The HZ2000 is the ultimate home cinema TV. Its Pro Edition OLED panel delivers fabulously filmic images, while its Dolby Atmos, Technics-tuned, sound system is class leading. We love it dearly, even if it doesn’t quite tick every box...
- Universal HDR support with Dolby Vision IQ
- Filmmaker Mode with Intelligent Sensing
- Effective Dolby Atmos sound system
- Freeview Play
- No HDMI support for 4K/120fps
- No Disney+ app
- Over specified for AV enthusiasts?
- Review Price: £3299
- Dolby Vision IQ HDR and HDR10+
- FilmMaker Mode with Intelligent Sensing
- Dolby Atmos sound system
- Dimensions: 1225 x 761 x 78mm (whd)
The Panasonic HZ2000 is the Japanese manufacturer’s flagship 55-inch OLED for 2020.
The HZ2000 tops Panasonic’s 2020 OLED TV line-up. It’s a flagship screen that makes few concessions. Its OLED panel has been pimped for optimum performance, using technologies too expensive to implement down the range. Even the onboard sound system, often a second thought in the world of TVs, is a premium Dolby Atmos implementation.
But all this comes with a heavy price premium. The TX-55HZ2000 reviewed here sells for £3,299. It’s also available in 65-inch guise (TX-65HZ2000), yours for a trifling £4,299.
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Panasonic HZ2000 design — Squint and you’ll spot all the speakers
There’s nothing half-baked about the build quality of the HZ2000. Panasonic has favoured function over form and the result is a kind of utilitarian beauty. The panel is framed by a micro-bezel, underscored with an integrated forward-facing speaker array.
Around the back are four HDMI inputs, one with eARC support. These HDMIs peak at 4K/60fps; there’s no 120fps compatibility. Indeed, there are scant gaming niceties beyond ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) for gaming.
This will almost certainly be an issue for next gen console gamers – but maybe that’s not the audience Panasonic is shooting for here?
Other connections include an analogue component AV input, optical digital audio output, Ethernet to support onboard Wi-Fi, and trio of USBs.
Oh, there’s also a Dolby-enabled height speaker, used to project the height component in Dolby Atmos sound mixes upward. This understandably makes the set a little deeper than some OLED rivals.
Panasonic HZ2000 Features — Own-brand smart platform continues to keep Android at bay
True to form, the connected platform in play here is Panasonic’s My Home Screen, now up to its fifth iteration. It continues to enjoy only mild revisions. Well if it ain’t broke…
Rather than do the obvious and over-engineer the launch bar, Panasonic has simply downsized its shortcut buttons, and shifted them from centre to screen left.
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Said buttons can be customised to reflect how you use the TV. The default selection offers app and device icons but you can add your own preferred streaming service, or a connected device.
A Freeview Play terrestrial tuner means you get a full complement of mainstream catch-up TV services, alongside Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Rakuten.tv, Britbox and Chili. Sadly, there’s still no support for Disney+. You’ll have to look elsewhere (or get a compatible streaming stick) for Baby Yoda.
On the plus side, the set works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Panasonic HZ2000 Performance — Behold perfectly tuned sound and vision
When it comes to images, the HZ2000 paints like a master. There are several reasons for this.
Deserving much of the credit is Panasonic’s HCX Pro Intelligent image processor, which is a perfect match for that Professional Edition Master OLED panel.
The latter’s nomenclature refers to custom hardware improvements that utilise heat management techniques developed originally for plasma TVs. By managing heat, Panasonic’s engineers have been able to drive the average picture level higher. They say by as much as 30 per cent.
The HCX’s upscaling is so artful many will struggle to tell HD sources apart from native 4K. You’ll be wanting to revisit your Blu-ray collection post haste. The starship interiors in Interstellar (Blu-ray) exhibit almost three dimensional depth.
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UHD content has even more bite. The 4K presentation of Matchroom Boxing courtesy of Sky Sports, is blisteringly sharp and detailed. It’s probably better than sitting ringside.
The set transpires to be a good choice for sports. IFC (Intelligent Frame Creation) does a fine job of maintaining clarity during fast paced action, and is an easy recommendation for footie.
That on-board Dolby Atmos sound system is also a star when it comes to Atmos encoded sports from the likes of Sky and BT. While we didn’t experience a sense of surround, the width and height of the front soundstage is genuinely immersive. Stadium crowd ambiance (be it real or fake) gets thrown convincingly overhead.
Similarly, with movies the sound engulfs. Dialogue is locked centre screen, action pans left and right, directional effects bounce high.
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This Panasonic boasts universal HDR support, which means it’s compatible with Dolby Vision and HDR10+ (favoured by Amazon), HLG and standard HDR10.
Overall HDR performance should be considered superb. We measured peak brightness at more than 900 nits (cd/m2), which puts it amongst class leaders. There’s excellent near black detail, with smooth gradations that add depth and believability to scenes. That peak brightness means it can also ping out specular highlights without compromising the rest of the image.
The set’s colour handling is accomplished too, always well balanced and authentic with Cinema presets, and more pleasingly vibrant in the Normal setting. We even liked the set’s performance in Dynamic mode (animation looks spectacular).
New this year is Filmmaker Mode, here with Intelligent Sensing, an original take on the studio-approved cinema setting.
Filmmaker Mode disables interpolation, image sharpening and other processing niceties, supposedly to better reflect the director’s intent. Panasonic’s Intelligent Sensing upgrade allows the set to perform better in high ambient light. Moderating the image via the set’s inbuilt sensor prevents pictures looking too dark when watched in the afternoon.
With HD SDR content, Filmmaker Mode frankly looks rather dull. It’s more acceptable with 4K HDR.
Dolby Vision IQ adopts the same philosophy, and it’s particularly effective with DV content on Netflix. Dolby Vision IQ replaces Dolby Bright in the preset menu. Alternatively, you can opt for Netflix Calibrated mode, which is a Cinema default by any other name.
When it comes to gaming, the set is a middle-ranker. We measured input lag at 21.8ms (1080/60) in Game mode. Fine, but not prize winning.
Should you buy the Panasonic TX-55HZ2000?
If you want a 4K telly that is gloriously nuanced and cinema, with an on-board sound system that’s several notches above ordinary, then yes, it’s a stunning TV.
But for some buyers the HZ2000 will fall between stools. Home theatre enthusiasts prepared to pay for the panel finesse on offer here will most likely already have a full-blown home cinema sound system, so those extra drivers will be surplus to requirements.
The lack of 4K/120fps HDMI support also gives pause for thought, especially if you’re planning to add the PlayStation 5 and/or Xbox Series X to your gear stack.
But if you simply want the most beguiling, cinematic OLED screen in the world, this is it. This is Hollywood as it’s meant to be seen at home. It’s only money after all…
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