At IFA, Panasonic announced its new flagship TV called AX900. The TV will be available in November as a true high-end model with a price tag that almost matches 4K OLED TVs. But can LCD technology still compete in this segment?
AX900 is a true high-end TV
Panasonic is not afraid to use big words when describing its new AX900 TV. We got sneak peek back in April in a completely dark room where it was compared side-by-side with Panasonic’s best plasma TV ever; ZT60. We saw the same demo at IFA earlier this month with some of the improvements Panasonic has made to the AX900 since April.
It is certainly an impressive and promising TV. When we saw it demonstrated we did not know the price, but we do now – and it is steep. Panasonic Europe says that the 55” will retail for 4499 Euro. Panasonic Europe has not put a Euro figure on the 65”, but Panasonic Nordic has. They emphasize that these are not the final retail prices – prices could go either way - but in the Nordic the 55” will retail for about 45000 SEK, which converts to 4899 Euro, and the 65” will retail for about 62000 SEK, which converts to 6750 Euro. At these price levels Panasonic is approaching 4K OLED territory as LG UK has already confirmed that the 65” 4K OLED TV will retail for £5999, which converts to about 7699 Euro. Pricing will obviously vary depending on your region.
It seems that these two TVs could very well be top contenders (together with Vizio’s Reference series) for best TV picture quality by the end of 2014. The question is if there is still room for LCD technology in the high-end segment? Panasonic has integrated picture systems such as local dimming that improves black depth, but all the things that AX900 does with some extra tricks, OLED TVs can do without tricks. And as we already know, all these patch solutions created to fix the inherent weaknesses of LCD come with a price.
Panasonic AX900 will be available in November with 128 local dimming zones that can be controlled individually. It may very well turn out to be the best 4K LCD TV on the market, but can it match a 4K OLED TV? Only time will tell.