Panasonic has new high-end OLED TVs with Dolby Atmos speakers as well as new mid-range LCD TVs with 4K resolution. New features include Dolby Vision IQ and Filmmaker Mode. FlatpanelsHD brings you an overview of Panasonic's 2020 TV line-up
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Panasonic 2020 TV line-up
At its launch event in London in February, Panasonic announced its plans for the first half of 2020. We expect additional OLED and LCD models to join the line-up in the second half of the year.
Let us start with the OLED TVs for 2020. Panasonic's new flagship HZ2000 will replace last year's GZ2000 and feature the company's customized OLED panel that offers up to 20% higher brightness (peak and full-screen) compared to other TVs based on LG Display's OLED panel. GZ2000 currently holds our Reference Award.
Panasonic's more affordable HZ1500 and HZ1000 OLED models will have the standard LG Display OLED panel.
New for 2020: Dolby Vision IQ and Filmmaker Mode with Intelligent Sensing
New for 2020 is the addition of 'Intelligent Sensing' (works with SDR, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG content - and together with Filmmaker Mode) as well as Dolby Vision IQ (works with Dolby Vision content). Both systems aim to achieve the same goal, which is to make the picture brighter and retain details in dark areas when situated in a bright viewing environment, while remaining true to the source and creative intent.
For further details see our Panasonic 2020 first look article or the video embedded below.
HZ2000 comes equipped with an improved Dolby Atmos speaker system, including up-firing units at the top of the panel. Step-down model HZ1500 will be equipped with a scaled-down Dolby Atmos speaker system, still with up-firing units. HZ1000 is equipped with more conventional TV speakers (2x 15W stereo) but both will still be capable of processing Dolby Atmos sound and outputting it via HDMI eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel), which is supported in Panasonic's 2020 OLED models.
Also read: First look: Panasonic 2020 OLED & LCD TVs
Speaking of HDMI 2.1, Panasonic is not yet ready to embrace HDMI 2.1 ports (with HDMI 2.1 bandwidth). HDMI 2.1 is starting to appear in OLED and LCD TVs from a few competing brands. Optional HDMI 2.1 features (that can be supported on HDMI 2.0 ports) in Panasonic's 2020 TVs are eARC (in OLED models) and ALLM (in both OLED and LCD models).
In terms of HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panasonic offers support for all popular HDR video formats, meaning HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, and Dolby Vision. Like its 2019 TVs, Panasonic's 2020 TVs also support the HLG Photo format, which is the first true HDR format for still photos. HDR10 continues to be the industry's preferred base format for HDR video while Dolby Vision continues to be the preferred premium (dynamic metadata) format. Panasonic is, together with Samsung, a founding member of the HDR10+ alliance but content remains elusive.
All OLED models will offer Filmmaker Mode, which is a new picture mode backed by Hollywood heavyweights like Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, and Ryan Coogler. Filmmaker Mode respects the movie's frame rate, aspect ratio, colors, and other picture parameters. On Panasonic 2020 OLED TVs, Filmmaker Mode must be turned on manually via a button on the remote control.
The new OLED models plus the HX940 LCD model will be equipped with Panasonic's most advanced 'HCX Pro Intelligent' video processor. With Dolby Atmos speakers and its collaboration with Hollywood colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld who has fine-tuned the OLED TVs, Panasonic aims to bring "More Hollywood to more homes" in 2020, it said.
The more affordable mid-range LCD models (HX900 and below) will be powered by a less capable HCX processor. All of the LCD TVs use edge LED and either IPS or VA LCD panels (see specifications further down for more details). There are no zone dimming LCD TVs in the line-up. LCD models will be available in screen sizes up to 75 inches.
Unlike some of its main competitors, Panasonic has yet to launch 8K TVs as it believes that the market is "not ready yet". Before Panasonic can transition to 8K it will need an HDMI 2.1 chipset.
Panasonic previously partnered with Mozilla to develop and implement Firefox OS in its TVs. Mozilla gave up soon after launch and Panasonic took over development. Firefox OS was renamed to 'My Home Screen', which has now reached version 5.0. The latest version includes a few tweaks including content previews aove the Netflix and YouTube icons - much like the content previews on Samsung's Tizen and LG's webOS platforms. See the photo above.
Panasonic TVs from 2019 and earlier will not be updated to My Home Screen version 5.0. Apple TV+ and Disney+ are not supported on the platform at this time either. The company did not comment on its plans for decoding of AV1, which is a new video codec backed by Apple, Netflix, Google/YouTube and others.
Underneath My Home Screen is Panasonic's classic menu structure that you will encounter whenever you are trying to use built-in tuners, TV Anywhere, in-house streaming (DVB-IP), and more. The TVs also support PiP/PaP and DLNA as well as Control and Creston, two protocols that let you control the TV via the home network. Some models include twin tuners for recording.
HZ1000 and HZ1500 will be available in Europe around May / June, while HZ2000 is expected around July. HX940 will be available in June while HX800 and HX900 are expected around April. The TV line-up overview will be updated to include any potential additional models launched the second half of 2020. We are phasing in a new back-end system on FlatpanelsHD, which we will formally introduce soon.
You can tell 2020 TVs apart from previous years’ models by the letter 'H' in the model name (i.e. HZ2000 OLED or HX800 LCD). As a reminder: H = 2020, G = 2019, F = 2018, E = 2017, D = 2016, C = 2015, A = 2014. The company skipped 'B'.
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