Panasonic is the one of the largest consumer electronics manufacturer from Japan, a country known for quality. Panasonic offers decent variety of TVs—a safe option for those who want to try premium features of television at a reasonable price; for Panasonic is much more reliable brand when compared to new players like Mi, Vu, iFFALCON etc
Key Panasonic TV Technologies
Taking cues from its earlier plasma TVs and it’s rivals LG and Sony, Panasonic has too introduced OLED display in its high-end 4k TV. OLED is an state-of-the-art technology which stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode which uses organic material that glows when electricity is passed through them. The main difference with organic LED as opposed to the standard one is that in organic LEDs pixel provides its own illumination whereas other TVs have LCD screens and LED for backlighting. The ability to turn off and on individual pixels empowers OLED TVs to attain superior black levels and wide contrast ratio compared to conventional LCD/LED TVs.
Also this difference it leads to a possibility of reducing the thickness and weight making the new generation TVs look much sleeker. True advantage of OLED lies in its superior color reproduction and ability to achieve perfect black by completely powering off the pixel. With the help of the expanded color pallet which now supports more than a billion colors, unparalleled theatre-like experience is offered by Panasonic OLED TVs.
The drawback of OLED is that they are less durable and sensitive to water. People living in region with high humidity and heavy rainfall should be careful with the placement of OLED TV.
HEXA Chroma Drive Pro
At the recently concluded CES trade show, Panasonic announced world’s first HDR capable 4K TV which supports professional grade image processing. HEXA Chroma Drive Pro technology employs state-of-art image processing algorithms that uses 6 color reproduction instead of 3 used in other contemporary TVs. Besides three primary color axes (RGB) it compliments set of other three colors—CMY so images appear naturally vivid and beautiful. This is a high end technology for advanced color pallet from Panasonic and usually available in UHD TVs from Panasonic. This technology compares with Triluminous display from Sony, Quantum Dots from Samsung and OLEDs from LG.
Super Bright Plus IPS LED
Panasonic uses efficient local dimming methods to produce smooth and deep black gradation levels for immersive viewing experience. This way images won’t appear to be washed out in areas with high and low brightness even if input signal exceeds the screen’s maximum brightness level. Super Bright Plus technology provides more brightness in the pictures by putting efficient LED lights behind perfectly transmissive IPS panel. This makes pictures look crispier and dynamic even from a wide viewing angle. IPS panels also add to the durability of Panasonic televisions.
Multiple HDR Support
High Dynamic Range or HDR, as it is best known, simply means more dynamic contrast, better brightness and a wider color palette that brings your TV viewing experience to a more life-like one. So, the whites are brighter, blacks are darker and other colors more natural. HDR enhances image quality and details that are usually lost in translation in older TVs with standard display models.
Panasonic flaunts its HDR tech as HDR Premium which they claim is more brighter and more real. HRD Premium is basically HDR10–an open source version of HDR. Panasonic claims HDR Premium draws its working operation from the way our eyes perceive an image and adjusts the way it perceives, in order to match the given environment; which generally possesses an extremely wide brightness range.
HDR content is recorded using a Perceptual Quantiser curve which is based on this characteristic of human sight. This implies, colours would appear with enhanced vibrancy and subtlety, so viewers can clearly distinguish the tonal differences between extremely bright sunlight and the white walls of a tower. In other words, HDR finally lets you see on a TV screen the complete beauty of the real world as experienced by your eyes every day.
Newer models like FX730 also support Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) HDR format. Mainstream HDR formats work post production i.e after the complete shooting of the movie or an episode of a show. This is often in the form of web series from OTT providers or in a form Movie in a Blu ray disc format. Live TV shows showing visuals from a live scene do not support generally feature HDR content. This is the area where BBC from Britain and NHK from Japan have worked together to bring broadcast TV content with the goodness of HDR in the form of HLG aka Hybrid Log Gamma. So with FX730 you would be able to view live broadcast in HDR provided the broadcaster supports HLG format.
Furthermore, it’s able to give out the full DCI colour space that’s a critical part of high dynamic range images.
Fine Remaster Engine and Dot Noise Reduction
Though 4K segment is catching up demands but presently there aren’t many sources which supports 4K meaning underusing the potential of 4K TV to run something of lesser resolution say Full HD or HD. Also, when showing content with lower resolution on 4K TV needs upscaling so that the aired picture doesn’t look grainy and pixelated. To cope up this problem, the Japanese engineers and other techies at Panasonic have worked hard to deliver super resolution using its new and efficient engine, which they love to call as 4K Fine Remaster Engine. It has employed example-based resolution technology which easily copes with various sources, which includes Full-HD, SD images, online movies, and others.
Additionally, modern 4K Panasonic TVs come with Dot Noise Reduction technology that minimizes dot noise around the objects on TV screen. Now, you may wonder what dot noise is. Well, dot noise is a type of noise which conjures up when there a conversion of video from lower resolution to higher resolution. Like for example conversion of standard definition (SD) content to high definition (HD) content. This dot noise becomes more prominent specially on the edge of contrasting colors like yellow and blue.
It’s interesting to note that development of this technologies began even before 4K panel was decided; hinting how much committed and concerned Panasonic was to deliver super resolution engine in its 4K TVs. Panasonic believes with the addition of this powerful engine watching anything ranging from action-packed science-fiction movies to beautiful stills of buildings and serene landscapes would be an immersive experience.
Backlight Motion Rate in Panasonic TVs
TVs are marketed using different specs and one of the lesser known parameters is refresh rate. Panasonic likes to call it as Backlight Motion Rate (BMR) for its latest bundles of television. Earlier (2014 or before) it was called Backlight Scan Rate. However, most TV manufacturers buff up these numbers to overstate true refresh rates and Panasonic is no exception. Panasonic might have high BMR number like in 1500 Hz or 2200 Hz but actual motion rate measures is 100 hertz for premium models like FX730 and FX600.
Dynamic Blade Speaker with Bluetooth Audio Link
Panasonic wants to ensure the efforts it has put in to improve the picture are reciprocated by the acoustics department as well. That’s why it has used the services of Technics, to make sure Panasonic TVs don’t fall behind its competitors in the sound segment. The result is development of Dynamic Blade Speaker—a deceitfully slim audio system. Defying the expectation from its slim-trim size, it gives strong bass so dynamic content can be enjoyed, thanks to its assembly of 14 speaker units. Speaker units contain eight woofers, four squawkers and two tweeters. Besides this, there is also a quad passive radiator specialty added to spice up the bass. It gives audio output of 80W in the TH-65FZ1000D model which is best in class and pleasure for audiophiles.
Latest models like FZ1000D comes with Bluetooth Audio Link function which not only allows to connect TV to external speakers via Bluetooth but it also allows user to play songs from their own mobile phones, tablets or other Bluetooth-enabled gizmos onto the fantastic audio setup of Panasonic TV.
My Smart Homescreen 4.0
Interestingly Panasonic continues to pushed forward its Firefox-based My Home Screen operating system (OS). Latest 4k smart TVs from 2019 onward will come with My Home Screen 4.0 version. Taking cues from LG’s webOS and Samsung’s Tizen, Panasonic has redesigned its UI (user interface) in its new OS with concept of bottom menu in a bid to avoid obstructing video/image content on screen. Also new OS allows the user to reconfigure the layout of home screen. It is now easier to access video on demand and broadcast content thanks to the new UI and shortcuts provided.
Given that the Google is heavily working on Android TV and entry of Apple tvOS, functionally My Home Screen appears to be limited and it lacks the smoothness of LG’s webOS. For now Panasonic is desisting from switching over to Android and it would be interesting to see how long it would be able to strive for its native My Home Screen OS. For the users having earlier version of My Home Screen OS, Panasonic has not announced any plans for update.
Panasonic has time and again strive for the ultimate in design owing to their concept of “Harmony with Room”. The premium EX series models of Panasonic have a distinctive ‘Swivel and Lift’ design, which does exactly as its name suggests; display appears to float in the air with its stylish pedestal. This design highlights the screen, to put emphasis on the picture being aired. The floating effect generated due to this design also gives an impression of lightness and grandiosity.
Panasonic vs the Rest – Concise Comparison & Conclusion
Panasonic offers a good blend of picture quality with peppy sound at an attractive price range. Though its easily undone by LG in terms of picture quality, as LG is forerunner of OLED tech and it’s the supplier of OLED panels. But due OLED’s self-emissive display characteristics, LG OLEDs do tend to either render the shades just above black with more noise giving it a slightly magenta tinge. To add to this misery, at times, it also blurs the shadow detail however minor it might be. This is an area where Panasonic aims to tackle, using the power of its HCX intelligent processor, by drawing upon its know-how and experience with plasma to compensate for the relatively large jump between OLED’s off (zero black) and on (above black) states smoothly without a sudden jerk.
Though Panasonic has done decent job in sound segment, thanks to the hard work of its acoustic arm Technics, but still has some way to go to catch up with Dolby sound system. Dolby also beats Panasonic TVs in HDR segment with its proprietary Dolby Vision tech; Panasonic uses an open source (a free) HDR10 version. But with the addition of HLG HDR format in new line up of TVs, it will give a stiff competition.
On software front, Panasonic uses Firefox-based OS which will soon be obsolete. Also this OS isn’t as powerful as webOS nor as versatile as Android. Design is the parameter on which Panasonic can bet on; Panasonic TVs are innovatively design giving it a premium look. Their latest Swivel and Lift design is the testimony of that.
Panasonic was one of the premier brands, but in the last few years with entry of new players, there have been a trend reversal. Panasonic has been dropped out of top 5 companies by sales. That’s the reason Panasonic is striving hard to win back its customer base by offering better TV by collaborating with specialist and applying for various certifications to present unbiased testimony of its product to its customers.
Some Popular Panasonic Models:
- 43 inch
- Full HD
- — Audio
- Refresh Rate: 200 Hz BMR
- Hexa Chroma Drive
- 40 inch
- Full HD
- 16 W Audio
- SMART TV
- 49 inch
- Full HD
- 20 W (10 W x 2) Audio
- SMART TV
- Refresh Rate: 100 Hz BMR
- 39 inch
- HD Ready
- 16 W (8 W x2) Audio
- Refresh Rate: 100 Hz BMR
- 40 inch
- Full HD
- 16 w (8 w X2) Audio
- Refresh Rate: 100 Hz BMR
About the Author:
Hussain Kanchwala is an Electronics Engineer from University of Mumbai. As an Analyst at BijliBachao he keeps a tab on latest technologies in gadgets and appliances, tracks businesses of white goods companies and monitors the consumer behavior. With a background in engineering, penchant for detail, and flair for writing he regularly write reviews about brands and their products. More from this author.