resolutions & timings supported by the TVs. The Intel driver by default allowed me access to mostly 4:3 resolutions, while all TVs were 16:9. Display resolutions like VGA (640×480), SVGA (800×600) & XGA (1024×768) were supported by all TVs. The Onida momentarily switched to SXGA (1280×1024) and refused to enter the mode again. Panasonic switched to SXGA but you could make out that it was not the optimum resolutions (flickering lines). None of the TVs switched to a 16:9 resolution (1280×720) and the display drivers did not have an option for WSXGA (1366×768).

I resigned myself to using 1024×768 on which-ever brand of TV I purchased and either tweaking Windows to support SXGA to using a Graphics Accelerator with HDMI output to achieve HD-Ready or Full-HD resolutions.

A point of note here: Except Samsung, No TV provided a dedicated audio-input for the PC. The audio of the PC would have to be shared with AV2. This meant that if you have a computer connected to the TV, you would essentially sacrifice the video ports of AV2 in favor of PC audio. On the Panasonic this reduced the effective number of Composite & Component inputs to just 2 & 1 respectively (Component/Composite AV1, Composite/S-Video AV3).

LCD Panel

The Panasonic used an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel which promises better colors across a wide angle view (178 degress). While IPS panels were available in LG, Samsung etc., the Panasonic was the only one to claim ‘Panel Made in Japan’. It turns out that Panasonic makes it’s own panels while other TV manufacturers source their panels from OEM suppliers such as LG & Samsung. Read more

The way IPS panels are displayed in the market is quite misleading: LG invites you to knock the panel. True enough, gently knocking/pressing the LCD panel on the LG TVs featuring IPS panels does not introduce any image distortion, while on the non-IPS panel TVs, there is characteristic LCD distortion. Though the Panasonic uses a IPS panel, knocking/pressing actually displays a distortion of the image which disappears quickly. This can be explained by the fact that LG panels feature a glass layer in front which prevents pressure on the glass from being transmitted onto the LCD.

IPS panels were not invented to prevent image distortions caused by viewers continuously knocking the panels. It was invented to provide much better angle of viewing without any significant loss of brightness or color inversions. Score 1 for Panasonic for not using bull-shit to explain IPS technology.

The million dollar question

At the end of the day when it came to making the decision, I chose the Panasonic TH-L32X15D. This model displayed the best image quality and the settings left plenty of headroom for me to tweak the image. The number of inputs was ok, the aesthetics, sound quality optimum. Panasonic also had a lucky draw in which won a Benetton Men’s Watch. Also included with the TV was a wall-mounting kit. No connecting cables were included. The remote included batteries. The package was compact enough to load into my Maruti 800 and bring home and install by myself.

While the retail price of the TV is Rs. 44,000/-, the festival offer was for Rs. 41,500/-. After rather severe haggling, my friend Kamal managed to bring the price down-to Rs. 38,000/-, giving me a cost per inch of Rs. 1,187/in.

Customer Action Shot - Panasonic TH-L32X15D LCD TV
Panasonic TH-L32X15D installed at my home.

The Bad, The Ugly and The Evil

I love trashing technology and the first thing I did after I installed the TV at home was to look for bad aspects of the TV which are easily overlooked in the showroom.

Color Casting Couch

The first thing I noticed that the image being displayed from the Tata Sky set-top box (connected to AV1 over composite cable) had a red-cast. Tomatoes look bloody and Indian women look like Russians at a sauna. This color-cast is absent if viewing images off a SD-Card or over PC/VGA input. It appears that this color-cast affects images that are received over Composite video. The solution to this problem is to set the Color Temperature (from the Picture menu) of the image to ‘Cool’ instead of ‘Normal’ or’Warm’. I would be testing this TV using a Onida DVD Player (over HDMI & Component) in the next few days and will have an update on this issue.

SD Card Limitations

The included SD Card reader images JPG images up-to 10 MP and scales them well to display on the screen. The TV in fact has a slide show option with 3 types of transitions and 3 looping music clips in-built. On the flip side, the TV does not support playback of MP3 & popular video formats like Divx. The TV supports playback of AVCHD video from the SD Card.

AVCHD is the video format used by Blue-Ray discs and Video cameras by Panasonic that record on Hard-discs & DVDs in HD-Ready & Full-HD formats. While I will be using either the DVD Player or Computer to play the various Divx & MKV format movies that I have, if I choose to use the SD Card I would be required to convert all the videos into AVCHD format.

Warranty

Though the paper advertisement claimed 3 year extended warranty for Panasonic televisions during their ‘Bollywood Dreams’ offer this festive season, I was informed by company personnel that this TV only featured a 1 year warranty. In fact, all TVs I checked only had 1 year warranty. The same TVs in USA feature a 3 year warranty. Company policy on dead-pixel LCD replacement was also unclear. It is neither mentioned in the manual (just says that some dead/stuck pixels are normal) nor on Panasonic’s website.

Closing Ceremony

I have the TV installed on the stand provided (compact, swivelling, heavy) in the drawing room and the wall-mouting bracket in my bedroom. Should I get cranky, I can easily shift the TV from it’s drawing room stand and relocate it to the bedroom.

There’s ton of issues that I am yet to test. HDMI connectivity from PC, tweaking VGA to support WXGA /WSXGA resolutions, Color-cast test, pixel response test etc. etc.

Updates if any will be available right here. So be sure to check back.

Update 2009-11-02:

It’s been close to 3 weeks that I have been using the TV now and now understand it’s limits. Here are a few gripes:

  • Computer Connectivity: This model does not transmit DDC information to computer via VGA port, hence it’s a royal pain to connect a computer to the TV and being able to select the optimum resolution of 1366×768. It however connects to HDMI enabled computers quite well. I connected a latest HP Laptop to the TV using HDMI cable and not only did the laptop detect the TV& it’s optimum resolution, but the TV also received audio from the laptop via HDMI (thanks to HP for sending audio via HDMI port).
  • Color Gamut: The TV has a good color gamut & passable contrast. When watching movies with a mix of dark & bright areas, images appeared lively but dark grays turned out to be blacks. Playing ‘Half Blood Prince’ via computer-over-HDMI bought out details very well and the experience was really enjoyable, but shadow details were missing. Playing games using the HP Laptop & the PS3 (connected using HDMI) really demonstrated the vivid picture quality of the TV. Images jumped off the screen and color were so vivid, they hurt.
  • Sound: Sound is pathetic. Nothing even remotely good can be said about it. Any sound that has even a slight bass in it, made the speakers flutter horribly and completely destroyed the fun. While watching House M.D. on the TV was fun, the flutter of the speakers in the title music (Teardrops by Massive Attack) gave a bitter taste. Have to connect a Home Theater /External Speakers for decent sound.

Update 2009-11-27:

Test Pattern #1
Test Pattern #1

Over the last few weeks I have been noticing the degrading image quality on this TV. The color gamut of the TV has narrowed considerably to a point where the image on it looks like that of a 15 year old CRT! To visualize the bad image quality, remember the red-background image on which Discovery Travel & Living announced the program name (when returning from a break). The image has delicate shades of red-gray, forming a web like pattern. Well, I don’t see any shades. Just a fluoroscent red background on which the program name appears in white.

Technically (I have demonstrated this to Panasonic Service Centre using PC connectivity), if you view the test pattern #1 on this TV, the leftmost 4 blocks of each color are reduced to black and the righmost 3-4 bars of each color are reduced to a single colour. In other words, I don’t see fine gradations in colours anymore. As a result, in Raymond’s ads, I no longer see a man wearing a suite with fine fabric detail and highlight – just a man wearing a ink-black suit. No other details visible.

Test Pattern #2
Test Pattern #2

I have demonstrated this fact to Panasonic technical staff and I am waiting for a resolution.

Update 2009-12-09:

I was invited to a brand new Panasonic exclusive showroom by the company service staff. I connected my Asus Netbook to multiple 32″ TVs to check the image quality. I used Test Pattern #1 & #2. Most of the TVs displayed a marked lack of gray levels. The bottom (up-to 4 bars from left) of each colour & gray is just pitch black. The top end (up-to 4 bars from right) of merged into the brightest shade. This means that if a person wears a navy-suit in the image, you will see pitch black. No details (fibre, shadows, highlights). Also in images of Tomato, you will see the entire tomato as fluorescent red! No shades of red.

Also, the upper end models of Panasonic suffer from this problem very acutely, while the lower end models fare slightly better. In their attempt at making images vivid on more expensive models, Panasonic has messed up the electronics to an extent where the only color bars you see in the test pattern are the ones in the middle of the spectrum. In light of this events, I will advise you to steer clear of the Panasonic TVs until they sort these problems out.

Now that the local service personnel understand the problem, I will have a tough challenge of convincing the Panasonic babus at Head-office.

Links:
Link to Manufacturer’s website about Panasonic TH-L32x15D

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51 responses to “Panasonic TH-L32X15D 32″ Wide LCD Television”

  1. Dear friend,

    I PERCHASE PANASONIC LCD TV MODEL TX-32LX 800C BUT IN THIS MODEL SOUND IS DISTORED, COMPANY TECH PERSONS CHANGE THE SPEAKERS BUT PROBLEM IS STILL THERE THEN CHANGE MAIN BOARD STILL PROBLEM IS THERE AFTER THEY DICIDED TO CHANGE MODEL AND GIVE ME REPLACEMNT AND CHANGE MODEL GIVE ME SAME MODEL AS YOU HAVE TH-32LX15D BUT PECTURE QUALITY IS DETORIAED AS COMPARED TO PREVOIUS MODEL AND SOUND PROBLEM IS ALSO IN THIS MODEL. I COMPLAINE SO MANY TIME BUT THE PEOPLE INTERNALLY AGREE THAT SOME SNEEZING SOUND IS THERE BUT NOT AGREE WITH ME . AS PER MY DESCRIPTION WHEN WE PUT ON MUSIC SETTING BASS +4 OR MORE AND TREBLE +4 OR MORE AT THAT TIME SOUND IS DESTROTED VOLUME IS UP TO 50 THEY PEOPLE ADVICE KEEP THIS SETTING LESS ( MINUS) THAT MEANSE MUSIC ON SPEECH SETTING SO AS PER YOUR KNOWDLEGE WHAT COULD BE THE PROBLEM. AFTER USING AIR TEL DISC PICTURE QUALITY IS EXCELLENT NO PROBLEM BUT SOUND PROBLEM IS PERSIST .

    THANKS

    DR. JAGDISH VAHGASIA

    • Dear Dr. Jagdish,

      The Panasonic TV features really tiny speakers which are mounted in bottom firing position. If the audio is even slightly bassy, the speakers flutter quite horribly. Unfortunately, this is by design and no amount of speaker replacement will fix it. While for day-to-day viewing, this is acceptable, for enjoying movies and music the sound quality falls woefully short.

      TVs like Onida & LG (Jazz) feature large speakers for much higher quality audio, but I recommend that users desirous of high quality sound opt to connect home-theatre/2.1 speaker systems instead.

      You can buy quality 2.1 speaker systems in the market for around 1,500/- only. You should connect these speakers to the audio connectors (red-white) of AV-Out connectors (at back of TV). Whenever you feel the need to enjoy loud & punchy sound, switch on the external speakers.

      HTH

  2. Dear friend

    thank u for your satisfactory advice. i am already using sony home theater there is no sound problme with them. suppose dealer offer to change company then it is advisable to take sony brevia if yes then which series is advisable in 32 inch

    • Dear Dr. Jagdish,

      You have a wonderful friend in your dealer. Most dealers will completely wash their hands off their customers the moment the customer walks off the store with the product.

      If the dealer has proposed a Sony Bravia model as replacement, it is likely to cost you a few thousands in upgrade price since Sony TVs tend to be more expensive.

      In my testing, I found that Sony TVs did not score well either on the image front, the audio front or feature-set front. TV’s from LG & Samsung scored the best.

      I cannot recommend a specific model of Sony LCD Tv since there are too many confusing models, but I can give a few hints that you can use while selecting the appropriate model for you.

      Look for:

      Display speed: Ask the dealer to change the channel to CNBC-Awaz/CNBC-TV18. Look at the bottom of the image for the scrolling news. CNBC channels display this information at such high speed that most LCD TVs present a blurry text. CRT & Plasma TVs suffer less. The LCD TV with the sharpest text wins this match.

      Color Gamma: Ask the dealer to change the channel to Nate-Geo/Discovery/Animal-Planet. Look for scenes with Sky. Most TVs have difficulty in producing blue skies, particularly if the video was shot on a bright day and the sky is pale-blue. On most TVs the sky gets washed out and appears white. The TV with the best sky wins this match.

      Color Saturation: Ask the dealer to switch to a Saas-Bahu channel. Look for skin tones of the women. Most TVs over-emphasize the red and Indian women look as pink as Russians in a sauna. The TV with the normal skin-tone wins this match.

      Color Contrast: Ask the dealer to play a DVD movie. In any scene that contains bright images, look for dark areas. Most TVs use ‘Dynamic Contrast’ which hides the actual black-levels that the TV can produce. In bright scenes, dark areas often appear as ‘Grey’ instead of black. The TV with the darkest grey wins this match.

      Note: For the purpose of testing, please ensure that the dealer is using a Set-top box(Tata Sky/Airtel/Reliance Big-TV) for playing broadcast content and a DVD-Player is connected using Component/HDMI cable for playing movies. DVD player connected to TV using Composite connector (single Yellow cable) will not do. Also ensure that the TVs are placed side by side to make it easier for you to compare the images simultaneously and sound has been muted on each TV to prevent distraction.

      Hope this helps,
      – Rajib

  3. Dear frined,

    Thank u for your kind support and valuable advice, i will take your advice in future also when ever any electronic item.

    I am radiologist. in surat ( gujarat) i have x-ray , sonography and CT scan center in surat.

    thanks once again

    keep in touch

    many many thanks

    Dr. jagdish vaghasia

  4. Dear Mr.Rajb, I am speechless…amazing..extra-ordinary…simply the best described..I have never came through such technical descriprtion..many many thanks

  5. Mr. Rajib,

    Great insight for novices like me to know everything about LCD TVs. Thanks a ton for the information and waiting to know more!

    Cheers,
    Priya

  6. Hi,
    My name is jaideep and am from Chennai.
    Really Really good. Am a layman when it comes to LCD TV’s , but your info – pro’s and con’s , wow FANTASTIC. It would great if you would continue to do reviews for many common but nessesary electronic goods that are bought by people , cause yours was THE BEST that i’ve read .
    Just Keep up your very proffesional work.
    Thank you.
    Jaideep.

  7. Dear Mr Rajib,

    Thanks for the wonderful insight. Just wanted to know what is your take on Onida Diamond 32″

    • Dear Abhishek,
      I had initially decided to purchase the Onida Diamond. Later the vibrancy of images in Panasonic made me change my mind and now I regret my decision.
      If you are considering the Onida, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
      Regards

  8. Thanks for such a superb info i m thankful to u…but after reading to the whole matter i wuld still prefer panasonic brand as its offering a gud picture quality compared to all other brands n tht to a gud reasonable price…now its offering 3yrs of warranty for the complete set…which is the best…see if 1 set is having problem 2early u cannot judge the whole brand….the only problem u found ws with sound of the tv…i wuld say purchase a 2.1ch h/t n gt a gud sound…we do nt hear full sound on tv for the whole dy smetime in a day we hear…so the sound in 32s10 is quite gud…for the bass n all rather prefer a gud h/t to gt full theatre experience…i purchased a 32s10 just a week back…n m most happy with it than any other brand lcd tvs…thank u…

    • Dear Anand,

      Congratulations on your purchase!

      My problem with Panasonic is not with it’s poor sound as much as it is with it’s poor display.

      At-least the set I have (which Panasonic has failed to rectify till now) features an overdose of red color. The red dresses worn by Indian women looks fluoroscent. Tomatoes are so red that all I can see on the TV are red blobs. I suggest that you try and download the test pattern images from my other article (10 tips to select LCD TV) and test your TV. If your TV has a color problem, please bring it to notice of Panasonic immediately.

      Regards

  9. thanks for the reply rajib…k…culd u just post the url here so tht i can download n test it…n also hw shuld i test it lt me know in detail….

  10. Hi Rajib,

    I am searching good 32 inch LCD since last two month, i was almost became zero on Panasonic x15 and then i saw your review. you made me think twise to go for it or not. I read review on tech2.com as well, but they have not reported this kind of problem. Now it seems Onida diamond would be next choice for me. Would it possible for you to give your rivew comment for that as well.

  11. Hi Rajiv,
    Great to read your review. I was planning to buy a 32″ or 40″ but was always confused with blurring problem when CNBC channel was set. The image problem and pixel defect which will get noticed only after one has purchased and used the Tv for a few weeks, puts a buyer in a very tricky situation. Would you say that one should continue with old crt for some more time ( I have SONY 29″ which seems to be reasonably good)?

    Thanks

    • Hi Aditya,

      Viewing technology in India is outpacing the broadcast technology rapidly. For people who regularly watch DVD movies, want to connect computer/media players to TV – the LCD TV is the way to go.
      For those whose TV watching is limited to Broadcast channels, a CRT TV continues to be a good solution unless you want a larger size screen or want to save some space in the room.

      HTH

  12. Dear Rajib da,

    Haier is a Chinese TV, as mentioned by u, while showroom people misleading that to be a German company manufacturing at Ranjangaon, near Pune.
    Do you have any review of it’s 32 inch TV.
    Regards
    Hiren

  13. Dear Mr.Rajib

    Thanks for your valuable advice. I am planning a 32″ LCD with 750P and 100 Hertz . Which one do you recommend ?

    • Dear Mr. Guru Prakash,

      I regret I cannot advise you on which make-model of LCD to select for your family. It’s going to be an year since I bought my LCD and a lot of models with new features have been introduced since then. Prices too have fallen by at-least 25%.

      I suggest that you select a brand like LG / Samsung / Panasonic which offer excellent visuals. The LG TVs are also most feature rich, reasonably priced and offer excellent computer connectivity.
      I also like the Onida Diamond TV and wish it was priced more competitively. The Videocon TV had good colors but the brand itself is not known for high reliability.

      HTH

  14. Awsome review buddy :). I am zeroing in on Pany 32 X15 or
    LG 32 LH60YR. I was more inclined towards Panasonic was because of the 3 yr warranty, but as you rightly suggested it might actually be misleading. I better check with the Pany dealer once. So how is your TV performing now ? Any idea about LG LH60YR. I saw some great reviews online but will have a look at it in the showroom before taking the final call.

    Cheers,
    Vik

    • Hi Vik,

      My Panasonic TV is much better now that I tweaked the color settings using a calibration DVD.
      You are right about checking up the TVs for yourself in a showroom before taking the call. No amount of online reviews can decide which TV will appeal to you the most.

      Good luck!

  15. Hi Rajib,

    I want to replace my BPL 25 CRT TV and visiting show-rooms(Croma, Vijay Sales, Care etc) and surfing many sites. But I could not decide any of LCD TVs since two months. Today, I finally selected Panasonic 32X15 at Vijay Sales and found your review. So, now It is again confusing for me. I am using TV for only TATASKY channels and DVD players. I am always finding my CRT better than any LCD TVs and so could not decided and again in same stage. If u comment on LG 32LH60 then it will help me to final it.

    • Dear Rahul,

      It appears to me that many CRTs actually have much superior image quality. But this appearance is also limited to watching normal Cable/Satellite TV.

      The moment you connect equipment like Hhigh-Definition Set-top box / Laptop Computer / Media Player box / BlueRay players etc., the outdated CRT technology shows it’s limitations.

      I am not familiar with the specific LG TV model you are referring to, but in general I found the picture quality on the LG TV to be very accurate – not at all gimmicky/artificial like it is on Panasonic and Samsung TVs.

      HTH

  16. Dear Rajib, Thanks a lot. I will continue with CRT TV till my actual requirement of LCD TV. I will use this money to buy a Laptop. Please give 10 tips to buy a new Laptop.

    Regards,
    RAHUL

  17. Hi Rajib,
    An excellent review that detailed everything that many of us may not really think of and the salesperson can put in wrong implications with..!!

    Well, do you still give out advices? 🙂 I am in the initial stages of getting a LCD TV and my first stop was ADHISHWARS, Domlur, Bangalore. The sales guy was an incredible guy, explained different models of different companies… He wasn’t very keen to explain on LG and Samsung. And his lineage was with Panasonic and he was comparing it with Sony LCDs. As you said he too mentioned the Brand name price tag of Sony and was promoting Panasonic like anything.. Do you have any updates on you Tv or the new batch of the same model..?

    A couple of things he had come up with, but can u assure if they are correct as per your knowledge
    1. The IPS technology is better than one used in Sony.
    2. Sony has a liquid flowing feel to the BG objects (whic was evident in the demo), but is it just bcoz the Panasonic demo CD was better?
    3. He told the 3 year warranty includes the Panel as well. that is even for “Breakage” of the screen.. Hard to believe…

    The next visit to Domlur GIRIAS was not much of use, as none of the sales guys were good at communication.. He took me to LG, Sony section and just kept telling with LG (hitting the screen frequently to bring a flash like screen) if something happens to screen we need to change everything, where as Sony, we can manage to chnage the panel alone… Any pointers on that?

    If your opinion on Panasonic is still withstanding, are you suggesting LG is the next best bet?

    • Dear Unni,

      TVs featuring IPS technology definitely feature better viewing angles. The difference may not be so noticeable if TVs are being compared from straight-front.
      Differences in IPS technology may be subtle though. Frankly, for the kind of viewing we do and under standard lab conditions most TVs of comparable specs will come within hair’s breadth of each other.

      TVs featuring extended warranty is always a good option. A good alternative is either ‘purchase of extended warranty’ provided either by the manufacturer of stores like ‘Reliance Digital’ or ‘The Electronic Store’. Recently my TataSky set-top box went bust. Thankfully (against popular advice), I had initially paid Rs. 200/- for 2 years AMC and the under that scheme my set-top box was replaced for free.

      Breakages are always excluded. No insurance company in the world covers user-damage or wear-and-tear. In case of damage, in electronics, entire sub-sections are swapped out and replaced with new. The same holds good for LCD TVs. If the panel is damaged, you get a panel replacement. If the logic-board is damaged, you get a logic board replacement.

      As before I maintain that you must experience the product that you intend to buy and satisfy yourself that it is a good buy. After-all, buying a LCD TV includes lot more factors than just technical specs.

      HTH

  18. Thanks Ranjib, Happy to see that you still keep responding to an year old thread for each and every query, even if it sounds very amatuerish…

    Hats off to you on this attitude… Well, yours is the only review one can get for a Panasonic TV, thats quite an achievement i do say…

    Well, to get back on the query, I had gone for another round of see to feel study across ezone, Pai international and croma.. It seems except ezone (said they dont sell panasonic, even though i found a few sets there), Pai and croma now join adhiswars to boost panasonic… They say its true vlaue for money… Even i found that Panasonic really outscores Sony, LG or Samsung when it comes overall… Now question comes to the durability.. Only time tested answers can be counted now… Hows your TV doing now?

    When it come to be Panasonic, i have liked 2 models, L32X15 and L32X24, do you have any idea on the second mentioned one?

    Also which model do you advice to your friends now? Or after this buy, have you stopped giving advices (or they stopped taking advices from you?) 🙂

    Thanks again… And sorry to keep disturbing you…!!

    • Dear Unni,

      Some of these posts on my blog are quite popular. Who am I to dictate when a post is deemed too old to be comment-able.
      I personally own a Panasonic L32X15 and am ok with it’s performance. As a machine to watch broadcast channels on, it is ok. But the LG performs much better when it comes to computer connectivity.

      As with all readers of my blog, I advise you not on what to buy but how to buy.

      HTH

  19. Dear Rajib,

    i must say that this is the best review i have ever read for any product. Very detailed….

    I am planning to buy a LCD but am confused between a 26 inch and 32 inch.

    Sony obvsly being over priced for its brand name and less features is out of my list.

    Yesterday i went to the showroom, the sales guy showed me many LCD’s… of which 3 i liked..

    LG 26 LU 11 @ 21 K HD ready
    Onida Diamond 32 Inch @ 30 K – HD
    Panasonic 32 inch @ 32 K – HD

    I personally liked LG as it had good features but the only disappointing thing was the Panel (front – Black and back -white)

    On the 32 inch front – Onida Diamond outscored because of :
    1. Looks
    2. Great Features
    3. Full HD at a cheap price
    4. USB Slot with all type of video support

    One more Brand which i have liked is Videocon (though i have not visited as yet but read on the net for its feature) i have to research more as i have not seen the picture quality and the features myself.

    What excites me for Videocon is that i will have one remote to operate both TV and DTH as it is inbuilt

    can you share your thoughts on Onida as it will be really helpful for me.

    Regards

    Satish

    • Dear Satish,

      I was really excited with the Onida Diamond. I liked it’s styling, the sound, USB support and image quality. Also Onida products are known to be fairly reliable.
      I liked the image quality of Videocon, but videocon’s build quality has always been a suspect. I have come across reports where videocon LCDs have failed.
      Also don’t fall for the integrated DTH feature: it is limited to videocon’s DTH. It is not compatible with Tatasky/Airtel etc. (who make you pay for their own antenna and set-top box).

      The size of the TV is a factor of your old TV size and viewing distance. If your old TV was a 21″ CRT, you need a 26″ LCD to maintain the same viewing height. If the LCD is 26″, your optimal seating is 6 feet away.

      The 3 brands and models that you have selected are excellent choice – just remember to select the TV that is a good combination of image quality, features and price.

      HTH

  20. Hi Ranjib,
    Thanks for pointers.. Well I have gone ahead to get myself an X15… Nothing compared to it was giving me the good feel… Got a decent bargain @ Pais… Also looking to test it out in coming days…

    Happy Diwali….

  21. Hello, Ranjib, wonder if you’ve had a 67 yr old lady asking your advice? Well, there’s always a first time! I have been following this blog on a Panasonic 32″ TV since Nov 09 and still not been able to choose a new TV so I am wondering if you know whether the new Panasonic Viera Pure Line TVs are better models.

    Have Panasonic taken your advice and improved on the technology? I have been looking at the 37″ TX-L37D28BS and the 32″ one. They look amazing, super LED slim and chic – and seem to have it all – freeview and freesat built in, full HD (1920x1080p), PC input, wi-fi ready, motion focus technology, etc, etc.

    But, I checked the sound in the shop and it didn’t seem too good to me, bit tinny. Couldn’t even find the speakers! The shop Comet was offering the 37″ for £699 instead of £950 (internet deal) which is cheaper than the 32″ one going for £820. A 5 yr warranty would cost me £250 though so it evens out. My last LCD TV went bust after a couple of years and I paid a fortune for it so I’d need the warranty so that I’d get 5 yrs out of it for that price.

    Could you let me know what you think of these models – sorry to drag the blog on even longer. But suspect there still could be a few people out there wondering whether this model is up to scratch. Anything you explain to me – try to keep it simple, though I do have 2 sons to help me get through the jargon…. thanks.

    Linda

    • Dear Linda,

      Of all the TVs in the lineup, I picked the Panasonic for the image quality (rich blacks, vibrant colors, 100Hz display) and to be honest, if I hadn’t done a study by connecting it to a computer, I would have been very happy with the image quality. The computer study revealed that perhaps for my purposes, an LG would have been a better choice.

      While aesthetics and image quality in Panasonic TVs has improved a little, one thing that these TVs still have not come to grips with – is the sound quality. The sound coming from down-firing speakers (located at the bottom of the LCD panel), is very tinny and flutters crazily if heavy bass sounds are played. This you can circumvent by connecting the TV to a home-theatre system.

      Panasonic TVs in India are now covered by a 3 year warranty. If you have an option for extended warranty, I suggest you take it.

      w.r.t. specific models, I regret that since my TV purchase, I have not bothered to visit the stores and investigate newer LCD TVs in detail. The yardsticks for checking out the image quality of TV still remains the same though. Some of these are covered under an article titled ’10 tips for selecting LCD TV’ on my blog.

      HTH

  22. Thanks Rajib. At least this has confirmed my opinion on the sound/speakers, etc. I will keep on searching…..
    Linda

  23. Nice review among the reviews I have gone through so far. Good thing is that even after an year, it is active. Few questions.
    1. Have you ever regretted/felt after purchasing LCD that picture quality and sturdiness in CRT was much better and should have continued with Philips CRT you had. (except the space issue).
    2. What is your opinion on Philips LCD, as it is fairily available in current LCD market.

    • Dear Thanu,

      Today as I connected my laptop to the LCD TV using HDMI and watched the new episodes of Big Bang Theory and Royal Pains, I realized that this is something my CRT couldn’t have accomplished. All new content is in 16:9 HD format. India will arive there soon – one channel at a time 🙂

      Regards

    • Hi Thanu,
      I very much wanted to buy a Philips Ambilights LCD TV for my home and was willing to break the bank over it. A demo unit I saw at eZone was great, but they did not have for sale. In fact, none of the LFRs (large format retailers) had it for sale.

      Philips may make innovative LCDs, but when was the last time you saw a Philips ad on TV? Dying company??

      HTH

  24. Can you suggest me that i should go for 42inch lcd or plasma??? which 1 shuld i prefer and of which brand, model, price, service of tht brand??? and whats your view on panasonic lcds??

    • Hi Anand,

      At 42″, you are better off going in for a LCD. Actually, 42″ is a borderline size where Plasma and LCD are equally available and affordable.
      Since LCD is a much more evolved technology, at 42″, your LCD is likely to be full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) display with much finer dot-pitch than a plasma, resulting in a smoother display.

      w.r.t. Make/Model, personal preferences matter and I suggest you check out a store near your place to compare colors/contrast/inputs of the TVs before making the decision.
      The Panasonic 32″ LCD I have has superb black levels. But I wish it had better contrast. It is hard to make out the finer shades of colors in a picture.

      HTH

  25. Dear Rajib,

    Thank you once again for the prompt response.

    I did not see any Philips ad on TV in recent past. I saw demo in NEXT showroom and few other showrooms in Mumbai. Impressed with picture quality and connectivity options. (3000 series and 5000 series). Since I am owning Philips DVD music system for last 8 years and faced no problem till date, thought of going for Philips brand.

    Panasonic, though good and value for money, due to less connectivity options, had a second thought. Philips though not a Japanese brand and had value for money when compared with Sony, thinking why not go for it.

    If it is a dying company in India/Globally, it is necessary to give a second thought. Thanks.

    regds/thanu

    • Hi Thanu,

      Would I have gone in for a Philips if could? Yes. The problem is they were just not available. Had they been, I would have enquired about the location of their service center (which I always do before buying electronics) and gone for it.

      I bought the Panasonic LCD because of the plethora of connectivity options on it. My TV has 3 x HDMI, 3 x AV (Component, Composite, S-Video), PC (VGA), AV-Out and SD Card Reader.
      In fact, I am yet to utilize all the ports on the TV because I haven’t bought all the equipment that I intend to connect to it yet 🙂

      HTH

  26. Dear Rajib,

    Regarding service center for Philips, for my DVD, which I purchased before 8 years in Nashik, they(I believe they had come from Pune) had given nice demo and done some correction on their own (preventive before even facing any problem) to suit Indian condition and after that I had absolutely zero issue.

    Then I got transferred to Tirupur. There service center was available but their service was not as good as Pune people.

    Lastly, I got transferred to Mumbai, service center is available, but service is poor than Tirupur.

    I am not sure whether the service is getting worser due to time or due to region/locality.

    However, after surfing through various sites, I realise that after sales service part is very poor in any brand – Sony, Samsung, LG, Onida, Videocon, Sansui, Toshiba, Panasonic etc. In any case, I agree with you that it is must to check the service centre availability before making the purchase decision.

    Regarding Panansonic X15 series- LCD, contrast ratio they mention in their website is 1:20000 and I understand from amazon website for model X 15 B, it is 1:40000. I am yet to see demo. Do you have any idea on this ? Sorry for troubling you again.

    regds/thanu

    • Dear Thanu,

      Claimed contrast ratios apart, real-life performance of the unit that you purchase will certainly be different than printed specs. It is better if you run some tests at the time of purchase. Home-theatre and LCD tests DVDs are available on the Internet. You can also use a computer to do the tests. Do not be pressured into buying a TV that does not deliver the goods as you expect it to. This will save you a lot of heart-burn later.

      Regards

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