The HZ1000 delivers the kind of picture quality we’ve come to expect from Panasonic with fantastic images from virtually any source. The multi-HDR support is a boon for home cinema aficionados and the sound is better than expected. There aren't many concessions made for gamers though, and it is a pricey 65-inch TV.
- Fantastic picture quality
- Multi-HDR support
- Good sound quality
- Simple interface
- Good build quality
- Not tuned for gamers
- Review Price: £2399
- Filmmaker Mode
- Dolby Atmos
- My Screen Home 5.0 interface
- ALLM, eARC support
- Netflix Calibrated Mode
- Swivel stand
- Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG, HLG Photo
The Panasonic HZ1000 is the Japanese brand’s third tier OLED for 2020 and features a few improvements and additions over the 2019 GZ1000.
Arriving in 55- and 65-inch variations (the latter reviewed here), the Panasonic HZ1000 has a similar feature set to the HZ1500 and HZ2000 OLEDs in Panasonic’s range, but drops some features to make this TV the option for those who aren’t after the premium picture and sound features.
The HZ1500 and HZ200 received received five-stars from us. Is the HZ1000 set to complete a trifecta of top scores?
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Panasonic HZ1000 design — Built like a tank with no-frills design
The build quality of Panasonic’s OLEDs in general are of the no-frills, no-fuss kind. The clean, uniform lines and black finish gives the HZ1000 a utilitarian feel. And that’s fine. It’s a robustly built set that’s not inclined to be as flashy or as minimalist as its competitors. After all, a TV is meant for watching, not staring at its build quality.
Connections feature side-facing and downward-facing ports, which makes it easier for wall-mounting but does introduce some awkwardness when locating the right port.
Despite the HZ1000 being the first model in the range that doesn’t have the integrated upward-firing Atmos speakers, at 144.9 x 89.6 x 35cm (HWD inc. stand) it’s virtually the same size as its 65-inch siblings. On the left-hand side of the rear panel are physical controls for volume, channel hopping and power, a feature you don’t often see.
A change for 2020 is the inclusion of a swivel stand. That means the screen can be positioned to avoid sun glare or reflections. Around the back is a cable holder that can be attached to the main stand. It’s the only part of the design that feels flimsy, but once attached the cable clutter implementation works a treat cleaning up the area around the back of the OLED.
The remote is an old-fashioned chunky zapper that almost feels like you’re holding some sort of miniature cricket bat. It is responsive though, with buttons well laid out and quick access to Netflix and Freeview Play. The much-hyped button for Filmmaker Mode button at the top of the remote simply brings up a list of various picture modes (of which Filmmaker is one).
Features — Dolby Vision IQ and Intelligent Sensing are new for 2020
Connections tally at four HDMI (one side-facing, three downward-facing) with one eARC connection input (HDMI 2). The HZ1000 also has another HDMI 2.1 feature in Auto Low Latency Mode, which detects a game console and puts the TV into Game Mode.
Panasonic hasn’t tailored the HZ1000 for next-gen consoles as it does not factor in support for VRR or 4K/120Hz, though gaming performance is respectable at 21.7ms. Other connections include 3 x USB (including one USB 3.0 port), a Headphone/Sub out, Ethernet, Common Interface slot, satellite/aerial tuners, analogue video input and a digital optical output.
Related: What is HDMI 2.1?
Panasonic’s move to support Dolby Vision in 2019 meant it supported all the HDR variants (including HLG Photo). For 2020 Dolby Vision IQ has been added to the roster. IQ replaces the ‘normal’ Dolby Vision mode and uses the HZ1000’s light sensor to adjust the picture quality in accordance with a room’s ambient light levels.
In theory a TV with IQ should recover detail that would ordinarily be lost in a bright or darker room. Other HDR picture modes include HDR10, HDR10+ and broadcast HLG for services such as iPlayer and Sky Q. Differences between HDR10+ and Dolby Vision can be small, depending on how the content was mastered. On other occasions the difference can be significant if there’s a choice between watching a film in HDR10+ or Dolby Vision on the HZ1000.
HDR10+ DOLBY VISION IQ
Related: What is HDR?
Filmmaker Mode disables processing such as sharpness to better reflect the original creative intent of a film or TV show. With no content in Filmmaker Mode as yet, there’s no pressing need to activate it. In fact, watching Interstellar there’s not much difference between it and the Professional 1 picture setting the HZ1000 offers other than a slight increase in overall brightness. Interestingly, Filmmaker Mode with HD SDR content serves to give it more a filmic look, but watching Ex Machina on Blu-ray it serves to reduce the image’s overall brightness, so making for a darker looking picture.
Professional 1 Mode Filmmaker Mode
Cinema Mode Filmmaker Mode
Related: What is Filmmaker Mode?
Panasonic’s Intelligent Sensing performs a similar function to Dolby Vision IQ, adjusting the brightness of for bright and dark rooms. Working in tandem with Filmmaker Mode, to my eye there’s a very subtle change to brightness levels. Intelligent Sensing also works with content mastered in HDR10+, HDR10, HLG, and SDR.
Related: What is Netflix Calibrated Mode?
Other picture quality modes include Netflix Calibrated Mode, which is effectively Cinema mode for Netflix. The HZ1000 hits the benchmarks for being a Netflix Recommended TV by hitting various mandates such as quick access and frequent updates.
Standard Mode Netflix
Powering the image is Panasonic’s most powerful image chip in the HCX Pro Intelligent processor, which beams images to the Master HDR OLED screen (that’s also had input from leading Hollywood colourist Stefan Sonnenfeld). Panasonic says it’s improved its Black Frame Insertion (BFI) tech, which inserts a black frame in between each broadcast frame. It makes the image darker, but there’s no noticeable flicker, blurring or stutter.
The smart UI is simple and unflashy, ushering in version 5.0 of the My Home Screen interface. It is clear and easy to use, employing big colourful roundels to display apps. The landing area for My Home Screen can be customised to create shortcuts for the apps you use the most. My Home Screen 5.0 is still missing Apple TV or Disney+, so you’ll need a streaming stick for those apps.
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The Panasonic HZ1000’s general menu system feels functional, but again it’s clear and straightforward with more settings and customisations than you’ll know what to do with.
Freeview Play is included for access to UK catch-up apps in BBC iPlayer, All 4 and ITV Hub etc. There’s a sprinkle of Internet of Things (IoT) with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility through an external speaker. Bluetooth connectivity is 4.2.
Related: What is Freeview Play?
Panasonic HZ1000 picture quality — Bringing Hollywood to your home
As sure as the sun rises in the east and the sets in the west, you can rely on a Panasonic OLED to deliver impressive picture quality. The 65-inch model will suit those after a big canvas to watch their favourite films (in 4K HDR of course).
Where the 65-inch size doesn’t do the picture quality as many favours is the upscaling, at least for HD broadcast TV. It’s still a very good performance but it’s not the sharpest of images. Colours are expressly rendered and bold in their description, skin tones well-conveyed and there’s picture noise barely registers. Regardless of a bit of softness in some areas, it’s an excellent-looking HD image.
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A spin of Speed Racer on Blu-ray and the Panasonic rolls up its sleeves for a dazzling display of vibrant and expressive colours. The first race at Thunderhead is a dizzying showcase of colours, translating the clean Anime feel of the film with colours that leap off the screen. Another Blu-ray, this time Scott Pilgrim vs the World, and detail levels and clarity are so good you could almost mistake it for 4K. Almost.
Standard-definition obviously broadcasts fare less well with images fuzzier in terms of edge definition and not as sharp or as detailed. A play of Immortals on DVD and while detail and clarity are at a premium it’s watchable enough – especially when Dynamic mode is switched on with the pumped-up colours masking the lack of definition to a point.
Motion-handling is impressive with Panasonic’s Intelligent Frame Creation offering a range of options for customisation (Custom, Max, Mid, Min, Off). Even with IFC off it’s a very composed image, with only slight blurring and stutter affecting panning camera shots. I’d set IFC at Min for broadcast TV, which offers a stable performance without tipping it into the ‘soap opera’ effect, and I’d be inclined to keep it a Min for 4K if you’re someone who’s happy to keep motion on.
But it’s with 4K HDR content where this TV sings as the Panasonic HZ1000 produces a healthy-looking picture with impeccably deep black levels and excellent contrast that makes for a gorgeously saturated and terrifically detailed image.
While colours lack the outright brightness and punchiness of a QLED, they’re meticulously described and wholly convincing in their tonality. The HZ1000 offers sumptuous image after sumptuous image, selling Panasonic’s motto of “Bringing Hollywood to the Home” with some truly filmic images.
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Fine detail levels are exacting, clarity is excellent, and images look wonderfully naturalistic. Contrast is superb, producing a sense of depth that grabs your attention. Colour gradations are both subtle and rich, adding up to an arresting image.
Near dark details are captured in an almost effortless manner, revealing parts of the picture that other TVs would struggle to drum up. And it’s a TV that loves a close-up, the 65-inch frame giving a huge feel to the framing and compositions of a film such as Ang Lee’s Hulk.
Support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ makes the HZ1000 the TV for the home cinema completist, not just for 4K Blu-rays but for streaming services too. Viewing from wide angles is superb, and you’d have to approach the set from an acute angle and stick your nose to the screen to notice a drop off in intensity. While the inclusion of Dolby Vision IQ brings out perceptible detail; in a darker room I’d wager the Dark setting is brighter – but the difference is minimal.
Related: What is Dolby Vision IQ?
If there’s a blemish (or two) there are times where images can look slightly soft as noted earlier. Another is the Dolby Vision Bright setting, which sparks a few questions with regards to its accuracy. It seems so far off the IQ setting in terms of tone and colour accuracy that it leaves you wondering whether what you’re watching is the ‘filmmaker’s intent.
Panasonic HZ100 sound quality — Better than expected
The Panasonic HZ1000 supports Dolby Atmos but isn’t emulating true Atmos surround sound. Its purpose is to evince a better audio performance and that it does with good dynamics and a spacious, defined and detailed presentation.
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It’s a big-ish sound – not one that escapes the confines of the screen, though that’s not what this set appears to be going for. Audio pours off the screen at the viewer, with accurate placement of effects in the left and right channels creating a sense of space and little bit of depth too.
It’s capable of decent intensity – the lightning storm in War of the Worlds is given a bit of energy by the HZ1000’s 30W sound system – and bass is fine, but you’d want a soundbar or a surround system to complement the HZ1000.
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Should you buy the Panasonic TX-65Z1000?
If you want a big-screen telly, then Panasonic has made a highly compelling argument for the HZ1000. Picture quality with HD and 4K sources is nothing short of fabulous, it features multi-HDR support and the sound quality is better than expected. This TV is all about home cinema viewing, making few concessions for gamers. That said, there’s no Apple TV app or Disney+, denting the ‘Hollywood’ aspirations but all you need is a streaming stick to resolve that issue.
Other contenders appear in the Sony KD-65A8 OLED, which perhaps usurps the Panasonic with its motion skills, bests it for sound and delivers one of the more natural and refined pictures on the market. At the time of review it’s a couple of hundred pounds more expensive, and that may be what nudges the Panasonic slightly ahead.