Panasonic is promising to deliver its “best and brightest picture” yet in 2023 with the launch of its new flagship MZ2000 OLED TV. Which is saying something considering how successful the 2022 reference Panasonic LZ2000B is in the picture department.
The MZ2000 supposedly takes things to new heights courtesy of a new custom OLED panel Panasonic is calling the 'Master OLED Ultimate' – pretty endgame terminology, eh? This “state-of-the-art panel” is powered by Panasonic’s HCX Pro AI processor, benefits from a new multi-layer heat management designed by the company’s engineers, and like the new LG G3 OLED utilises Micro Lens Array (MLA) technology – a layer of tiny lenses that better focus the light from the panel's OLEDs for a brighter picture.
Panasonic says these developments have improved peak brightness (by a substantial 150 per cent) and average brightness compared to its OLED models from last year. In Panasonic's online demonstration today, it measured the peak brightness of its 2022 OLED and 2023 MZ2000 as around 1000 nits and 1,456 nits respectively – impressive. That can only be good news when it comes to HDR viewing – indeed, Panasonic claims it has achieved its best HDR picture yet here – and on that front, the MZ2000 embraces a range of HDR formats including Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+ Adaptive and HLG.
The company has once again drawn on the knowledge of long-time collaborator and renowned Hollywood colourist Stefan Sonnenfeld to ensure the TV’s picture quality is accurate in its reproduction. 'As the director intended' picture accuracy is something that Filmmaker Mode has strived to offer on compatible sets over the past couple of years, and the MZ2000 not only supports it but also features an upgraded ambient colour temperature sensor that can better detect lighting conditions in a room so that contrast and colour can be adjusted accordingly.
Panasonic’s flagship TVs have gone huge on sound for some years now, offering an integrated sound system that goes beyond most premium sets. The MZ2000 is no different, featuring a Technics-tuned, Dolby Atmos system comprising multiple built-in upward-firing, side-firing and front-firing speakers. The front speaker array, which runs the entire length of the TV behind a speaker grille, has been revised for a wider soundstage, with three modes allowing you to choose whether the TV system’s sound output should be directed to one point (Pinpoint Mode), shifted towards a certain place or group of people (Area Mode) or boosted in volume in one particular spot (Spot Mode). Lastly, the bass-boosting algorithm has been upgraded for a greater sense of thwack when a soundtrack requires 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 are in for a real treat if Panasonic really has managed to one-up itself here.
While it's fair to say that film fanatics and TV bingers appear to be getting a huge upgrade with the MZ2000, it represents a slightly more qualified improvement for gamers. Games will, of course, benefit from the increased brightness, and there's a very welcome new True Game Mode that's apparently as carefully calibrated as the Panasonic's most authentic movie presets. There's improved tone mapping for more accurate HDR, too, and dedicated audio modes for gaming. ALLM and VRR (including G-Sync and Freesync) are supported once again as well.
The disappointment is that the MZ2000 still has just two HDMI 2.1 sockets that support 4K/120Hz, rather than the four of rival TVs from the likes of LG and Samsung. Presumably, this means that, despite expectations, it doesn't feature the new MediaTek Pentonic 1000 HDMI chipset. The MZ2000's Dolby Vision game mode also tops out at 60Hz rather than 120Hz, which will be another disappointment for Xbox Series X gamers.
The Panasonic MZ2000 OLED TV will be available in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes when it hits shelves later this year. And if Panasonic's recent form is anything to go by, we won't be surprised if it turns out to be one of the very best tellies of the year, despite the slightly less-than-perfect gaming spec. What Hi-Fi? is on the ground in Las Vegas this week so we will be among the first to see the MZ2000 in action, so watch this space for our initial impressions.
Read our five-star Panasonic TX-65LZ2000B OLED TV review
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