Panasonic offers up HDR and odd sizes with 2016 TV range
Panasonic's 2016 TV range is slowly filtering its way into Australian stores, with high dynamic range (HDR) support taking the limelight when it comes to big new features. Rather than going bigger in display size, the Japanese manufacturer is experimenting with a somewhat unconventional 58-inch form factor that replaces 55-inch models in a number of its 2016 series.
HDR compatible televisions go brighter than a standard high definition display. This in turn improves image depth and colour reproduction. Panasonic's DX900, DX740, and DX700 series all have support for HDR content, but only the DX900 meets UHD Alliance Premium certification. The DX900's panel is able to reach 1000 nits in brightness, while the DX700 and DX740 can only reach 550. As such, the DX900 is able to display more colour information.
The DX900 also uses Panasonic's new "honeycomb-design" local dimming system. Through dividing the TV display into hundreds of independent zones, Panasonic says it is able to offer more accurate local dimming and reduced light haloing.
Panasonic's HDR compatible televisions use the HDR10 HDR standard. HDR10 is one of the two competing HDR standards currently on the market, and is also used by manufacturers such as Sony, Samsung, and Hisense. Dolby Vision is the main competing standard, and has backing from brands including TCL. LG is one of the few companies who support both standards in its high-end products.
In order to actually to take advantage of the TVs' HDR compatibility, users need HDR content to watch. Locally, this is sparse at the moment. Netflix currently streams two shows in HDR – Marco Polo and Daredevil – but has committed to adding hundreds of hours of additional content before the year's end. 4K Blu-Ray disc will also support HDR.
Pricing and availability for Panasonic’s HDR compatible TVs is as follows:
65-inch TH-65DX900U – AUD$7,149 – Available in late May
58-inch TH-58DX900U – AUD$5,799 – Available in late May
65-inch TH-65DX740U – AUD$4,599 – Available now
58-inch TH-58DX740U – AUD$3,299 – Available now
50-inch TH-55DX740U – AUD$2,649 – Available now
65-inch TH-65DX700U – AUD$4,599 – Available now
58-inch TH-58DX700U – AUD$3,299 – Available now
50-inch TH-55DX700U – AUD$2,649 – Available now
The DX740 and DX700 series are almost identical, hence the identical pricing. The one key difference is stand design.
Customers looking for a 4K TV without HDR are also catered for in Panasonic's 2016 line-up. The DX640 and DX600 families feature a range of 4K smart TVs. In terms of hardware differences, the DX640 family has a twin tuner, while the DX600 family only has a single tuner. It does however feature an adjustable stand as compensation. Pricing and availability is as follows:
65-inch TH-65DX640A – AUD$4,199 – Available now
55-inch TH-55DX640A – AUD$2,999 – Available now
55-inch TH-55DX600U – AUD$2,649 – Available in late May
49-inch TH-49DX600U – AUD$2,199 – Available in late July
40-inch TH-40DX600U – AUD$,1749 – Available in late May
All of Panasonic's above 4K TVs run Firefox OS. One of the operating system's standout features is "TV Anytime", functionality that allows users to stream recorded programmes or live TV to their smart-devices through a companion app.
Last but not least, Panasonic has a new range of full high definition televisions, for those who don't want or need 4K. The DS610 series has a basic smart TV operating system, while the D400 eschews smart functionality (with the exception of EPG) entirely. Pricing and availability is as follows:
65-inch TH-65DS610U – AUD$3,649 – Available now
55-inch TH-55DS610U – AUD$2,229 – Available in late May
50-inch TH-50DS610U – AUD$1,899 – Available now
40-inch TH-40DS610U – AUD$1,449 – Available now
49-inch TH-49D400A – AUD$1,449 – Available now
40-inch TH-40D400A – AUD$1,009 – Available in late May
32-inch TH-32D400A – AUD$549 – Available now