One of the first available models in Panasonic's 2007 Viera TV range, this 50-inch plasma screen comes in just below the flagship TH-50PZ700 model and can be found online for under £1,400.
While it lacks the PZ700's 'Full HD' 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution, the TX70 is HD Ready and can be paired up with a Blu-ray player, HD DVD deck, HDTV service or next-generation games console. It also comes with a built-in digital terrestrial tuner for Freeview standard-definition TV.
This is a 50-inch plasma TV, so unsurprisingly it's pretty large -- but not overly so. The frame surrounding the screen is narrow, with the speakers sneakily incorporated into it, so Panasonic has succeeded in trimming off much of the extra flab you see on many large flat-screen TVs. Weight-wise, it's fine -- not something you'd want to have to lug from room to room every day, but well-suited to wall-mounting.
The PX70's looks gorgeous, and even the pedestal stand feels solidly built
Like previous Viera plasmas, the build quality is top class. Everything feels completely solid, including the pedestal stand, and there's no sign of plasticky cheapness anywhere on the outside. It's a good-looking screen, too -- you can't really go wrong with black.
There are no inputs on the front or side panel, which might annoy anyone who likes to regularly hook a camcorder up to his or her telly to watch recordings. Everything is instead located around the back, where you'll find a couple of HDMIs, two RGB-capable Scarts and component video and VGA inputs, plus the accompanying audio sockets.
The PX70 is fairly light on features, except for the basics you'd expect to see on any decent plasma TV.
For starters, there's very little in the way of picture tweaking options -- just the ability to adjust colour, contrast, brightness and sharpness, and a colour management and basic noise-reduction function. Most plasma and LCD HDTVs include individual colour temperature settings, several noise reduction modes and more, but you don't get that here (whether most users actually need all that stuff is debatable, mind you).
The menu system you use to adjust the settings is well designed, with large, crisp text and a simple layout. The remote control could be a little more responsive -- we often had to press buttons a few times to get a reaction -- but overall it works well.
The digital and analogue tuners are brilliantly easy to set up, as you can autotune both simultaneously. Again, things are quite basic with the digital Freeview tuner -- the electronic programme guide gives only a week's worth of information -- but it all works slickly enough. A common interface slot on the back means you'll be able to expand the digital service in the future, if necessary.