Panasonic 2019 OLED/LED TV Preview – Hollywood at Home
Panasonic has officially launched its 2019 range of OLED and LED TVs.I was recently invited along to the special launch event held by Panasonic; where the company showcased its 2019 range of TVs alongside its new Soundbars and Blu-Ray players. Like most Japanese companies, Panasonic has been around a long time.
100 years in fact.
This is a testament to its capacity to adapt to consumer needs and provide Australians exactly what they want.
In 2019, that appears to be a truly Hollywood cinematic experience at home.
Hollywood at Home
While not an entirely original idea, Panasonic’s ‘Hollywood at Home’ marketing slogan seeks to deliver what TV companies have been promising consumers for decades; a truly cinematic experience in the comfort of their own home.
Only, Panasonic is pushing the envelope even further by drawing on its resources and reputation within Hollywood to actually deliver real value in this space.
Most notable is the partnership with leading Hollywood colourist, Stefan Sonnenfeld. Founder and CEO of Company 3, Sonnenfeld is an industry leader in post-production services; specifically optimising a film’s colour palette.
While I’m sure you’ve never heard of Sonnenfeld, you’ve likely enjoyed the films he’s worked on, some of which include; Wonder Woman, Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens, A Star is Bornand Jurassic World.
Panasonic worked with Sonnenfeld to ensure its 2019 range of OLED panels delivered “exceptional colour accuracy”. According to the company, Sonnenfeld was eager to entering in this partnership due to him using Panasonic monitors in his daily workflow; as do, apparently, many other Hollywood professionals.
The New OLED Range
So, what about the TVs?
Panasonic is launching three new OLED TVs; the GZ2000U, GZ1500U, and GZ1000U.
The GZ2000U is the company’s flagship model and features a “bespoke Professional Edition 4K OLED panel” that’s been specially developed by Panasonic engineers.
What this means is Panasonic has purchased panels from its supplier and tweaked its technology to enhance its brightness by roughly 30%.
Panasonic boasts that this enhances not only the brightness level, but the contrast as well. This, as the company touts, also enhances the “dynamic range for high-impact HDR content”.
We were shown several scenes from the movie Bohemian Rhapsodyon the new GZ2000U and, indeed, the increased brightness allowed smaller details to shine through. Scenes appeared more naturally lit; although, this meant blacks and shadows appeared washed out in the presence of strong whites or lighting in a scene.
The New Beating Heart of Your TV
While only the top-end GZ2000 benefits from the bespoke panel, all of Panasonic’s OLED TVs feature the new HCX Pro Intelligent processor.
Essentially the ‘beating heart’ of the new GZ series, the HCX Pro Intelligent processor perfectly optimises content in order provide the best viewing experience.
What this means is, no matter the source, 4K and lower resolution content will always look its absolute best; with colour, contrast and brightness levels automatically optimised to be as close to the director’s original intent.
The content we viewed on the new OLED range looked spectacular. During a hands-on demo with the GZ2000U connected to a PlayStation 4 Pro playing Horizon Zero Dawn, I was blown away by the crisp and smooth picture quality.
Speaking of video games; Panasonic is going hard on pushing the Game Mode function of its new TVs.
If you’re not familiar with what Game mode, it’s essentially a specialised setting available in most modern TVs that reduces lag input by increasing response time whilst playing video games. Basically, it optimises the TV to ensure minimal slowdown when playing games.
To tout this specific feature, Panasonic brought in Twitch streamer Jesse James (otherwise known as thegeekgg) to showcase and talk about Game Mode. A bunch of us watched her play Horizon Zero Dawnacross two of the same TVs; one with Game Mode on and one without it. And honestly, the difference is remarkable.
I already play all of my video games in Game Mode on my own TV and seeing a side-by-side comparison cements how important such a feature is to gamers. What Panasonic has achieved with these new panels is not only a greater reduction in input lag, but these new TVs make games look and run a whole lot better.
Horizon Zero Dawnis already a great looking video game; but, on these new Panasonic panels with Game Mode, it looks all the more incredible.
Dolby This and Dolby That
All of Panasonic’s new 2019 range support both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. I cannot overstate how important both of these features are.
I’ve already discussed the merits of HDR in my review of Hisense’s 2019 range and how the feature trumps 4K and 8K resolution. Panasonic appears to understand this, providing consumers with the best-on-market HDR support in its new panels.
The results are of course stunning. Visual content shown during the event look far richer than on a non-HDR enabled panel. Picture quality looks cinematic in nature, and when coupled with Dolby Atmos supported sound, consumers can really experience the Hollywood at Home feeling.
Turn it Up to 11
TV speakers are universally known to be generally awful. Panasonic, however, has gone all out to try and change that perception.
In addition to Dolby Atmos support across its new OLED and LED range, Panasonic has tapped Technics engineers to fine-tune the speakers of its flagship GZ2000U. This panel is also the world’s first TV to feature upward and front-firing speakers.
Unfortunately, all of the panels demoed during the event were connected to Panasonic’s latest Soundbars, so I wasn’t able to test the quality of the TV’s integrated speakers.
Ultra HD LED
Whilst Panasonic spent most of the time talking up its new OLED range, it’s worth mentioning its more affordable LED range. All of its LED panels are 4K and HDR enabled, ensuring the best picture quality for consumers no matter their budget.
In addition to a more flexible pricing model, Panasonic’s LED panels are also available in myriad sizes; starting from 43” up to 75”. The premium GX800 series of panels also include the HCX Pro Intelligent processor, as well; while LED panels from the GX740 series and up also support HDR 10+ and Dolby Vision.
While Panasonic’s LED TV range may lack the ‘Hollywood at Home’ bells and whistles of the OLED line-up; this doesn’t mean consumers won’t be short-changed.
With prices starting from $999, Panasonic’s LED panels provide excellent picture quality; 4K and HDR/HDR10 support; and
Models and Availability
A majority of Panasonic’s new 4K enabled LED TVs are available now, starting from the modest recommended retail price of $999. Its premium LED models (GX880A and 850A) will be available next month, starting from $1899.
Panasonic’s new OLED TVs will also be available in July with prices starting from $3599; however, the flagship GZ2000U won’t be available until September.
Prices and availability across all models have been provided in the table below:
|4K OLED MODELS||September|
|4K Premium LED LCD Models|
|4K LED LCD Models|
Jayden Williams attended the launch event as a guest of Panasonic Australia.