Panasonic promises to deliver its “best and brightest picture” yet in 2023 with the launch of its new flagship MZ2000 OLED TV. That’s saying something given the success of the 2022 Panasonic LZ2000B in the stills department.
The MZ2000 supposedly takes things to new heights thanks to a new custom OLED panel that Panasonic calls the ‘Master OLED Ultimate’ – nice endgame terminology, isn’t it? This “state-of-the-art panel” is powered by Panasonic’s HCX Pro AI processor, benefits from a new multi-layer thermal management designed by the company’s engineers, and like the new LG G3 OLED uses Micro Lens Array (MLA) technology – a layer of tiny lenses that better focuses the light from the panel’s OLEDs for a brighter image.
Panasonic says these developments have improved peak brightness (by as much as 150 percent) and average brightness compared to last year’s OLED models. In today’s online demonstration, Panasonic measured the peak brightness of its 2022 OLED and 2023 MZ2000 to be around 1,000 nits and 1,456 nits respectively – impressive. That can only be good news when it comes to HDR playback – indeed, Panasonic claims it’s achieved its best HDR image yet here – and for that matter the MZ2000 embraces a range of HDR formats, including Dolby Vision IQ , HDR10 + Adaptive and HLG.
The company has once again leveraged the knowledge of Stefan Sonnenfeld, a well-known collaborator and well-known Hollywood colorist, to ensure that the TV’s picture quality is accurately represented. ‘As the director intended’ image accuracy is something that Filmmaker Mode has tried to provide on compatible sets for the past few years, and the MZ2000 not only supports this, but also features an improved Ambient Color Temperature sensor that can better detect the lighting conditions in a room so that contrast and color can be adjusted accordingly.
Panasonic’s flagship TVs have been huge on sound for several years now, offering an integrated sound system beyond most premium sets. The MZ2000 is no different, featuring a Technics-tuned Dolby Atmos system with multiple built-in upward-firing, side-firing and front-firing speakers. The front speaker array, which runs the length of the TV behind a speaker grille, has been revised for a wider soundstage, with three modes that let you choose whether to route the sound output from the TV system to a single point (Pinpoint mode) , shifted to a specific place or group of people (Area Mode) or amplified in volume at a specific spot (Spot Mode). Finally, the bass-boosting algorithm has been upgraded for a greater sense of thump when a soundtrack demands it.
We said of the LZ2000B’s sound system that it was “capable of delivering the kind of cinematic experience that the vast majority of TVs can only dream of”, so we’re in for a real treat if Panasonic really nailed it to outdo himself here.
While it’s fair to say that movie buffs and TV buffs seem to be getting a huge upgrade with the MZ2000, it represents a slightly more qualified improvement for gamers. Games will naturally benefit from the increased brightness, and there’s a very welcome new True Game Mode that’s apparently as carefully calibrated as Panasonic’s most authentic movie presets. There’s also improved tone mapping for more accurate HDR and dedicated audio modes for gaming. ALLM and VRR (including G-Sync and Freesync) are also supported again.
The disappointment is that the MZ2000 still only has two HDMI 2.1 connections that support 4K/120Hz, instead of the four competing TVs from the likes of LG and Samsung. Presumably this means that, despite expectations, it does not feature the new MediaTek Pentonic 1000 HDMI chipset. The MZ2000’s Dolby Vision game mode also tops out at 60 Hz instead of 120 Hz, which will again be a disappointment for Xbox Series X gamers.
The Panasonic MZ2000 OLED TV will be available later this year in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes. And judging by Panasonic’s recent form, we wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be one of the very best TVs of the year, despite its slightly less-than-perfect gaming specs. Which Hi-Fi? is on the ground in Las Vegas this week, so we’ll be among the first to see the MZ2000 in action, so watch this space for our first impressions.
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