Panasonic has unveiled its 2015 line-up of TVs. Most of the new TVs offer Ultra HD resolution and the high-end TVs add HDR and wider colors gamuts. Panasonic will switch to Firefox OS as its new TV platform, which will be integrated in mid-range TVs and up. Panasonic will also launch its first curved TVs. FlatpanelsHD has a full overview.
Updated 10.10.2015: Panasonic CZ950 OLED added to the overview Updated 15.07.2015: US line-up added to overview
Panasonic has a full line-up of Ultra HD TVs from the entry-level to the high-end. A few Full HD TVs will be available, but it is clear that Ultra HD is the future for Panasonic and in 2015, Panasonic will start offering Ultra HD TVs that take advantage of "better pixels" instead of just 4K resolution.
We saw the first signs of HDR (high dynamic range), wider colors gamuts and 10-bit colors during CES 2015 in January, and later this year Panasonic will release TVs that support these new picture quality enhancements. You can expect amazing picture quality with brighter whites and highlights, deeper blacks, and more intense colors. Panasonic says that the TVs have been developed in collaboration with its Hollywood studio, but has still not made any specific announcements regarding content.
Panasonic will abandon its Smart Viera platform and switch to Firefox OS
To fully support HDR and better colors, Panasonic has developed a new 4K Studio Master processor for its high-end models that will also feature LED local dimming to improve contrast and use "phosphors" to improve the color gamut to DCI. The mid-range TVs are still not ready to take advantage of "better pixels" but you will obviously get true 4K resolution.
The design language of the new TVs is a continuation of the minimalistic trend that has driven the industry for years. The bezels are very thin and the TVs are slim and elegant. Panasonic will offer choice with a range of different stand design, including center-mounted and side-mounted option.
The Japanese TV manufacturer will introduce its first curved TVs in 2015. Three models will be available (CR850, CR730, CR430), including a very high-end model. So far, the curved TVs have only been confirmed for Europe. Europeans can also expect features such as twin tuners and in-house streaming that allows you to watch TV channels from your TV’s internal tuner on a tablet or smartphone screen. TV anywhere will let you stream recordings to your devices when away from home.
Another big change is Firefox OS. Panasonic will abandon its Smart Viera platform and switch to Firefox OS with an inviting and simple user interface, a Xumo TV guide, and a unified search box. We have yet to receive a comprehensive list of supported apps, but we are chasing more information.
Some of Panasonic’s biggest competitors in the TV industry have decided to go all-in on Google’s Android TV this year, but Panasonic believes that the operating system based on open web standards will allow them to offer more and better apps. It is an interesting choice and only time will tell if Panasonic can make Firefox relevant in the living room. TVs from 2014 and before will not be updated to Firefox OS.
Speaking of "Smart TV", Panasonic will equip all of its Firefox-based TVs with HEVC decoding, which is necessary to stream 4K content over the internet. Panasonic has yet to confirm all of its 4K partners, but Netflix is confirmed.
The first Ultra HD Blu-ray players should be ready later this year, but no specific details have announced by Panasonic yet. A prototype player was exhibited earlier this year, and it should be noted that in order to benefit from all the picture quality improvements of the format, you will need one of the 2015 high-end TVs. Netflix will also introduce 4K HDR streaming later this year, and Panasonic confirms that Netflix is supported on its TVs.
Panasonic is also highlighting other "smart" features such as the integrated "Voice Assistant" that lets you speak commands to the TV, DLNA, USB media playback, and "Swipe and Share" that allows you to push video, photos and other content from your smartphone or tablet onto the TV via the Firefox browser (or compatible unspecified apps). It is not exactly Google Cast yet, but Mozilla is working on improving and expanding the system.
Firefox OS is Panasonic’s plan to enter the "smart home" market. The new Firefox-based TVs will act as a hub for the living room, connecting other devices in your house. This is a long-term strategy, but Panasonic says that some of the features, such as notifications, will be available in 2015.
The first Panasonic’s 2015 TVs will be available this spring. The high-end models will be available later. We will update the overview with pricing and shipping details later.
Panasonic CZ950 (4K OLED)
Thi sis Panasonic's first OLED TV. It will be available only in 65" with 4K and HDR (high dynamic range) support. There's no Firefox OS. Instead, Panasonic is using its 2014 operating system.
4K Ultra HD
4K Studio Master Processor
90 % DCI support
Accurate Color Drive
Black Gradation for OLED
2014 Smart TV OS
USA: Not confirmed
Europe: 65" TX-65CZ950
Panasonic CX850 (4K)
Panasonic CX850 is the flagship for the US. It will not be available in Europe. It has all of Panasonic’s most advanced picture systems and the new Firefox OS.
Panasonic CR850 is one of the high-end models. It has a curved design and all of Panasonic advanced technologies to improve 4K picture quality, including support for HDR and wider color gamuts. It also has the new Firefox OS.
CX800 is like CR850 but with a flat design. It will feature all the same 4K picture technologies and Firefox OS. Be aware that the US version of CX800 does not offer the high-end features. CX850 is the US equivalent of CX800 in the EU.
CX750 is a step down from the high-end 8 series models. It no longer has the next-generation 4K features such as HDR and DCI color gamut. Instead, it is a more "basic" Ultra HD with Firefox OS and HEVC decoding. The CX740 is the same TV without the twin-tuner.
Like the CX400 but with a curved design. It is still an Ultra HD TV, but since it has no Firefox OS for streaming apps you will have to rely on an external 4K streamer box to get 4K content into the TV. CR430 will only be available in one size.