Panasonic expands 2020 OLED TV line-up with affordable HZ980 series

Panasonic expands 2020 OLED TV line-up with more affordable HZ980 series
(Image credit: Panasonic)

Panasonic has added a more affordable OLED series to its 2020 TV line-up.

The HZ980 series will be available in 55-inch (TX-55HZ980) and 65in (TX-65HZ980) sizes and will sit below the HZ2000, HZ1500 and HZ1000 OLED ranges the Japanese brand introduced earlier this year.

That takes Panasonic's OLED TV count for 2020 to eight models and brings the starting price for a brand-new Panasonic OLED TV down to £1799 (the price of the 55-inch variant) – £200 less than the 55-inch model in the HZ1000 range. While Panasonic hasn't yet confirmed the price of the 65-inch HZ980, we can therefore reasonably expect it to be hundreds of pounds less than the £2899 65-inch HZ1000.

Despite its more modest price, the HZ980 series shares many of the premium features of its siblings, including Panasonic's flagship HCX PRO picture processor and support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision with Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+, Filmmaker Mode with Intelligent Sensing, and Netflix Calibrated Mode.

It too boasts HDMI 2.1 ports, with the specification's eARC support allowing the TVs to send high quality sound (such as Dolby Atmos) directly to compatible AV receivers and soundbars.

So what is it missing the HZ980 that makes it more affordable than its pricier siblings? The HZ980 doesn't have the Smooth Motion Drive Pro processing found in the HZ1000, or the swivel design of its siblings' stands. 

Predictably, it opts for the standard 4K OLED panel found in the HZ1000 and HZ1500, as opposed to the Professional Edition 4K OLED panel in the flagship HZ2000. And, lastly and also as expected, it doesn't boast the HZ1500 and HZ2000's built-in Dolby Atmos speaker systems with upward-firing height speakers.

Still, with the OLED panel and many of the 2020 line-up's premium features, could this be the best-value pick of the bunch? With the 55-inch Sony KD-55A8 OLED also coming in at £1700, and LG's entry-level 55-inch OLED55BX seemingly set to arrive at £1299, bring on the battle of the affordable 2020 OLED TVs!


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.