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Panasonic reveals first curved 4K TVs as part of 2015 lineup

Panasonic's curved CX850 4K TV

Firm also confirms availability of Firefox OS-based smart TV system will be for 4K sets only

Panasonic has made its first foray into the curved TV market, launching a pair of new 4K TVs as part of its 2015 range, which also includes 4K flat panels, smart TVs with a variety of operating systems and more basic Full HD sets.

The curved TVs, prices and release dates yet to be announced, will use the same technology as their respective flat panel variants. The top-end model, the CR850 (available in 55in and 65in sizes), is a curved version of the also-new CX800 while the CR430 (55in only) uses the same internals as the CX400.

Panasonic isn’t just shipping these new products as capable 4K LED TVs, the top-spec models, both curved and flat (CR850 CX800 only) will also come equipped with what Panasonic calls 4K Pro. 4K Pro is Panasonic’s wide-gamut panel technology that claims up to 98% DCI (Digital Cinema Initiative, used in film making) gamut coverage and an 8,000-point colour lookup table (LUT) for accurate colours at all brightness levels.

Panasonic's 2015 range of TVs

Panasonic attributes this high accuracy to the use of Wide Colour Phosphur, which it claims offers brighter whites and deeper blacks than other technologies including Quantum Dot. Crucial to the marketing of this technology is high dynamic range (HDR) content, with partners including Netflix using HDR technology in its original programming, starting with Marco Polo.

While the rest of the new 4K range won’t get the 4K Pro technology, it will get Panasonic’s new Firefox OS-based Smart TV operating system that was demoed at CES in January. The new My Home Screen system is highly customisable, with bright colours and simple icons making for a completely overhauled experience compared to the fairly clunky software that came before it.

Panasonic banking on third-party app developers making software for the OS, and hopes Firefox OS’s use in smartphones will help expand the app selection quickly. 4K Amazon Instant Video and Netflix should be available, and FreeSat Freetime remains in order to provide access to catchup services. The newly announced Freeview Play service is likely to be added later, but Panasonic is yet to see a working version of the concept, so remained hazy as to exactly how it will make this available to customers.

Read our full hands-on of Panasonic’s Firefox OS

Full HD TVs will continue to receive a mix of the older My Home Screen and what Panasonic calls Essential Apps, a basic selection of web and catchup services including BBC iPlayer and Facebook. 

There are no firm prices or release dates on any of the new models announced. A full list of models in the new range and their Smart TV capabilities and screen technology can be found on Panasonic’s website.

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