Panasonic will double its line-up of OLED TVs and will add Dolby Vision and Atmos support in all OLED and several LCD TVs. The flagship GZ2000 has a customized OLED panel. FlatpanelsHD brings you an overview of Panasonic's 2019 TV line-up
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Panasonic 2019 TV line-up
Since its exit from plasma TVs Panasonic has struggled in the TV market, ceding market share to both South Korean and Chinese rivals. In 2019, the Japanese brand is determined to fight back by greatly expanding its line-up of 4K OLED TVs and by offering 4K LCD TVs in the mainstream segment.
This year, Panasonic has four OLED ranges - GZ2000, GZ1500, GZ1000 and GZ950 - that will all be available in 55 and 65 inch sizes. The flagship GZ2000 will feature a "custom-made professional edition" OLED panel. The company explains that it involves taking the OLED panel off of the production line earlier in the process. The goal is to increase brightness levels (both HDR peak and average), which is achieved by using custom power management and cooling solutions.
GZ1500, GZ1000 and GZ950 (plus GZ960 with a different look) are technically identical and use the standard OLED panel also found in TVs from LG, Philips, Hisense, Sony, and others. Like the flagship GZ2000, these TVs support both Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos object-based sound. This is noteworthy because Panasonic is, together with Samsung and 20th Century Fox, a founding member of the HDR10+ alliance that was formed as a front against Dolby's HDR format.
New Panasonic TVs will support HDR10+ and Dolby Vision
Now Panasonic has one leg in each camp. Is HDR10+ stillborn? Not according to Panasonic but the content library is - two years after the alliance was formed - almost non-existent. Perhaps 2019 will be different. Time will tell. Besides HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, Panasonic's new TVs support HDR10, HLG and the new HLG Photo format, which does exactly what the name implies. Panasonic believes that its TVs now support all relevant HDR formats. There is also Technicolor's Advanced HDR but we would have to agree with Panasonic that it is insignificant. There is no content available in Advanced HDR.
As for the new OLED TVs, Panasonic will push its ”Hollywood to your home” message to illustrate how it is working together with Hollywood colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld to fine-tune color accuracy in the new TVs. This applies to all of the new OLED models. They will all feature a new 'HCX Pro' video processor, too.
The differences between GZ1500, GZ1000 and GZ950 must be found in design and speakers. GZ1500 has a built-in soundbar (Blade Speaker) developed in partnership with Technics, while GZ1000 and GZ950 have integrated 50W speakers. As for the Atmos, the built-in speakers will not deliver the immersive audio experience that you know from cinema but the company points out that you can also output Atmos via the HDMI ARC port to a soundbar or receiver. It is also possible to connect an external subwoofer to all OLED models as well as the GX940.
Moving down to mid-range there is a line-up of LCD TVs. GX940, GX800, GX700 and in some regions GX900, GX625 and GX5xx. GX940 will be available in 75 inches only while the others will be available in a wider selection of sizes. Like the more expensive OLED TVs some of these LCD ranges will feature both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support.
Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos in Panasonic GX800 and up
On the other hand there are no LCD TVs with zone dimming capabilities in Panasonic's 2019 line-up raising concerns about actual HDR picture quality.
Panasonic is not ready to embrace HDMI 2.1 and it says that its first 8K TV will launch "once the market is ready". Of course, those two things go hand in hand. Only a single optional HDMI 2.1 feature that can be implemented on HDMI 2.0 chipset has found its way to the TVs. This is the so-called ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), which means that the TV switches automatically to Game mode when you load a game on Xbox. PlayStation 4 does not support ALLM.
Panasonic previously partnered with Mozilla to develop and implement Firefox OS but after Mozilla gave up Panasonic took over development. Firefox OS became 'My Home Screen', which has now reached version 4.0. This year, the user interface has been redesigned around a new menu that slides up from the bottom. See the video for a brief introduction.
Underneath My Home Screen is Panasonic's classic menu structure that you will encounter when trying to use the built-in tuners, TV Anywhere, in-house streaming (DVB-IP), and mere. The TVs also support PiP/PaP and DLNA as well as Control and Creston that lets you control the TV via the home network.
Earlier Panasonic TVs will not be updated to version 4.0 of My Home Screen.
Panasonic is also highlighting compatibility with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa via external devices or speakers. However, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are only supported in a few languages.
Unlike some of its competitors, Panasonic has not announced a partnership with Apple to brings AirPlay 2, HomeKit and the Apple TV app to its TVs.
The new TVs will be equipped with digital tuners for cable, satellite and antenna TV. Several models will also be equipped with twin tuners to let the user record one show while watching another. WiFi and Bluetooth are also supported.
The TV line-up overview will be updated to reflect any potential changes when the time comes. We are phasing in a new back-end system on FlatpanelsHD, which we will formally introduce soon.
Panasonic’s 2019 LCD TVs will start shipping in Europe in June while the 2019 OLED TVs will be available later this summer. You can tell 2019 TVs apart from previous years’ models by the letter “G" in the model name (i.e. GZ1000 OLED or GX800 LCD). G = 2019, F = 2018, E = 2017, D = 2016, C = 2015, A = 2014. The company skipped “B”.
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