Panasonic announces new OLED and 4K LCD TVs for 2020

Pinewood Studios London was a fitting venue for Panasonic’s launch of a range of new high-performance TVs that promise to deliver a “Hollywood to your Home” experience.

Panasonic announces new OLED and 4K LCD TVs for 2020

Pinewood Studios London was a fitting venue for Panasonic’s launch of a range of new high-performance TVs that promise to deliver a “Hollywood to your Home” experience.

Panasonic unveiled three new OLED TVs and its three new 4K LCD TV series for 2020, and a lot of the invite-only tech talk on February 18 focused on audio quality.

The new OLED TVs – the HZ2000, HZ1500, and HZ1000 series – support both Dolby Vision IQ and Filmmaker Mode with Panasonic’s ‘Intelligent Sensing’ which Panasonic says will expand the enjoyment of Hollywood-level HDR picture performance in both dark and well-lit living rooms.

Panasonic, noting that it’s not just picture quality that delivers the “Hollywood to your Home” experience, revealed that both the HZ2000 and HZ1500 series OLED TVs will feature innovative built-in upward-firing speakers capable of delivering Dolby Atmos for the most immersive audio experience.

During the demos at the live event in Pinewood Studios, we were treated to an informal talk on Dolby Atmos and it’s capabilities and impact on the movie industry from Academy and BAFTA award-winning sound designer Glenn Freemantle.

Glenn is one of the pioneers and early adopters of this sound technology and explained how sound is now seen in the industry as a big part of the whole movie experience. He said, with the aid of technologies like Dolby Atmos, sound designers like himself are able to take total control over the sound stage to help tell the story you’re seeing with your eyes.

Movies with Dolby Atmos are now planned right from the beginning of production and throughout. Furthermore, these movies soundtracks are encoded for use in cinemas with full sound systems but re-encoded to be viewed and heard on the small screen from home theatres, TVs and even the growing number of mobile devices that support Dolby Atmos.

All three new Panasonic OLED models will share the same fine-tuning by leading Hollywood colourist Stefan Sonnenfeld, and are planned to be UHD Premium certified. Motion performance has also been improved on the new OLED TVs, thanks to an advanced implementation of black frame insertion, which results in a smoother, flicker-free image.

The new OLED TVs also improve on previous models and existing OLEDs by using a new Filmmaker Mode with Intelligent Sensing and Dolby Vision IQ. Developed by the UHD Alliance, Filmmaker Mode allows users to enjoy the cinematic video as intended by creators, through pressing just a single button on the remote control. When activated, Filmmaker mode respects the frame rate, aspect ratio, colour and contrast of the content, whilst also turning off noise reduction and sharpening. The mode is supported by a who's who of Hollywood directors, including Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Patty Jenkins, Ryan Coogler, and Paul Thomas Anderson and many others.

Intelligent Sensing is another new feature, which automatically and intelligently adjusts the picture to allow for a brightly-lit room to maximise details in shadows and colour.

The demonstration of this was incredibly impressive as we witnessed the changes to the image on the new HZ2000 in real-time as it adjusted to the environment.

It works by trying to match what the viewing should look like in an ideal dark environment even though you might be sitting in a well-lit living room. This means that viewers will see all the details you’re supposed to see, even in very dark scenes.

To ensure that this feature matches the creators’ intentions, Panasonic’s engineers worked together extensively with two Hollywood studios to ensure the best possible perceptual match. Filmmaker Mode with Intelligent Sensing is unique to Panasonic and supports content in HDR10+, HDR10, HLG, and SDR.

Panasonic also expands the capabilities of its 2020 OLED range to Hollywood’s highest fidelity content, Dolby Vision, through the support of Dolby Vision IQ. Dolby Vision IQ uses Dolby Vision dynamic metadata to intelligently display every detail of the content, adjusting to the brightness of the room. It also informs the TV what type of content is being shown and will modify its settings to ensure images are displayed exactly as they should be. With Dolby Vision IQ, viewers will see things the way the creator intended regardless of lighting conditions or content format.

Glenn Freemantle
Glenn Freemantle

“Dolby is committed to driving innovation which enhances the consumer entertainment experience”, said Javier Foncillas, Vice President Commercial Partnership, Dolby Europe.

The latest of these innovations is Dolby Vision IQ, which ensures the viewer gets the best possible experience from their TV, no matter the ambient light environment or content genre. Panasonic is amongst the first to offer this technology to consumers on their HZ2000 OLED TVs.

Panasonic also announced three new 4K LCD series: the HX940, HX900, and HX800, which will continue Panasonic’s pioneering support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+. The advantages of which are often most visible on core-range LCD TVs as the dynamic metadata HDR formats allow less bright TVs to avoid unnecessary tone-mapping of scenes which are within the native brightness of the panel. All of the OLED and 4K LCD TVs announced will also support Dolby Atmos out of the box.

The HZ2000 and HZ1500 combine best-in-class audio and picture quality to deliver “Hollywood to your Home”

Following the success of last year’s GZ2000, in 2020 Panasonic is bringing the innovative built-in upward-firing speakers to both the HZ2000 and HZ1500 in 2020.

The HZ2000 features ‘360° Soundscape Pro’, Panasonic’s highest-fidelity audio system for a TV, which combines the built-in upward-firing speakers capable of delivering Dolby Atmos immersive audio experiences and “Tuned by Technics” fidelity. Despite its impressively thin profile, the HZ2000 delivers a powerful and dynamic output of 140W complemented by a powerful bass. The total sound system has been tuned by engineers from Panasonic’s acclaimed audio brand, Technics, and also features Technics’ proprietary JENO Engine for accurate, refined sound.

The HZ1500 will come with ‘360° Soundscape’, with built-in upward-firing speakers and 80W of total power.

The multiple built-in speaker units in both the HZ2000 and HZ1500 produce a spatial soundstage with Dolby Atmos content. The positioning of the upward-firing speakers at the top of the TV means that, unlike soundbar based solutions, the sound doesn’t have to travel so far to bounce off the ceiling so it has plenty of energy to bounce down and create an immersive soundstage. All of the new TVs, both OLED and LCD will support Dolby Atmos.

All three OLED series come in both 65-inch and 55-inch screen sizes. While the HZ2000 boasts a bespoke Master HDR OLED Professional Edition panel exclusively customised by Panasonic R&D engineers, all OLED models including the HZ1500 and HZ1000 have state-of-the-art picture processing courtesy of the HCX PRO Intelligent processor – the most powerful ever made by Panasonic. They also all support Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG and HLG Photo, ensuring complete compatibility with all popular HDR formats.

Support for all popular HDR formats also features across all 4K LCD TVs announced today. Even the entry-level HX800 series (40-inch, 50-inch, 58-inch, 65-inch) which has a HCX Processor, offers support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), HLG Photo, in addition to support for Dolby Atmos.

The HX900 series (43-inch, 49-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch) supports the same wide range of formats and adds a HDR Cinema Display, which delivers increased brightness.

Designed for Living

The 2020 OLEDs and 4K LCD TVs have some special design tricks up their sleeves. The HZ1500 and HZ1000 series OLED TVs feature a swivel pedestal, allowing viewers to angle the screen freely according to their living room environment.

In addition, the HX940 and HX900 series of 4K LCD TVs feature Panasonic’s popular “2-way switch pedestals”, which allow owners to position the two pedestal feet in either a central position or on the edge of the TV.

My Home Screen 5.0 improves quick access usability All OLED and 4K LCD TV series announced will feature the latest iteration of Panasonic’s smart TV OS, My Home Screen 5.0. All models announced will also work with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, allowing users to operate some key TV functions, just using their voice.

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