Panasonic has a new batch of TVs. Whether you’re after a big 4K and HDR OLED model for the living room, or a smaller HD LCD unit for the bedroom, there’s something for everyone. Here’s an overview of everything you need to know about Panasonic’s 2017 TVs.
We have details of every model in the range for the year, I’ll go through each one and explain their differences below. Where possible I’ve also included our first impressions of a few models, based on previews from various trade shows – or full reviews, if we’ve been sent one to test. Check out the links under the individual descriptions.
Panasonic 2017 TV Model Number Guide
- EZ1002 (EZ1000 outside the UK) – 77 and 65 inches
- EZ952 (EZ950 outside the UK) – 65 and 55 inches
- DX902 (2016 model, continues in 2017) – 65 and 58 inches
- DX802 (2016 model, continues in 2017 – 58 and 50 inches
- EX750 (EX780 in Europe) – 75, 65, 58 and 50 inches
- EX700 – 65, 58, 50 and 40 inches
- EX600 – 65, 55, 49 and 40 inches
- ES500 – 49, 40, 32 and 24 inches
- ES400 – 49, 40 and 32 inches
A quick way to decipher these numbers is as follows:
- Panasonic is using ‘EZ’ to label its premium TVs, the 4K OLED models
- ‘DX’ is for the top 4K LCD LED models from 2016, which will continue into 2017
- ‘EX’ is for the 2017 4K LED LCD models, a step down in the range
- ‘ES’ is for the lower tier models going up to 1080p
I’ll look at all those new TV models in a bit more detail later on, but first here are 3 important facts about all Panasonic’s TVs in 2017.
Related: Best TVs 2017
1. All the 4K models are HDR compatible – and with HLG
They all use the HDR10 system, rather than Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision uses dynamic metadata to get the most out of different TVs, but Panasonic is confident in its ability to optimise its own screens.
What you do get is Hybrid Log-Gamma compatibility (HLG), straight out of the box, for all the 4K HDR models in 2017. As for the existing 2016 models, the Panasonic DX750, DX800 and DX900 series will get HLG via firmware update.
Speaking of HDR, Panasonic has introduced a fast HDR mode just for gaming, specifically to target the issue of input lag.
2. There will be no more curves from Panasonic
Panasonic is only doing flat TVs now. There was a time when the TV market had plenty of curved options, but in 2017 they are a rarity. Unlike Samsung, who is still putting out curved options, Panasonic appears to have abandoned the idea entirely.
Masahiro Shinada, director of Panasonic’s TV division, tells me curved TVs were a fad. In Europe, at least. “It was a kind of a boom. 2015 was the peak of that boom, and we chose to use curves. I think the boom has passed, especially in Western countries. In Asia the curve is seen as a premium, but not in the West. And if we consider wall-hanging, the curve is a strange style.”
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3. OLED is here to stay
In 2015, Panasonic launched its first OLED TV, the CZ952. Nobody knew it would end up being a massive success, so at the time it was a bit of an experiment. Two years later, we have new OLED models, the EZ1002 and EZ952. Mr Shinada tells me Panasonic is committed to OLED as it believes the technology is the best for picture quality, and that we can expect new OLED models every year.
The company is also very upfront about its use of LG OLED panels, and says its experience in that other self-emissive technology (plasma) is its main weapon in the OLED game.
Shinada says: “At this moment, only LG can supply OLED panels. The panels are the same but how we drive them will be different. We have knowledge of self-emitting systems from plasma technology. That’s our core competence.”
Now, time to break down the differences between each of the 2017 models.
Panasonic EZ1002 (right)
Panasonic TX-77EZ1002 / TX-65EZ1002
This was the first of Panasonic’s 2017 TVs to be announced. It’s the company’s second OLED, the follow-up to the hugely successful CZ952 from 2015. It has double the peak brightness, going up to 1000 nits. It uses Panasonic’s top-tier Studio Colour HCX2 processor, which is accurate enough to be used in a Hollywood colour grading environment. Its Absolute Black filter absorbs stray ambient light and minimises reflections, and it also has a speaker bar tuned by Panasonic’s Technics division.
Read our verdict: Panasonic TX-65EZ1002 review
Panasonic TX-65EZ952 / TX-55EZ952
In a surprise move, Panasonic announced it has a second OLED up its sleeve. The EZ952 is very similar to the EZ1002: it uses the same panel and the same Studio Colour HCX2 processor. It doesn’t have the Absolute Black filter and soundbar base, though. Perhaps most importantly, this range sees Panasonic offer OLED in a more accessible 55-inch variant.
Read our verdict: Panasonic TX-65EZ952 review
Panasonic TX-65DX902 / TX58DX902 / TX-58DX802 / TX-50DX802
The DX902 and DX802 series were the top two performers in Panasonic’s 2016 lineup. They will continue to be sold in 2017.
We’ve tested both and you can read our findings here:
Panasonic TX-75EX750 / TX-65EX750 / TX-58EX750 / TX-50EX750
As the top-tier LCDs from 2016 continue to be sold this year, Panasonic’s 2017 LED LCD range begins in the middle tier. The EX750 is the top model of this middle tier. It has a peak brightness of around 550 nits, but it also uses the same Studio Colour HCX2 processor found in the premium OLED models.
It is an edge-lit LCD – none of Panasonic’s 2017 4K TVs are direct lit. It uses a new local dimming approach: local dimming tends to involve splitting the lighting into zones to separate the light and dark areas, but Panasonic says it has found a way to manipulate the LCD panel itself and limit light bleeds. The idea is to maximise the level of contrast you’d typically get from an LCD TV.
The EX750 has a curious ‘Swivel and Lift’ design, which does exactly as it suggests. You’ll be able to adjust the TV’s height and the direction it faces. Well, the 58-inch and 50-inch versions, anyway. The 65-inch version only has the swivel element and the 75-inch version doesn’t move at all.
Last and least: the EX750 is the only model in the entire range to support 3D. It uses the active shutter system. Demand for 3D has dwindled to the point where most manufacturers just don’t bother any more, but you may want to look at this model if you’ve invested heavily in 3D Blu-rays.
Check out our first impressions: Panasonic EX750 review
Panasonic TX-65EX700 / TX-58EX700 / TX-50EX700 / TX-40EX700
The EX700 is a step down from the EX750 and doesn’t get quite as bright – around 350 nits, I’m told. It loses out on its big brothers’ Studio Colour HCX2 processor but keeps the same local dimming tech as the EX750. It’s still capable of a wide colour spectrum, however, and promises 90% of the DCI colour spectrum.
It doesn’t have the fancy lift and swivel stand, instead settling on flexibly positioned metal feet. You have them face forwards or backwards, depending on your brand of interior design. More importantly, you can position them near the centre or near the corners of the TVs, which is good for people without massive bench-style AV racks.
Panasonic TX-65EX600 / TX-55EX600 / TX-49EX600 / TX-40EX600
This is the entry level for 4K. The EX600 has the same brightness as the EX700 – about 350 nits – but loses out on on the advanced local dimming tech. You also lose out on the wide colour spectrum.
So why would you consider this series? Well this is the first time Panasonic has brought the larger screen sizes lower down in the range, and that means you can have more pixels for less.
As with the EX700, the EX600 offers flexible stand positioning.
Panasonic TX-49ES500 / TX-40ES500 / TX-32ES500 / TX-24ES500
That’s it for 4K and HDR. These models offer standard dynamic range and only go up to 1080p. But this end of the market is still healthy and these models make for great second TVs, especially if you want a more affordable one for the bedroom.
These are LED LCD panels, and they are all Full HD 1080p – except for the 32-inch models and smaller which are HD-ready at 768p.
Panasonic TX-49ES400 / TX-40ES400 / TX-32ES400
The ES400 is very similar to the ES500, but the key difference is panel speed. Panasonic says the ES500 has a backlight motion rate of 600Hz – but 400Hz for the ES400.
Both of them offer internet connectivity and smart TV, which is nice because the bottom models often get passed over for this sort of thing.
Panasonic 2017 TVs – prices and release dates
Panasonic says we can expect to see the OLEDs in June 2017, the LCDs in April, and that we can expect prices to be confirmed a couple of weeks before release. That being said, I noticed prices and preorder options are already up at Richer Sounds, one of the UK’s biggest and most reliable TV retailers.
While this isn’t official, and while this doesn’t give us all the prices we want, it’s a good starting point. The retailer says it expects stock in late March. And as for prices, here they are:
TX-65EX750 – £2499
TX-58EX750 – £1699
TX-50EX750 – £1299
TX-65EX700 – £1899
TX-58EX700 – £1199
TX-50EX700 – £949
TX-40EX700 – £799
TX-49EX600 – £849
TX-40EX600 – £749
Watch: Best TVs at CES 2017
Are you interested in Panasonic’s TVs this year? Do you have a favourite? Let us know in the comments below.