Panasonic showed off its top-end OLED TV ranges at CES, while Hisense revealed a searingly bright Mini LED TV.
The 77-inch LZ2000 is the first time Panasonic has gone bigger than 65 inches with one of its TVs in recent years (don’t worry, there are smaller models, too). It also introduced some changes that should make a big difference to audio and the way you hear TVs.
Hisense is focusing heavily on brightness and trying to push every last candela of light from its 2022 ranges.
Keep reading for more details on Panasonic and Hisense’s CES reveals.
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Panasonic LZ2000 OLED TV: smarter picture and better surround sound
Panasonic’s top-of-the-range OLED for 2022 is packed with tantalising selling points. Tweaked display, more speakers and better software for gamers: Panasonic has ticked a lot of boxes.
It’s also bigger than ever before. Generally, Panasonic TVs stop at 65 inches. But the LZ2000 will have a 77-inch option for anyone with plenty of money and plenty of space.
Tuned in Hollywood
‘Tuned in Hollywood’ is Panasonic’s shorthand for a number of features and complicated TV terms designed to make the picture look true to how a filmmaker intended it.
Hollywood colourist Stefan Sonnenfeld works in post-production on films to help the picture sing. Panasonic employs him to work his magic on the LZ2000 and help the colours feel natural and vibrant.
The LZ2000 has a light sensor to measure the brightness of the room and adjust the picture accordingly. This works with the Auto AI mode, which changes the picture settings based on the content you’re watching.
The example Panasonic gives is the different viewing experience you want when watching a film versus a game of football. You don’t necessarily want motion smoothing on a film, but it can be useful to have for sport. Having the TV automatically switch these features on and off would be useful.
TV manufacturers love to say their TVs create a surround sound effect and we’d love to say they are telling the truth. Sadly, we rarely get much sense of directional sound beyond stereo separation, which is audio splitting to come from the left and right of the screen.
The LZ2000 has a better chance of pulling of a surround sound effect than most, though. It has speakers dotted all over the place to send sound in different directions.
Some point upwards to create that overhead sound that works well with Dolby Atmos sound processing. There’s also front-firing speakers (which aren’t as common as you might think as most TV speakers point down) and some pointing to the side, to hopefully wrap the audio around you.
A great way of solving the simulated surround sound issue is not to simulate it at all and Panasonic has done just about everything it can beyond putting speakers behind you.
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Game control board
Gaming is bigger and more profitable than any other digital entertainment and the LZ2000 is set up to make the most of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles.
The new game control board puts all the gaming features and settings into one place, so users can make quick changes when they need to without leaving the game.
It has all the features you’d expect from a modern top-tier TV, too, including:
- 120Hz display for smooth action at 120 frames per second
- VRR (variable refresh rate) to prevent the game looking choppy
- Software to reduce the time it takes for the TV to respond to presses on the controller.
Panasonic is putting a lot of control into gamers’ hands by giving them access to complex data on the control board, such as frame rate, HDR metadata, HDR tone-mapping and more.
These granular options are bound to please gamers who like to make sure they are getting the very best picture and performance when they play.
Size and price
We don’t know what the LZ2000 will cost yet but, based on the cost of its predecessor, the JZ2000, we reckon the 55-inch model will be around £2,000 and the 65-inch will cost around £3,000.
The new 77-inch model cost could more than £5,000.
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Hisense U9H Mini LED TV could be the brightest backlit TV available
Mini LED is the the hot new thing. It’s not entirely new for 2022 but it’s certainly found its way into more TVs.
LEDs put the ‘light’ in backlight. By making them smaller, the UH8 can have more of them – which means more control over how each part of the screen is lit. This should improve contrast, boost HDR and brightness, and prevent the halo effect where bright parts of the picture bloom into darker parts.
Speaking of brightness, Hisense is pushing it. Nits is the measurement for screen brightness and the UH8 has a searing 2,000 of them. This is peak brightness, which usually means one small point of light.
It’s unlikely that the UH8 can display 2,000 Nits of brightness across the whole screen, but having such dazzling points of light dotted around should be good for contrast and HDR.
Like the Panasonic LZ2000, Hisense is putting speakers around the screen rather than having them all pointing down. This should help the UH8 create more directional sound that will be easier to place. Viewers should be able to pick out sound coming from overhead, as well as from the left and right of the screen.
Hisense has announced a 75-inch UH8, but there should be smaller 55 and 65-inch models, too.