Panasonic had brought some of their latest prototypes to this year’s IFA. Amongst them the gigantic – and impressive – 145-inch 8KTV and a 103-inch glasses-free 3D TV. Both panels were based on the plasma technology. In this article we share our hands-on impressions.
Panasonic’s 145" 8K TV
Panasonic’s 145" plasma TV was exhibited in a completely dark room. The TV is based on a panel with 8K resolution which is 16 times higher than Full HD and 4 times higher than 4K that we saw in plenty of TVs at IFA.
Panasonic’s 8K TV is impressive
The plasma technology is per definition not as bright as LCD technology and that is probably why Panasonic had chosen to place it in a completely dark room. Even here it seemed a bit too dark. That being said, picture quality was fantastic. The gigantic screen is 180 centimeters in height and Panasonic had conveniently found video material with a stunning level of details – such as feathers and leaves. Most of what we saw on the TV was still images but Panasonic also had a scene with two lions moving around in a cage. It looked absolutely amazing.
The depth in pictures was extremely good and details appeared crystal clear. We noticed that most viewers spent a lot of time in front of the 8K TV even though the same few scenes played over and over again. People generally seemed to be intrigued.
Panasonic’s 8K TV
However, we also felt that the experience on Panasonic’s 8K TV was not markedly different from the many 4K TVs at IFA. We had no chance to do a side-by-side comparison of 4K and 8K but 4K TVs already reproduce a level of detailing that is close to the maximum resolution of the human eye (from typical viewing distances). Therefore we also need to ask ourselves if 8K TVs are really necessary right now? Especially when it comes to 2D content. And is insanely-large 145 inches still too small for 8K? It might be, yes.
Panasonic’s 8K TV
Last year we had the pleasure of meeting Sharp's 8K TV that - as far as memory goes - actually reproduced a higher level of detailing. This could simply be due to better content or the fact that LCDs are brighter and better suited for high-resolution still pictures. We will refrain from making any conclusions but so far we feel that 4K is the next logical step. 8K resolution requires extremely large TVs that are even larger than most consumers are willing to buy for their living rooms – or pay for.
Panasonic’s 103" glasses-free 3D TV
Panasonic also exhibited a 103-inch glasses-free 3D TV but it was a completely different story. I might be more critical than the average consumer but when you compare a 3D TV that requires 3D glasses with glasses-free 3D you have a reference point. Glasses-free 3D TVs are still very far from reproducing satisfactory 3D picture quality.
Panasonic’s 103-inch 3D TV is not impressive
The fact that the 3D images were displayed on a large-size 103 inch TV made no difference. Panasonic's 103” glasses-free 3DTV was simply not convincing and did not even meet the minimum requirements that we expect from a 3D TV. It obviously did not help that Panasonic had selected ridiculously bad picture material but even with proper picture material our conclusion would have been unchanged.
I have said for years that glasses-free 3D technology is many years away. Since then some manufacturers have launched actual consumer products but I insist that the technology is not good enough. Glasses-free 3D TVs are simply not ready for consumers. Panasonic’s technology demonstration does not change that fact. I do not see any breakthroughs in the short term. If manufacturers want glasses-free 3D to succeed they need to embrace something else than cornflakes technology.