PANASONIC’S NEW OLEDS SCREENING AT A STORE NEAR YOU
Panasonic, unarguably the last and best of the native TV manufacturers has chosen two flagship model to showcase its inaugural 2017 OLED TV range in Australia.
Panasonic is rolling out the superlatives for the $8990 77-inch TH-EZ1000 and the $7199 65-inch TH-65EZ1000 models, describied as having the brand's most "accurate" and "detailed" picture, "ever".
The 65-inch model will available in July, with the top-of-the line 77-inch model scheduled to arrive in November this year.
The four-model EZ range includes the $7199 TH-65EZ950 and the $4999 55-inch TH-55EZ950. Both have a July release date.
Panasonic will also release a premium range of 4k, Pro HDR Ultra LED TVs in April and may. This range comprises the $7199 75-inch TH-EEX780, the $4499 65-inch TH-65EX780 and the $3299 58-inch TH-58EX780.
The TV onslaught doesn’t end there with Panasonic in May, hoping to entice the "mums and dads" market with a range of four 4K HDR UHD LED TVs with screen sizes ranging from 43-inch to 65-inches and pricing of $1799 to $3299.
Panasonic will also release a poverty pack range of plain vanilla LED TVs in June. The three models offer a choice of a 40-inch, 49-inch or a 55-inch screen.
The final model is a 32-inch LED TV poised to arrive in May with a price tag of $499. Which raised the question around the StereoNET office of “Why bother?”
A comprehensive lineup. And whilst you can take it to the bank that most sales will be racked up by the relatively sanely priced ranges of 4K HDR UHD and Full HD LED models priced between $1799 and $3299, there’ll be plenty of interest in the OLED and 4K Pro HDR models as well.
So what does $7000+ and nearly $9000 buy you in an OLED TV? Plenty according to Panasonic, but you’d expect the company PR to say that.
Doug Campbell, Panasonic's Category Manager AV and Imaging says the innate OLED qualities are just a start for the brand.
Panasonic’s OLED TVs take OLED’s unique qualities of hardware and software innovations that’s born of decades of experiencing in developing TV technology, as well as a 20-year collaboration with Hollywood.
The EZ1000 models are unarguably loaded with the brand’s leading edge TV and audio technologies. Both have Panasonic’s Absolute Black Filter said to deliver the most accurate black levels.
Sound hasn't been ignored either and both top-shelf models have a built-in, sleek sound system Panasonic describes as the “Dynamic Blade Speaker.’’ Delve a little more and this sound system carries 14 speakers - eight woofers, four Squawkers and two tweeters and a quad passive radiator.
This sound system was developed by the invigorated Panasonic audio brand called, Technics. Quite a brand in its day and capable of creating some really decent audio for any TV.
Both flagship TVs have leading edge processing. In this case it’s the brand’s Studio Colour HCX2 4k Pro processor tuned by Hollywood professionals that crunches data.
Colour rendition is handled by the brand’s HEXA Chroma Drive 4K Pro which has 6-colour reproduction to add three complementary colours (CMY). Part of this circuitry is a nifty colour correcting system that uses professional 3D Look Up Tables with each brightness step having a complete database of colours stored on the processor to ensure the most accurate colours are always displayed.
Panasonic is still an authentic TV manufacturer in an era when so many cherished brands have gone to the wall. It deserves to do well with its current ranges and most likely will.
But it’s anyone’s guess as to how many $9000 TVs any brand can push into a market crammed with clones and clones of really large flatscreen TVs that sell not on picture quality, but on screen real estate.
The average punter equates screen “bigness” with great picture quality. The average punter is also no mug when it comes to sorting through superfluous TV features. Vide 3D TV, a feature we predicted was as useful as a brand new shovel in a leaking boat.
To understand 3D you’d need to cast an eye over the TV manufacturing landscape of the mid to late 90’s when the Koreans and Chinese entered the ‘’Flatscreen’’ market crashing prices and eroding margins.
3D was always just a way to retain some kind of profit margin for the industry by increasing the price of any TV that had the feature.
OLED is a much more authentic innovation and quality OLED TVs have startling picture quality. But it’s doubtful if the average consumer is swayed to buy a specific model because it is an OLED TV.
In the long run, TV manufacturers have to face a terminal decline for two reasons: a failure to develope a TV technology that looks beyond flatscreen or any other screen. In other words a TV technology as radical as flat screen TVs were measured against the old, venerable tube TV.
Side-by-side, consumers snapped up the flatscreen models because they were perceptibly more modern. That’s hardly the case these days as stores range rows and rows of flatscreen models with nothing stylistically to differentiate any of them.
This failure to deliver consumers a radical new, TV technology continues to ensure that consumers on the whole see all flatscreen models as a variation on a theme of flatscreen TVs.
So profit margins will continue to plummet because competition will continue to drive prices through the basement. This shouldn’t be a cause for optimism, because cheap prices are always and consistently a harbinger of declining manufacturing quality.
Which is why we should care about the survival of authentic manufacturers the calibre of Panasonic. On this score count me as being quietly optimistic.
One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, if there's a speaker he's likely heard it or owned it at some point in his career. Peter was formerly the audio-video editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades.
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