CES 2017: Panasonic Announces New OLED TV and 4K Blu-ray Players
Panasonic has taken the wraps off a new HDR-ready OLED flatscreen at CES 2017. The 65-inch EZ1000 will launch around June (and will be known as the EZ1002 in the UK).
The flagship TV will arrive with a host of new image technologies and can output at nearly twice the peak brightness of Panasonic’s first OLED, at around 800 nits. Not only is the set compatible with the HDR10 standard used for UHD Blu-ray, but will also support the new Hybrid Log Gamma HDR standard, which is widely expected to be rolled out by broadcasters. HLG was jointly developed by the BBC and NHK. The set also has an Absolute Black Filter which improves contrast by removing unwanted reflections.
Unlike LG’s OLED fleet, there is no support for Dolby Vision.
Key to the improved image quality on this 4K OLED is a new Studio Colour HCX2 processor, which features 3D look-up tables derived from those used by Panasonic’s professional movie and broadcast divisions.
Former plasma TV engineers have been enlisted to improve the performance of low picture detail in near-blacks. We all know OLED delivers a perfect black, because this self-emissive display technology is able to turn off individual pixels. However, low level information at near black levels is typically lost on OLED screens.
Early showings of the EZ1000 are hugely impressive, but samples seen at CES have yet to be fully tuned by Hollywood colourist Mike Sowa, so there’s more image refinement to come.
Audio hasn’t been forgotten about either. The new OLED ships with a Dynamic Blade Speaker developed by Technics engineers. The soundbar features 14 drivers – eight woofers, four squawkers and two tweeters, plus a passive radiator to boost bass, and 80W of amplification.
Panasonic has high hopes the EZ1000 will find a role in professional 4K disc mastering suites. Professional users to upload their own colour 3D look-up tables by SD/USB memory. This means that the EZ1000 can be deployed in studio suites around the world, with every screen identically calibrated for absolute consistency.
When it lands at retail, it will have THX and Ultra HD Premium certification, as well as ISF calibration support.
Naturally, the TV also comes with all the usual connected functionality. The EZ1000 will use Panasonic’s My Home Screen 2.0 smart TV system (an evolution of the Firefox TV OS). The EZ1000 will also support 4K HDR streaming from Netflix, Amazon and YouTube, where services are available.
Panasonic has also used CES to announce two new UHD Blu-ray players. The DMP-UB400 and UB300 will sit alongside the DMP-UB900 and DMP-UB700 players.
Cosmetically, the new decks are slightly different from their predessors, with a smaller ‘glass cut’ chassis design. The feature specification however is similar to what we’ve seen before. The players have two HDMI outputs, support 4K Netflix streaming and are compatible with High-Res Audio formats including DSD (5.6 MHz/2.8 MHz).
The new models have an uprated 4K HCX (Hollywood Cinema Experience) image processor, able to upsample 4K/24p 4:2:0 Blu-ray discs to 4:4:4. They also enhance regular 2k content with 4K Direct Chroma Up-scaling.
The step up UB400 adds vacuum tube listening modes, with 96-kHz/192-kHz up-sampling, and screen mirroring.
The UB300 and UB400 launch launch in the spring. Prices are yet to be confirmed.