Last weekend I traveled to Berlin as the guest of Panasonic to visit their stand at IFA – a large consumer electronics trade show. I was there with my fellow Viera VIP Club members, and our first priority was to check out the new Viera product that Panasonic announced at the show – the TX-65CZ950 – their first OLED television. It also happens to be their first 4K OLED television, and the first OLED television on the market to be THX certified, so they are justifiably very excited to show it off.
OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diodes, and it’s actually a very different technology from standard LED. With a standard LED each individual pixel on the screen is always on, and there’s a “gate” that comes across it to make it black when required. Because the LED is still on behind the gate, a little bit of light “leaks” out, and so typically an LED television struggles to display blacks and very dark colours clearly. Through some clever technology that I don’t fully understand, the organic matter used in OLED screens goes completely black when required, and has a better ability to display different shades of black, resulting in much more clarity on dark scenes. You can see details on the Panasonic OLED screen that don’t show on other LED or plasma screens.
One of Panasonic’s stated aims with their Viera television range is to display the picture as the director intended it. They are uniquely positioned in the television market to achieve this, as they also produce the professional video monitors that are used throughout the film and television industry (they’ve even received a BAFTA for their services to the industry). In addition they have recruited the services of Mike Sowa, a Hollywood colourist who has worked on such movies as Oblivion and Insurgent. Mike has worked closely with the Panasonic product developers to ensure the Panasonic Viera 4k range display the picture as true to the director’s vision as possible. You can hear Mike talking more about this in the video below:
Panasonic were very proud to show us the TX-65CZ950 OLED Television, and I would say that pride is completely justified. It is a gorgeous television with the most amazing clarity and sharpness of picture. It has a 65 inch curved screen which is manufactured to a very high standard, it is very slim when viewed from the side, as you can see:
Panasonic have even upholstered the back of the television with a fabric called Alcantara, which feels very soft, and adds to the feeling that this is a premium product.
Panasonic had a demonstration area where we were able to see this television side by side with one of their top end plasma screens, and the difference in clarity, sharpness and detail was very noticeable indeed. I wish a photo could do it justice…
We got the chance to talk with two members of the Panasonic team from Japan, and they kept saying that they were aiming to recreate the cinema experience in the home environment. This is clearly very important to them, and with this television I would say they have definitely succeeded.
Panasonic haven’t announced any information about the retail price or availability of this gorgeous television, only that it is launching in the UK “soon”. Given the size and quality of the TX-65CZ950 I would say it is going to be a top-end offering with a price tag to match. I think they will be marketing it at those who want a really good home cinema setup, and are prepared to invest in a television that can allow them to achieve near-cinema quality in their own home. Those people are going to be delighted with this television, and I can only hope that Panasonic continue to work to develop this range so that we can see their OLED technology coming into more of their televisions in the future. I would love to have a television like this in my lounge!
Disclosure: I am a member of the Panasonic Viera VIP Club. I will be working with Panasonic over the course of the year to bring you news and reviews relating to Panasonic’s Viera range. Panasonic paid all my travel costs to IFA 2015.