Panasonic TX-55HZ2000 Review • At the very top of the Panasonic line-up!
Tech Week score:
The thin OLED screen has a fine black frame, and the speakers are hidden behind a metal grille at the bottom. The base is a fairly heavy, central base plate in anthracite brushed metal. The whole is like a house. Keep in mind that the TV is relatively heavy, this 55-incher weighs about the same as some other 65-inch OLED models.
Cables can be run at the back via the foot and then concealed with the large cover plate. It is a somewhat rudimentary cable management solution.
TX-55HZ2000: Connect IT!
We should immediately disappoint those who hoped for HDMI 2.1 connections. This model also has to do with HDMI 2.0. Two HDMI 2.1 features are provided, namely eARC (Enhanced ARC) and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode).
The TV is equipped with four HDMI connections that deliver the full HDMI 2.0 bandwidth and can therefore handle Ultra HD HDR in the best quality. You will also find three USB connections (one of which is USB 3.0), a component video input with stereo cinch audio input for your older analog sources, an optical digital audio output. The headphone connection can also be switched to a subwoofer output via the menus, if you want to give the bass some support.
Keep in mind that some of the connections (including two HDMI and two USB) point to the back and can therefore make wall mounting more difficult. There is of course also an ethernet connection and built-in WiFi. You can connect your wireless headphones, gamepad or mouse / keyboard via Bluetooth, but you can also send the audio from your smartphone to the TV.
Good news for the TV viewers who don’t want to use a set-top box. This Panasonic offers you three antenna connections, a dual DVB-T2 / C / S2 tuner with a double CI + slot. If you connect an external USB hard drive, you can watch TV and record another channel at the same time.
My Home Screen 5.0
The smart TV platform from Panasonic, now in its fifth iteration, has a beautiful, modern and uncluttered interface. Do you want to select a different input, a TV channel or connected USB device, or do you want to open an app? All those things can be found in the bar at the bottom of the home screen that takes up minimal screen space.
A second bar of content appears as soon as you select an app that supports it (YouTube and Netflix for example). The interface is fast, and you can change the order of the icons yourself on favorites.
A top model comes with a more luxurious remote control. Panasonic has had this brushed alloy version of its classic remote for several years now. It may seem a bit clunky but it feels great in the hand, the layout is good and the keys are easy to press. Netflix has its own button and you can assign the ‘My App’ button (bottom left) to your favorite app. You can use the ‘Picture’ button at the top right to quickly change the image mode. Via the menus you determine which image modes appear in that list.
We would almost forget, this remote is also illuminated, and if you often enjoy movies in the dark, that is very useful. We think it is a shame that the playback keys at the bottom of the remote are not illuminated.
TX-55HZ2000: Image quality
On this top model, Panasonic, like all other manufacturers that offer OLED, uses an OLED panel from LG Display, but one that customizes it itself. The panel is equipped with better cooling and a different power supply. This allows it to achieve a higher peak brightness, Panasonic claims about 20 percent more. Whether that is the case, we will come back to that in a moment. In any case, the panel has excellent uniformity, even in dark images.
The HCX Pro image processor also gets the very best from this OLED panel. The processor provides excellent black detail, while retaining a lot of nuance. Another particularly strong asset: the TV handles low-quality dark images very well. Where this can sometimes lead to visible color bands or slightly flickering effects with other manufacturers, this Panasonic keeps that perfectly under control. This is thanks to the excellent noise reduction for both random and MPEG noise (block formation), but presumably also the excellent control of the OLED panel.
Fast action images come out better now that Panasonic uses a modified ‘Black Frame Insertion’ technique. This makes even more detail visible in fast-moving images, without annoying flicker or excessive loss of brightness as a side effect. We thought that the ‘Minimum’ setting was the best choice, although you might want to leave it off in HDR so as not to lose clarity. Combined with the excellent ‘Intelligent Frame Creation’ technique, even fast pan shots are beautifully smooth and detailed. Keep ‘Intelligent Frame Creation’ at the ‘minimum’ setting, although it must be said, even in the highest setting the results were very good.
The ‘True Cinema’ image mode has been calibrated exemplarily. Accurate colors, a perfectly neutral gray scale, the images are indeed worthy of a studio monitor, an exceptional achievement. Panasonic also implemented the ‘Filmmaker Mode’, which guarantees that you see the images as the director intended. Filmmaker mode deactivates almost all image processing, but delivers the same beautiful images as True Cinema.
With support for HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision and HDR10 +, you don’t have to ask questions about the format of your HDR material. But what about the peak brightness? It is indeed impressive. The HZ2000 scores 1008 nits on a 10% window, which is indeed about 20% more than most competitors. It also retains that lead on larger white parties (up to 50% white). Combined with the large color gamut (97% DCI-P3) and the excellent processing of HDR images, the viewing experience is fantastic.
One last asset. Panasonic now also offers Dolby Vision IQ. The TV adjusts the Dolby Vision image based on the ambient light. For example, dark scenes are lightly brightened so that you see sufficient black detail even with more ambient light. What’s more, under the name ‘Intelligent Sensing’, Panasonic offers a similar function for HDR10; HDR10 +, HLG and SDR footage. In a lot of ambient light, colors are made slightly richer and the image gets a little more clarity so that it retains its impact.
TX-55HZ2000: Sound quality
With the ‘Technics’ brand on the loudspeaker grille, we also expect good performance in the audio field. The TV is equipped with a 140 Watt audio system of which 2x 20W is in upfiring speakers for Dolby Atmos. Everything has been tuned by Technics. During installation, you specify how far the set is from the back wall and how far it is from your ceiling, so that the TV can ensure optimal results. And yes, the sound is very good. With the volume knob on the halfway, the music is sometimes too loud, so there is a lot of power in it.
What we do hear is that, depending on how high you set the volume, the timbre changes slightly, presumably to prevent overdriving. The effect is not so pronounced as to be a nuisance. Technics tunes the sound relatively sharply, so that screeching guitars or solid snare drums come in very hard. Playing around with the settings a bit can fix that. Also visit the ‘Sound field creation’ setting. Panasonic uses the upfiring speakers to create a different atmosphere experience: that of a recording studio, stage or movie theater.
And what about Dolby Atmos? We dove into a Star Wars space battle and the TV gives an excellent sense of spaciousness, with a clear portion of height effects. You rarely hear any noise above your head, which may depend on the settings and your room, but that is also quite a challenge for all TVs. Either way, the Panasonic scores excellent and will give your movie experience a significant boost.
The Panasonic TX-55HZ2000 is the TV of choice for the film fanatic. Its only downside: no HDMI 2.1 connections, so not the best choice for next-gen gamers. But unparalleled OLED picture quality, with deep contrast, many shadow nuances, rich colors and top performance for HDR thanks to a customized OLED panel. A powerful audio solution with Dolby Atmos support and upfiring speakers complement the impressive images with room-filling surround. The price tag is hefty, which unfortunately belongs to a reference model.