Panasonic DX750 (TX-50DX750B) Ultra HD 4K TV Review
Why bother with one stand when you can have four instead!
What is the Panasonic DX750?The Panasonic DX750 is a mid range TV from the Japanese manufacturer, that sits above their entry-level HDR model the DX700 and under the THX-certified DX802. The DX750 incorporates many of the features found on the more expensive DX802 but also adds a few touches of its own. If you're one of those people who has struggled with the recent trend of putting the feet at either end of the panel, then Panasonic might have the solution for you. The 50- and 58-inch versions include the unique 'Art of Interior' switch design stand, with chrome feet that can be configured in four different positions to suit your environment.
Aside from the new stand the flat screen DX750B also incorporates plenty of cutting-edge technology such as Ultra HD 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR). It utilises Studio Master HCX (Hollywood Cinema Experience) processing and Cinema Display technology, designed to deliver more accurate colours, increased brightness, better blacks and subtler gradations. The DX750 also includes edge LED backlighting, local dimming and even 3D support which is something of a rarity these days. There's also the Firefox smart TV platform which includes Freeview Play, along with support for all the main streaming and catch-up services.
The TX-50DX750B is the 50-inch model and retails for around £1,299, as at the time of writing (April 2016), which is a great price when you consider all the included features. So is the 50DX750 the bargain it appears or is there a catch? Let's find out.
DesignThe DX750 is an attractive looking TV and the entire 50-inch flat screen is surrounded by a silver bezel that has a chamfered design and a brushed metal finish. Panasonic call this the 'Art of Interior' which, dodgy English aside, relates to the fact that they worked with a European interior design company when developing this year's line-up. The bezel is 0.5cm wide at the top and sides and 1cm wide along the bottom. The chassis itself is 2cm deep at the top and 4cm deep further down. The rear of the TV is black plastic and whilst the build quality is reasonable, it does reflect Panasonic's efforts to hit a specific price point. The TV itself measures 1115 x 707 x 316mm (WxHxD) and weighs in at 17.5kg, with both those specifications including the stand.
The unique 'switch design' stand offers the owner a choice of four different configurations which should hopefully eliminate the problem of positioning the TV in their home. The recent trend for TVs having feet at either end of the chassis has left many consumers with the problem of not actually being able to place many new TVs on their equipment stands. Panasonic have addressed this problem with their 'switch design' and now users should be able to fit the DX750 into any environment.
The idea is simple but effective, you have the choice of four different configurations. You can attach the feet in the centre using two central holes for the brackets or you can attach them at the ends where there are another two holes. Depending on which way around you attach the feet you have a choice of a curved central section, straight feet in the centre, curved outer feet or straight outer feet. As we went through all the different combinations it did remind us of building a Meccano set but it was nice to have the alternatives and ultimately we preferred the curved central option.
The DX750 is an attractive TV with a unique 'switch design' stand that offers a choice of four positions.
Whichever option you do decide to choose, the DX750 sits quite low to the ground, giving you only 8cm of clearance beneath the screen itself - so bear that in mind if you plan on using a soundbar. Although at least the different stand positions gives you options, such as putting the feet at the ends and placing a soundbar between them or putting the feet in the centre and placing the DX750 on top of a soundbase.Of course if you don't want to use the stand at all then you also have the option to wall mount and around the back you'll find standard 400 x 400 VESA mounts. Also at the rear and to the right hand side as you face the screen, you'll find some basic controls for on/off, volume up/down, channel up/down and input/OK. The latter button also doubles for bringing up the menu and the channel and volume buttons can be used to navigate the menu system. Underneath these controls you'll find the hardwired power cable.
Connections & ControlAll the connections are also at the rear and to the left hand side as you face the screen. There is a large cover that you can use to tidy up the rear of the TV, although how effective it is will depend on how many cables you use and how flexible they are. There is a second smaller cover that hides the legacy connections and recognises the fact that in this digital age the older analogue connections don't get used as often.
In terms of rearwards-facing legacy connections there's component and composite video inputs, along with analogue stereo and optical digital inputs. There's also an Ethernet port for anyone wanting to use a wired internet connection but naturally the DX750 also has a built-in wireless capability.
All the other connections take the form of a combination of rearwards- and sideways-facing inputs. Whilst the DX750 has a reasonable selection of connections, we did find the positioning of the them slightly annoying. The rearwards facing inputs could all be difficult to get to, depending on how your TV is positioned, but especially if it's wall mounted. That would mean you're more likely to use the sideways-facing inputs but these are only 13cm from the edge of the screen. So if you have decent quality cables, there is a danger that you'll see them poking out of the sides.
In terms of these inputs there are three HDMI inputs facing sideways, along with a USB port. There are also two more USB ports facing rearwards, as well as a fourth HDMI input. The first two sideways-facing HDMI inputs are HDMI 2.0a with support for HDCP 2.2 and HDR. The other two HDMI inputs are just regular HDMI 1.4 inputs, which we checked using our Murideo Fresco Six-G test generator. The second HDMI 2.0a input also supports ARC (Audio Return Channel).The DX750 comes with Panasonic's standard remote control, which is fairly large and made of plastic. It has a two-tone finish, with a silver front and a black back. It's well balanced and comfortable to hold, making it easy to use with one hand. All the buttons that you would need to control the TV are included and they are laid out in an intuitive manner, making the controller highly effective. In an age when other manufacturers are constantly changing their remotes, we find the familiarity of Panasonic's design comforting. Besides, if it ain't broke...
Of course if you'd rather control your new TV in a slightly more modern manner, you also have the choice of Panasonic's excellent remote app (Panasonic TV Remote 2), which is freely available for both iOS and Android. The app allows you to use your smartphone or tablet as a controller and it is well laid out and easy to operate, with some handy features and all the controls found on the provided remote.
The DX750 includes plenty of features, including 3D support and the excellent Firefox smart platform.
Features & SpecsThe DX750 reflects its mid-range status with a decent set of features that includes the 4K Pro Studio Master UHD and Studio Master HCX processing found in Panasonic's higher-end models. So the DX750 combines a native Ultra HD 4K VA 8-bit panel with professional grade colour management features and video processing developed by Panasonic Hollywood Labs. There is also a brighter edge LED backlight, which can deliver over 500nits of peak brightness, and support for High Dynamic Range (HDR). The TV also incorporates a wider colour gamut and a local dimming system. As mentioned earlier there are two HDMI 2.0a inputs which means the DX750 can accept an Ultra HD Rec.2020 HDR source and there's even support for active shutter 3D, which is something of a rarity these days. You will have to buy the glasses separately but at least you have a choice. The DX750 uses Quad-Core Pro processing and includes the Firefox Smart TV platform, which is identical to the one launched by Panasonic last year.
That's not a bad thing because we really like Firefox, it's well designed, open-sourced and easy to use. The home screen is nice and simple with three default decks – Live TV, Apps and Devices - but you can personalise it by pinning your regularly used devices and apps to it. You can also easily unpin them should you change your mind later. The platform also includes a search tool, allowing you to easily locate content from a variety of video services, websites and any external devices you may have connected. There's all the main video streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube, which will provide you with additional sources of Ultra HD 4K content. There's also Freeview Play, along with all the major UK catch-up TV players such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 and Demand 5. In addition you can stream content from other devices or your home network and the DX750 supports AVI, HEVC, MKV, WMV, MP4, M4v, FLV, 3GPP, VRO, VOB, TS, PS, MP3, AAC, WMA Pro, FLAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, JPEG and MPO file types. You can read a more detailed review of the Firefox Smart TV platform here.
Panasonic TX-50DX750B Recommended Picture Settings
Picture Settings - Out-of-the-BoxAs with all Panasonic TVs, the DX750 ships in its Normal viewing mode but you'll need to change that straight away unless you want your whites to look blue and your colours to be over-saturated. You certainly shouldn't listen to suggestions to set your TV as if all content were Ultra HD or HDR. Advice like that shows a basic misunderstanding of how TV standards work and how video is actually delivered to your display. Whilst it is true that the standards are changing, the majority of your viewing content will continue to use the Rec.709 colour gamut and Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) for many years to come.
So you should have at least one setting that accurately reproduces these standards, although depending on your viewing environment, you could have two - one for daytime viewing and one for night time viewing. The daytime setting would obviously be brighter to offset any ambient light but don't set your TV too bright in the evening or it can be fatiguing and even uncomfortable to watch. This is especially true now that modern TVs are capable of delivering greater inherent brightness because brighter doesn't necessarily mean better. You can find our recommended settings for Day, Night and HDR in the video above.
As always we setup the DX750 in its best out-of-the-box settings, using our night time target of 120nits for the overall brightness of the TV and selecting the options that are closest to the industry standards of D65 and Rec.709. As you can see in the graph above the DX750 actually delivered a fairly accurate picture out-of-the-box, although there was a deficit of red and a slight excess of green and blue. This gave whites a slight cyan push and resulted in some just noticeable errors in the brighter part of the image, although it was minor. There was also a slight excess of blue at 10IRE, which gave shadow details just above black a blue tinge. The gamma curve was tracking around our target of 2.4, with a slight bump at 10IRE and a slight dip at 90IRE but overall the DX750 delivered a decent out-of-the-box performance for its price point.The colour performance of the DX750 was also very good and in fact any errors were directly related to the cyan push, rather than inherent issues with the Rec.709 colour gamut. If you look at the graph above, you can see that white is skewed toward cyan and that in turn is dragging all the other colours in that direction as well. Once we calibrate the greyscale, those errors will largely disappear. What is good to see is that the luminance is accurate and the tracking at 25, 50 and 75% saturation points is also very good. Overall this is a decent out-of-the-box performance and with the available calibration controls it should be easy to get a reference performance in terms of greyscale and colour gamut.
The DX750 was capable of delivering an accurate image, even before calibration.
Picture Settings - CalibratedThe DX750 includes an extensive and highly effective set of calibration controls that include a two- and a ten-point white balance control for adjusting the greyscale, a parametric control for fine-tuning the gamma and a Colour Management System (CMS) for correcting any issues with the colour gamut. We measured the DX750 using the Klein K-10A colour meter, the Murideo Fresco Six-G pattern generator and CalMAN 5 calibration software.We initially used the two-point white balance control to bring up red, which immediately resulted in a near perfect greyscale performance. We then used the ten-point to fine tune the greyscale to a reference performance with all three primary colours tracking in line with each other and the errors now all below one. The gamma was also tracking better and we could have fine tuned it further using the parametric control.After calibrating the greyscale using the white balance control, the colour temperature for white was now measuring at its target of D65. As result the cyan push was gone and all the colours were measuring more accurately than before. It was then just a simple task to fine tune them so that the luminance, saturation and hue were all hitting their targets at 100% saturation and the tracking at lower points was also very impressive. Aside from a slight under-saturation of red at 50 and 75% this is reference colour performance for SDR content using the Rec.709 colour gamut.
Picture Settings - High Dynamic RangeAs we mentioned earlier, the standards are changing and these days all the attention is on Ultra HD 4K and HDR. The new higher resolution formats are using a higher video bit-depth, a wider colour gamut based on Rec.2020 and higher dynamic range with content currently mastered at 1,000nits. To reflect these changes we are now measuring the out-of-the-box performance of brands against these new standards, to see what kind of performance an owner can expect from their new TV.The DX750 actually performed very well in terms of its greyscale performance and tracking against the PQ EOTF. The greyscale is tracking accurately across the entire range and the DX750's EOTF is tracking the PQ target very precisely as well. The actual luminance begins to roll of at around 60IRE but using test patterns we could see that the Panasonic was mapping content mastered at 10,000nits to the panels 500nits capability without clipping, which is good.Although the DX750 does have a wider colour gamut it is only 86% of DCI-P3 which is less than other TVs we have tested but probably representative of the price point. In terms of Rec.2020 coverage that equates to 66% but within that limited native colour gamut the various colours actually track quite well against their saturation targets. We measured the peak brightness at 529nits on a 10% window and although that did rob the specular highlights of some of their impact, overall we found the DX750 to be a very capable performer when it came to HDR.
The DX750 might only have a peak brightness of 500nits but it was surprisingly accurate with HDR.
Black Levels and Contrast Ratios
First things first, the DX750's VA panel delivered a great black level measurement of only 0.029cd/m2, which is impressive for an LCD TV. If you turn on the Adaptive Backlight Control (local dimming), the black level immediately drops to 0.001cd/m2 but for reasons we'll discuss later we didn't always use it. The Panasonic also easily hit our standard dynamic range target for night time viewing of 120cd/m2, which means an on/off ratio of 4,138:1. It also delivered an ANSI contrast ratio of 3,795:1, which is excellent for an LCD TV and means that you can get a great contrast performance without resorting to the local dimming.
The DX750 is a relatively thin TV that uses edge LED backlighting and Panasonic have done a good job of ensuring the backlight is suitably uniform. There was a little bit of dirty screen effect and occasional bright edges but overall with normal viewing material the backlight performance was very good. At night in a dark room you could see some backlight issues but those were rare and easily mitigated with some bias lighting. There were more instances of brighter edges with HDR content and black bars on letterboxed films but since the DX750 only has a peak brightness of 500nits, it isn't as apparent as on brighter TVs like the Samsung KS9000.
Local Dimming and Viewing Angles
The Adaptive Backlight Control (local dimming) on the DX750 was a little disappointing, especially compared to the sophisticated system employed by Samsung, and even in the low mode we saw artefacts that were quite obvious at times. Although it was less an issue of haloing and more of a problem of the entire image obviously dimming in certain scenes. However since the native blacks and backlight uniformity are good, if you sit central to the screen there is very little difference with the local dimming on or off and at least when it's off you avoid any issues. In terms of the viewing angles the DX750 is obviously restricted due to its use of a VA panel but the viewing angles are certainly better than we experienced on Samsung's KS9000 or even Panasonic's own DX902. The DX750 has a filter over the screen that we assume is designed to reduce reflections but it also became slightly visible when there were bright images on screen such as with 3D or HDR content. It was only apparent when sat quite close, probably too close to the screen, but once noticed it could be distracting.
The motion handling on the DX750 was actually very good for an LCD TV and we were getting around 350 lines of motion resolution on our benchmark test. Obviously using the Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) feature can improve this to the full 1080 using the Min setting but that immediately makes film look more like video. However there's certainly no reason not to experiment with IFC when watching sports and the Custom setting allows users to adjust the Blur Reduction and Film Smooth controls to suit their own preferences. There's also the Clear Motion feature which uses black frame intention to deliver improved motion handling but the image will be darker and some people are likely to experience flicker.
Standard and High Definition
The DX750 delivered a very good performance when it came to standard definition content, deinterlacing and upscaling shows such as Gotham and Agents of Shield very effectively. The images were free of unwanted artefacts and the natural colours and accurate greyscale helped to produce images that were very watchable on the 50-inch screen. It was during an episode of Agents of Shield that the limitations of the local dimming became apparent but we found that even with it off the picture was still very good, even at night. Things were even better once we moved on to high definition content with the BBC nature documentary Life in the Air looking stunning and the Netflix series Better Call Saul looking equally as impressive. When it came to Blu-rays the results were just as impressive, the DX750 handled 24p content without any issues and new releases such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens looked suitably film-like.
We haven't had much of a chance to test 3D this year, with most manufacturers reducing the number of supporting models and some dropping it entirely. Thankfully the DX750 supports the format and although it doesn't come with any glasses and Panasonic didn't send any with the sample, we had a pair on hand for testing. Which was just as well as the DX750 delivered a great performance when it came to 3D, producing bright and natural looking 3D images that were mainly free from crosstalk. The format might be losing popularity but if you're still a fan, you'll be happy with the DX750's capabilities in this area and new titles like The Martian and Inside Out looked great.
High Dynamic Range
Overall the DX750 delivered a very watchable experience in HDR and we certainly felt that the images retained better detail, colours appeared more saturated and the highlights popped with greater impact. There certainly appeared to be no adverse affects from the use of an 8-bit panel and watching Ultra HD Blu-rays on both the Samsung UBD-K8500 and Panasonic DMP-UB900 was certainly enjoyable. Ultra HD Blu-rays such as Chappie and Kingsman: The Secret Service looked wonderful, whilst The Amazing Spider-man 2 showed the format's true potential. If we had any criticism its that a screen size of 50-inches is about the lower limit in terms of gaining the benefit of any increase in resolution and a peak brightness of 500nits doesn't have quite the impact of TV's that can deliver the full 1,000nits. However when you consider the price point, the DX750 certainly makes a great gateway into the new and exciting world of HDR.
Panasonic TX-50DX750B Video Review
Sound QualityThe DX750 delivered a reasonably good audio performance, within the limitations of its slim design and physical dimensions. The smaller screen size did limit the amount of stereo separation that the TV could create but given that it is only 4cm deep at the bottom, Panasonic were still able to include some rather effective speakers. The DX750 delivered a decent front soundstage that should be capable of handling the average-sized living room. The 20W of amplification allowed the TV to go quite loud before the sound became brittle and the audio performance was clear and detailed for the most part. The built-in amplification and speakers won't replace a decent soundbar in terms of audio fidelity, and there was precious little bass, but the DX750 was more than capable of handling day-to-day viewing and we certainly didn't feel the Panasonic struggled when it came to watching Masterchef.
The DX750 is a solid all-round performer, with a good picture, decent sound and plenty of features.
Input Lag & Energy ConsumptionWe initially measured the input lag using our Leo Bodnar tester in the calibrated True Cinema mode and the result was 115ms. However as soon as we turned on the Game Mode setting, that lag dropped to a more respectable 44ms. Whilst that number could certainly be better, we've measured TVs this year with lag in the low twenties, that's still not bad and should satisfy all but the most demanding gamer.
The energy consumption was also quite efficient, on a 50% raster the DX750 measured 71W in its default Normal viewing mode and a mere 61W in our calibrated True Cinema viewing mode. The level of consumption obviously increased when watching HDR content but even then the Panasonic was only measuring 126W, making it a good choice for the environmentally conscious TV enthusiast.
How future-proof is this TV?
4K Ultra HD Resolution HDR Support Colour Space (percentage of Rec.2020 - 100% best) 66% 10-bit Panel HDMI 2.0a Inputs HDCP 2.2 Support HEVC Decoding 4K Streaming Services Smart TV Platform Picture Accuracy Out-of-the-Box (score out of 10) 8 What do these mean?
- Excellent black levels
- Impressive video processing
- Accurate greyscale & colour gamut
- Decent HDR performance
- All the video streaming services you'll need
- Attractive design and ingenious stand
- Narrow viewing angles
- Can suffer from bright edges
- Mediocre local dimming
- Limited HDR capabilities
- Anti-reflection filter distracting
Panasonic DX750 (TX-50DX750B) Ultra HD 4K TV Review
Should I buy one?
The Panasonic TX-50DX750B is a solid all-round TV and, depending on your budget, you should definitely consider buying one. The DX750 has been designed to deliver a certain level of performance at a very specific price point and in that respect it performs well. The design is attractive and whilst the build quality could be better, the multiple stand configuration is ingenious. There are plenty of connections, including two HDMI 2.0a inputs, and our only complaint is that the side-facing inputs are too close to the edge. The 50DX750 is easy to setup and intuitive to use with extensive calibration controls. There's Panasonic's usual effective remote control, the option of a remote app and the excellent Firefox smart TV platform. The DX750B has plenty of features including all the main video streaming and TV catch-up services, as well good file support and even 3D.
The DX750 has a 44ms input lag and excellent energy efficiency, whilst the sound quality is surprisingly good when you consider the inherent limitations. The flat VA panel delivered excellent black levels for an LCD TV and overall the backlight uniformity was reasonably good. The viewing angles could be wider and there were instances of bright edges and haloing, especially when watching HDR content but this could be mitigated by using the local dimming. Unfortunately the local dimming wasn't always that effective, so we often found ourselves turning it off. The greyscale and colour accuracy were very good, both out-of-the-box and after calibration, whilst the video processing and motion handling were also impressive. The 50DX750B delivered a great picture in 2D with very natural images, whilst the performance in 3D was equally as impressive and suitably free of crosstalk.
Despite only using an 8-bit panel and being restricted to a peak brightness of just over 500nits, the DX750 still managed to deliver a great HDR performance that was surprisingly accurate. In fact the Panasonic TX-50DX750B often surprised, with a very solid performance that delivered an enjoyable viewing experience, earning itself a Recommend award in the process.
What are my alternatives?
There are a number of options at this price point but the obvious alternatives are the Samsung UE49KS7500 and the Sony KD-55XD8505. The Samsung UE49KS7000 is the closest in terms of price but is one inch smaller in terms of screen size and doesn't include 3D. However the Samsung does include a flat VA panel, an extensive set of features, device detection, a universal remote and HDR support with a 10-bit panel, wider colour gamut and 1,000nits of peak brightness. The Sony KD-55XD8505 is a bit more expensive but does use a 55-inch screen size, which helps justify the higher price tag. The Sony also doesn't support 3D but it does use a flat VA panel, support HDR and include the Android TV platform. Whilst either TV would be a good alternative, if you're looking for a good-value, nicely specified and well performing TV, the Panasonic DX750 is worth your consideration.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £1,299.00
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
3D Picture Quality9
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box8
Picture Quality Calibrated10
Ease Of Use9
Value for Money8
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