Panasonic is looking to offer the most complete television and media experience to-date in a new 4K OLED TV, announced at CES 2019 with modern imagery standards such as HLG and HDR10+ with custom-tuned color, AI support, and Dolby Atmos. Designated the GZ2000 and available in either 65-inch and 55-inch sizes, everything about the new TV is intended to push the boundaries of what a premium set can be. It's OLED panel is a collaborative exclusive display designed and tuned by Panasonic engineers and Hollywood color expert Stefan Sonnenfeld. As CEO and Founder of Company 3, Mr. Sonnenfeld has taken part as a colorist in the production of films ranging from “Wonder Woman” and “Man of Steel” to “Beauty and the Beast," “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and “300.” Panasonic says that the result is the most cinematically accurate panel, in terms of color, that has ever been produced, with the sets and features being driven by an HCX PRO Intelligent Processor.
All of that is on top of support for CalMAN PatternGen test patterns and AutoCal functionality and Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) calibration settings for professional users, with both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support for home and home theater use. Panasonic says the GZ2000 is the first-ever television to support Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) Photo format for HDR still images. The TV essentially supports every current HDR format with high accuracy but Panasonic hasn't forgotten about audio either. Instead, Panasonic says its latest entertainment offering ships as the first ever television to include support Dolby's high-immersion Atmos audio features without the need for extra external hardware. In the Panasonic, GZ2000 that's enabled by multiple upward-firing speakers that can direct and reflect sound around the audience. Unlike traditional channel-based surround sound, Atmos directs individual audio. So a scene contained birds overhead and dialogue front-and-center would play those individual sounds to sound like that's where they're coming from, as long as the media has been tuned to support Atmos.
Joining the AI TV battlefield
Taking matters a step further, Panasonic is including some support for both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in the new television, albeit not apparently by direct integration. Other manufacturers are centering their own hardware at CES 2019 on delivering sets built on the Android TV platform or with deep integration of AI. Samsung's televisions throughout the year, for example, will include support for both and in a similar fashion to Panasonic's GZ2000. Bixby will form the underlying AI on the televisions themselves while integration with Google Assistant and Alexa will enable more interactions. Panasonic is also including support for voice controls of the TV itself rather than simply focusing on those ecosystems as a means to deliver content. For the GZ2000, connected devices, live TV, and apps along the lines of Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube will be displayed to users via a redesigned UI in a next-generation version of Panasonic's My Home Screen 4.0 OS. The user experience will center around icons and shortcuts in a layout that's completely customizable and configurable, allowing consumers to create their own experience and organize things to their liking.
Prices to match the features
Panasonic's press release for its new GZ2000 television makes no mention of pricing but the chances it will fall into the 'affordable' category are non-existent by any stretch of the imagination. The GZ2000 is made to offer every feature alongside the best panel possible and to tick the boxes for all of the latest standards. That almost certainly means it will be priced outside of the brackets typically occupied by the average consumer. It would be surprising for the sets to land at less than $25,000. Similarly, no mention is made regarding regional availability or when it will be available to buy following the CES 2019 announcement.