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Bad: Very poor Standard Definition picture.
Comment: I bought this TV after reading several reviews giving it the highest ratings, but I've been bitterly disappointed and have returned the set. There's one reason for that; the terrible picture quality. Sure, this LED edge lit LCD is above average when compared to others with similar technology, but compared side by side with an average CRT set displaying the same feed, it's dire. Blurry, lacking in fine detail, cartoonish colours.
Standard Definition broadcasts - which, after all, still make up the bulk of the content broadcast in the UK - are rendered in a blurred mess with numerous odd processing artifacts created as the set desperately tries to upscale. Even after three hours of continuous adjustments, readjustments, switching on and off of all the fancy enhancement features, the picture was still not a match for a mid-range 6 year old Toshiba CRT. It's passable, but no more, and that is being generous.
HD fares much better on the sharpness and detail front, but it's ruined by the obsession with black. Yes, the blacks are fantastic, but they've been achieved at the expense of dark greys, which are rendered equally black. Every little bit of dark grey and shadow detail is gone and no amount of contrast/lightness adjustment and balance brings it back. The best I achieved was by reducing the set's gamma from its default 2.2 to 1.8, which brought out some of the grey and shadow detail but at the cost of washing out the colours elsewhere.
If you haven't viewed a CRT set in a while, you've probably forgotten just how good they are relative to LCD sets. This Panasonic is among the best of a bad bunch. LCD, whether it's with fancy LED back-lighting, 100hz technology, trick upscaling or whatever, has a long way still to go until it beats CRT.
It's not all doom and gloom though. The set is easy to set up, the menus are intuitive, connectivity is excellent, multiple tuners are great and it's quite attractive. I just cannot excuse it its poor picture, which, surely, is why anyone buys a TV.
Oh yes, the sound. Not bad, but you'll need extra speakers if you want it to sound better than an orchestra of biscuit tins...
And probably the most stupid niggle of all? Even with the aspect ratio set to auto, it doesn't recognise and correctly display 4:3 pictures, which it insists on stretching to a full 16:9. The viewer has to manually change the aspect ratio each time he encounters a 4:3 picture. Why have an auto setting if it doesn't work? Crazy.
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