In 2017, Panasonic will launch two OLED ranges and several 4K and HD LCD TVs. DX900 will carry over from 2016 into 2017. The company is positioning the OLED TVs as its flagship TVs and will support HDR and HLG across the range. 3D is available in a single model but curves are out. FlatpanelsHD brings you the full overview of Panasonic’s 2017 TV line-up.
Panasonic is still largely absent from the US TV market but it has a strong line-up planned for Europe. The company will introduce its second-generation OLED TVs with EZ1000 and EZ950 after it dipped its toes in the OLED market two years with the wildly expensive CZ950.
The OLED TVs are the stars of the show. EZ1000 will represent the “best picture quality we have had to date", says Panasonic. EZ950 offers most of the same features and will be available from 55” and up. Panasonic has yet to reveal prices for all regions but based on the pricing details we have received, EZ950 may actually be able to compete with LG’s B7 and C7 OLEDs price-wise in 2017.
What sets Panasonic’s OLED TVs apart from LG’s? Well if you ask Panasonic, 3 things.
Like everyone else, Panasonic sources OLED panels from LG.Display so expect them to deliver up to 1000 nits peak brightness and close to 100% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage. So what sets Panasonic’s OLED TVs apart from LG’s? Well if you ask Panasonic, 3 things. A remarkable HCX2 picture processor, a partnership with Hollywood colorists intended to deliver very accurate colors, and better shadow detail reproduction. We are eager to test those claims when we receive one of the TVs for testing.
EZ1000 also has a powerful speaker system built-in that Panasonic has dubbed “Dynamic Blade Speakers”. We have heard it in action and it sounds pleasing yet powerful. EZ950 will feature less power speakers. The TVs are THX certified and Panasonic has also applied for ‘UHD Premium’ certification, which the company feels confident that it will receive.
Moving into the LCD range, we should first point out that last year’s LCD flagship, DX900, will carry over into 2017. It will be positioned just below the two OLED ranges as the LCD flagship.
Panasonic has decided not to back Dolby’s efforts to create a premium HDR format. The 2017 TVs will instead support the open HDR10 industry format and the HLG broadcast HDR format.
Panasonic has decided not to back Dolby’s efforts to create a premium HDR format
HLG will also come to select 2016 TVs via a firmware update later his year, the company has confirmed. Broadcasters have yet to launch TV channels based on the HLG format but once they do you will be ready to receive the signals in glorious HDR.
In the video below, Panasonic demonstrates HDR in action on its 2017 OLED panel versus the 2015 OLED panel (CZ950).
In 2016, we had some complaints about subpar HDR picture quality on the mid-range LCD TVs. Panasonic says that it has implemented a limited form of local dimming in the EX780 model that should improve HDR picture quality. However, the company has not provided specifications for peak brightness and color gamut coverage for the LCD models.
For the past two years, Panasonic has partnered with Mozilla to offer the Firefox OS platform in most of its TVs. Mozilla has thrown in the towel and discontinued all work on the Firefox operating system but Panasonic has decided to continue using the platform by taking development in-house. That may ring hollow when you consider that the very reason that Panasonic partnered with Mozilla in the first place was to avoid doing software development. Panasonic is not exactly famous for its work on software.
Nevertheless, there are some nice new features coming “My Home Screen 2.0”, which is the new name for the platform. First of all, Amazon Video will be available as an app and it will support up to 4K HDR streaming quality. YouTube will also be available to stream in 4K HDR quality on the 2017 TVs. Last year’s models lacked the VP9-Profile2 hardware decoder that was required, which is why YouTube was capped at 4K (no HDR).
Netflix is obviously still available, in up to 4K HDR streaming quality. If you want the best possible 4K HDR picture you still need to connect an UHD Blu-ray player and Panasonic has a comprehensive line-up prepared for 2017. The company will also launch the first UHD Blu-ray recorders.
Other new features include a “my app” button on the remote that you can map to your favorite app. There is also a new media player that supports playback in up to 4K and HLG HDR. Panasonic will continue to offer twin-tuners in several of its higher-end models as well as the “In-house TV streaming” feature that allows you to stream recordings from one two onto another via the home network.
The OLED models will have two remotes in the box. One is the touch pad remote that was introduced a few years back and the other is the standard Panasonic remote, which has, besides the new “my app” button, a dedicated Netflix button. Besides that it looks exactly like you remember it.
We should also briefly touch on some of the trends of the past. As you may have heard 3D is dead on most competitors’ TV line-up but Panasonic has found room for it in the new EX780. None of the other new TVs will support 3D – not even the flagship OLED TVs. Curved TVs are also gone. Panasonic was never a big proponent of the gimmick so the curve has been dropped without any drama.
That brings on to design. Last year, the company introduced a so-called “Switch design”, which will continue in 2017. It basically means that you get some added flexibility in regards to how the stand attaches to the TV. On several models you can choose to attach the two feet at two fixing points; wide or narrow. This allows you to place a large TV on narrow furniture.
The 2017 Panasonic OLED TVs will start shipping in May/June
Panasonic will also sell a range of HD models at low prices but there is not much to be excited about here. If you want all the fun things, you need to buy one of the 4K models that start at quite low price points this year.
What else? There is the usual suite of minor features, including WiFi, “TV Anywhere” streaming, PIP/PAP, DLNA, and more. In addition, Panasonic has made some of its TVs compatible with Control4 and Creston that lets you integrate the TV into IP home control systems. The remote app for phones/tablet will continue to work on with 2017 models.
Panasonic’s 2017 4K LCD TVs will start shipping in Europe in April/May, depending on the range. The 2017 Panasonic OLED TVs will start shipping in May/June. We will update the overview as we receive and confirm more specific details and prices. You can tell 2017 TVs apart from previous years’ models by the letter “E" in the model name; for example EX780. E = 2017, D = 2016, C = 2015, A = 2014. The company skipped “B”.
Panasonic EZ1000 OLED
EZ1000 (EZ1002 in the UK) is the new flagship TV from Panasonic. It is an OLED TV with significantly higher peak brightness than the last generation of OLED from Panasonic. It will be available in 65 and 77” sizes.
TV Anywhere + in-house TV streaming (server+client)
Panasonic EZ950 OLED
EZ950 (EZ952 in the UK) is a more affordable 2017 OLED series from Panasonic. It will include most of the same features as the EZ1000 and compete head-to-head with other OLED TVs in the marked. The speakers are less potent.
TV Anywhere + in-house TV streaming (server+client)
DX900 (DX902 in the UK) was launched in 2016 and will carry over into 2017 as the LCD flagship. It represents the best LCD picture quality from Panasonic but is positioned below the two new OLED ranges.