Panasonic Announces Its Full 2022 OLED TV Range
Panasonic 2022 OLED TV range revealed with more models launched than ever before by the brand.
Although Panasonic seems, like many other brands, to be running later than usual in announcing its 2022 TVs, it has finally taken the wraps off its latest full range of OLED TVs. Best of all, there's more choice than ever before.
Heading up the new OLED range is the LZ2000 series, available in 77, 65 and 55-inch sizes. We've already covered this series in an earlier story after Panasonic unveiled them at the CES in January. So, all we'll say here is that they benefit from the latest version of Panasonic's ultra-bright, heat sink-equipped 'Master OLED Pro' OLED panel and a so-called 360-degree Dolby Atmos sound system that includes angle-adjustable front speakers.
The first of the newly unveiled OLEDs is the LZ1500 series. Happily, as with 2021's JZ1500s, these models retain precisely the same ultra bright premium panel equipped with a heat sink that the flagship LZ2000s get, enabling them to run significantly brighter than 'normal' OLED TVs. In fact, Panasonic confirmed at its launch event that all of its OLED TVs this year are using the latest so-called EX panels from supplier LG Display. So we should expect to see a noticeable increase in brightness over the already impressive 2021 JZ1500s and JZ2000s.
Panasonic was at pains to point out that the panel at the heart of any TV is only one part of a TV's overall performance story. A perfectly valid point it backs up on the LZ1500 (and, actually, all of its new OLED TVs) by managing to use new processing developments to further enhance brightness both generally but also, especially in blue parts of the picture. In fact, demonstrations suggested that blue colours are reproduced on the LZ1500 with around 40% more brightness than on 2021's Panasonic OLEDs. This contributes, too, to a much larger overall colour volume.
The LZ1500s (available in 65, 55, 48 and even 42-inch versions) will also benefit from the same Panasonic premium HCX AI Pro processor the LZ2000s use, providing the maximum support for Panasonic's TV vision of trying to recreate pictures as their creators intended you to see them. Note that it seems that, unlike LG's latest 42-inch OLEDs, the 42-inch LZ1500 model will join the bigger screens in benefiting from the newest EX panel technology.
Where the LZ1500 falls short of the LZ2000s is with its sound system. In place of the LZ2000's 360-degree Dolby Atmos system, with its built-in side- and up-firing drivers and new 'directional audio' system, the LZ1500 gets a less potent Dynamic Cinema Surround Pro audio system (on the 65 and 55-inch models; the smaller screen sizes get a more regular sound system). However, this sound system still gives you Dolby Atmos playback, and while there aren't as many separate speakers as you get with the LZ2000, the 65 and 55-inch LZ1500's audio set-up still includes a dedicated woofer to bolster bass.
Home cinema fans who already have audio set-ups might rue the lack of a 77-inch screen option in the LZ1500 range. However, while Panasonic says it continues to study the market to see if there's a demand for more big-screen models, it doesn't seem likely that any 77-inch sets aside from the 77LZ2000 are likely to be added to the brand's 2022 range.
If the LZ1500s are too much for you, the next step down in Panasonic's new OLED range is the LZ1000s. Exclusively available (in the UK, anyway) in 65 and 55-inch sizes through retailer John Lewis, the LZ1000s still apparently get some level of heat sink support in their 'Master OLED' screens but seemingly won't deliver the same levels of brightness associated with the two higher-end series. In fact, Panasonic talks more about the LZ1000s' ability to deliver 'deeper, silkier blacks for a more cinematic feel' than about any potential heat sink-related brightness boost.
A further rung down Panasonic's new OLED ladder sits the LZ980s. These will be widely available rather than only appearing through select channels and will differ from the LZ1000s in getting a 'normal' OLED panel rather than a higher-brightness one with any heat sink support. However, they still get Panasonic's HCX Pro AI processor, as well as sharing a Cinema Surround Pro sound system with the LZ1000s. This is a further step down from the audio system in the 55 and 65-inch LZ1500s but still provides Dolby Atmos playback.
While the 42, 48, 55 and 65-inch LZ980 models wrap up Panasonic's OLED offering for most territories, the UK also gets an extra LZ800 series. Set to sell exclusively through 'online retailers', these entry-level models will be available in 65, 55, 48 and 42-inch sizes. So far as we can tell, the main spec difference is that they lose support for Dolby Atmos audio playback.
While we've covered the differences between Panasonic's various new OLEDs, it's worth quickly covering a few new features that they share. Starting with much-expanded gaming support that finds every Panasonic OLED model carrying two 40Gbps HDMI 2.1 ports capable of handling 4K at 120Hz and variable refresh rate gaming. Each OLED will also get a new Game Control Board interface that calls up a menu containing game signal information and game-specific settings. Additionally, this includes such options as adjustments to the TV's HDR tone mapping, the way the screen handles 4K/120Hz feeds, and instant access to Panasonic's various latency reducing options.
There's support for AMD's Freesync Premium VRR system right across the OLED range, too, while input lag is claimed to be even lower than Panasonic has managed before. Plus, a Dark Visibility Enhancer has been added that makes it easier to see enemies hiding in dark areas of the picture.
Panasonic's My Home Screen 7.0 smart system is on hand across the 2022 OLED range to martial all your streaming and app interests within its pleasingly easy to use and interface and adds a bunch of welcome new accessibility features.
Also, a welcome find across the range are built-in ambient light monitors, which work with Panasonic's HCX Pro AI processor to optimise pictures to suit your room conditions. And finally, Panasonic's long-running relationship with Hollywood colourist Stefan Sonnenfeld continues, with every OLED model benefiting from Sonnenfeld's input.
Pricing for the new OLED range has yet to be confirmed. We can, though, share that Panasonic will again not be launching any of its new TVs in the US but will start shipping some models in Europe in June, with the majority arriving in July and the new smallest 42-inch screens turning up as late as October.
Panasonic revealed a couple of its LCD TV offerings alongside its OLED presentations. The LX940 series, available in 75, 65, 55, 49 and 43-inch screen sizes, will get bright HDR Cinema Display Pro LCD panels, Panasonic's flagship HCX AI Pro processor, and support for 4K/120Hz and VRR. However, unlike their predecessors, the LX940s will only be available in some countries in mainland Europe, not in the UK.
The LX800 LCD range, though, WILL be available in the UK, along with the rest of Europe. These 75, 65, 55, 50 and 43-inch screens are quite different to the LX940s, turning as they do to Android TV for their smart features. They also swap the HCX AI Pro processor for a less powerful version; and get a less punchy HDR Cinema Display screen (except in the case of the 50 and 43-inch models, which get a further step down to a Bright Panel Plus screen).
Panasonic is still finalising the details of the cheaper models in its 2022 LCD offering, so we can't add those details to this story. However, we'll certainly let you know if there's anything exciting to tell when they are confirmed.
First impressions of the new Panasonic OLEDs at the in-person launch event we've just attended suggest they look set to offer something potentially exceptional on the picture quality front, despite the sterner competition they're now up against. And this goes, now, for gamers as well as movie fans.
I’ve spent the past 25 years writing about the world of home entertainment technology. In that time I’m fairly confident that I’ve reviewed more TVs and projectors than any other individual on the planet, as well as experiencing first-hand the rise and fall of all manner of great and not so great home entertainment technologies.
JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION
Want to share your opinion or get advice from other enthusiasts? Then head into the Message Forums where thousands of other enthusiasts are communicating on a daily basis.
CLICK HERE FOR FREE MEMBERSHIP