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Panasonic reveals six new 4K TVs for 2020 including the flagship HZ2000 OLED

The Japanese manufacturer vows to bring “Hollywood to the home” like never before with its latest 4K OLED TVs

Panasonic has just announced a slew of all-new 4K televisions during its 2020 reveal event at Pinewood Studios. There are six new series in total, with three premium 4K OLED models and three core 4K LCD sets. Heading them up is the flagship OLED HZ200, which packs the latest HCX Pro picture processor and features upwards-firing speakers to deliver a Dolby Atmos audio experience without the need for a soundbar.

Also unveiled were the OLED HZ1500 and OLED 1000, both of which use the same HCX PRO processor as the top-end HZ2000 and come with many of the same HDR and smart features. All three OLEDs will support Dolby Vision IQ and Filmmaker Mode with ‘Intelligent Sensing’ in order to adapt video playback based on ambient light.

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Panasonic’s three new OLED models come in two sizes, either 55in or 65in, and all are expected to launch with the UHD Premium certification. The HZ200 and HZ1500 are pretty similar in most respects, as both use the same image processor, support the same HDR formats and benefit from Dolby Atmos upwards-firing speakers, although the HZ200’s ‘360° Soundscape Pro’ specially-tuned audio performance will be more immersive than the HZ1500’s standard ‘360° Soundscape’. What’s more, the HZ200 will be the only series out of the new OLEDs to feature a “bespoke Master HDR OLED Professional Edition panel”.

HDR content fiends will be pleased to learn that Panasonic’s new OLED lineup has support for every popular HDR format going: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) and Dolby Vision are all covered. Dolby Atmos surround-sound sound is also present and correct on all models. Impressively, the comprehensive HDR support extends to the more affordable LCD 4K range. The HX940, HX900 and HX800 will offer support a full suite of HDR formats including Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10 and HLG, as well as Dolby Atmos.

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The HX940 (43in, 49in, 55in, 65in, 75in) is the top-end model in Panasonic’s core LCD 4K 2020 range. Whereas the HX900 (43in, 49in, 55in, 65in) and HX800 (40in, 50in, 58in, 65in) make use of Panasonic’s standard HCX image processor, the HX940 comes equipped with the superior HCX PRO as found in the new OLED sets. It also has a higher peak luminance than the lower-end sets due to its HDR Cinema Display Pro panel, as well as a faster 100Hz refresh rate. Capping it off, the Panasonic HX940 uses ‘Local Dimming Intelligent Pro’ technology to “mimic thousands of virtual local dimming zones” that will improve contrast without adding extra bulk to the panel.

Unlike rivals such as Samsung and LG, Panasonic has avoided 8K technology, keeping its focus firmly on 4K TVs for the moment. This makes sense since there’s currently no 8K consumer content available, and the cost of 8K TVs is so much higher. Instead, the Japanese electronics giant is doubling down on its image processing and smart feature technology for 4K TVs.

All of the new 2020 OLEDs will have Filmmaker Mode, a cinematic experience developed by the UHD Alliance that “respects the frame rate, aspect ratio, colour and contrast of the content, whilst also turning off noise reduction and sharpening”. Filmmaker Mode aims to playback movie and TV content as it was originally intended by the creators, and Panasonic says that it has the backing of major directors including Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan. Panasonic adds another layer to Filmmaker Mode with its own ‘Intelligent Sensing’ feature, which enables the panel to detect ambient light in order to perceptually adjust scene brightness based on room lighting. This ‘unique’ mode will work across the HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG formats as well as SDR content.

Panasonic will also roll out Dolby Vision IQ support to all three of its latest OLED models. The concept is essentially the same as Filmmaker Mode with Intelligent Sensing, as it uses ambient light detection to adjust picture playback, but it’s specific to the Dolby Vision HDR format. Besides reacting to light, Dolby Vision IQ also detects the type of content being played and adapts the image processing accordingly. As Javier Foncillas of Dolby Europe puts it, Dolby Vision IQ gives viewers “the best possible experience from their TV, no matter the ambient light environment or content genre”. While Dolby Vision IQ won’t be exclusive to Panasonic, its HZ-series OLED TVs will be among the first to support it

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All of the TVs announced by Panasonic at its Pinewood Studios event will run My Home Screen 5.0, the newest version of Panasonic’s Smart TV OS that aims to streamline the user experience. Improved features include the use of thumbnails to highlight featured content from streaming services like Netflix and YouTube – a feature Samsung’s Tizen OS has had for some time. In addition, the whole Panasonic 2020 TV lineup will support Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

So far Panasonic has not revealed when its new range of 4K OLED and LCD TVs will launch in the UK, or how much they will cost. Stay tuned for updates, and remember to keep an eye on our TV coverage in 2020, as we will be reviewing as many of the new Panasonic televisions as possible. And if you’re after a new TV right now, check out our roundup of the best 4K HDR televisions on the market, starting from just £429.