If the past two years aren’t an indication, then let it be said now: 4K is here to stay, and while we’ve seen LG and Samsung show their Ultra HD wares, now its time for Panasonic to dish the goss and reveal what it has in store for Australia in 2015.
This year, while LG and Samsung talk quantum dot in their tellies, Panasonic is showing off a different game, bringing up terms like “quad-core” and the name “Firefox” to describe some of the tech it is throwing in its televisions this year, many of which will also support 4K Ultra HD, though some will keep to the Full HD plan and provide 1080p for people who don’t necessarily wish to spend up big.
That being said, 4K is a big part of the 2015 range, with Panasonic introducing 23 models across eight ranges, with 60 percent of these working in the Ultra High Definition spectrum, providing 4K picture quality to anything with a “CX” in the name, including the CX640, CX700, CX740, and the best of the best for Panasonic, the CX800.
All of these are a little different, each bringing different specs, sizes, and a separate sense of style to the series, starting with the CX640, which will arrive later this month in 55 and 65 inch varieties for $2799 and $3999 respectively, boasting an 800MHz Backlight Motion-Rate panel running at the UHD 3840×2160 resolution, Panasonic’s colour system “HEXA Chroma Drive”, support for 4K over HDMI, and even with two HD tuners found inside the TV — you know, for people who still like to watch TV.
There’s also a quad-core processor found inside and a new operating system, with Panasonic relying not on Tizen like Samsung, not on WebOS like LG, and not on Google like other companies, but rather Firefox with its own operating system, the aptly named Firefox OS.
The apps you’ve come to expect are here, such as Netflix, YouTube, and plenty of others, and these can be mapped to your main Firefox OS apps screen, pinned to the start just like when you pin apps to the Start Bar in Windows or the Dock in Mac OS.
Mozilla’s Firefox OS appears on other Panasonic TVs, too, as does the quad-core processing and the 800MHz panel, which arrives on the more varied CX700 in a 50 inch ($2599), 55 inch ($2999), 60 inch ($3699), and 65 inch model ($4299) which should be in stores right now.
Above the CX700, the panels get a little faster, jumping to 1000MHz in the CX700 and CX800, with a few more features aimed at making 4K look a little better when you’re upscaling, while also adding support for Bluetooth, too.
The CX800 rounds out the high-end, offering a 55 and 65 inch model, but no price or availability until later on the year.
This model will apparently aim to deliver an image quality closer to what motion picture makers are looking for, with algorithms based on what Panasonic’s Hollywood Laboratory has gathered in research over the year, providing more detail blacks across scenes that are both light and dark via the 4K Studio Master Drive technology present in this model.
Beyond it, however, we’re not sure what the differences are, especially since Panasonic has confirmed that most of its 4K range will get the benefit of its colour management technology via HEXA Chroma Drive to deliver strong gamut, will rely on Super Bright Panel Plus to deliver stronger brightness without a stronger consumption of power (the contrary, in fact), as well as “TV Anytime” which relies on a smartphone or tablet app to let you watch broadcasts from your television from any place around the world.
“Throughout our 4K and premium Full HD range, Panasonic delivers picture quality features to ensure that whatever model you choose, you’ll enjoy a bright, vivid and crisp viewing experience,” said Maetham Roomi, Senior Product Manager for Home Entertainment at Panasonic in Australia.
“At the heart of our 4K TVs, Panasonic’s Quad-Core processor supports both a refined 4K picture and powerful smart TV processing for a fast, smooth user experience. Users can enjoy high- quality, detailed images whether they are from web streams, broadcasts, Blu-ray or 4K feeds.”
The Firefox operating system will also bring in some interesting changes, such as a new picture in picture mode that can align two different sources to show video side by side, and a directional frame Panasonic calls “Info Frame” that allows you to view related TV shows, web pages, weather, and more simply by pressing up, down, left or right with the remote.
“Panasonic has introduced the Firefox operating system across our 4K range to provide a graphically rich, intuitive interface that makes it quick and easy for you to track your favourite content when you want it,” said Roomi.
If 4K isn’t something you care about, you’ll find Full HD resolution only on some of Panasonic’s other TVs, including the CS650 available in 40 inch ($1699), 50 inch ($1999) and 55 inch ($2399) with a dual core processor in that series, while the CS610 will ditch the dual-core chip and offer similar tech in a 40 inch ($1399), 50 inch ($1699), 55 inch ($2099), 60 inch ($2799), and 65 inch ($3399) television.
Finally, there’s a smallish model, with the C400 delivering high definition 720p in the 32 inch $549 model, while the 40 inch is Full HD for $999.