First Look: Panasonic TX-55EZ952 UHD 4K OLED TV
High-end OLED performance on a smaller screen size
What is the TX-55EZ952B?The EZ952 is the latest Ultra HD 4K TV from Panasonic and comes in two screen sizes, the 55-inch TX-55EZ952B and the 65-inch TX-65EZ952B. Although this model is called the EZ952 in the UK, it is also called the EZ950 in Europe. The EZ952 includes support for High Dynamic Range (HDR 10) and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG). It also includes a more traditional stand, twin satellite and Freeview tuners and the latest version of My Home Screen 2.0.
Design & ConnectionsThe EZ952 uses an ultra thin panel, as you'd expect for an OLED TV, but it also has a more familiar design with a tiny black bezel and a black finish at the rear. It uses a more traditional stand, making the EZ952 look more like Panasonic's plasma TVs, and this stand is centrally mounted thus reducing its footprint and making it easier to install on equipment racks. The stand uses two columns that attach to the VESA mounts at the rear but the EZ952 can also be wall mounted using standard VESA brackets. The connections are at the rear left, as you face the screen, behind a removable cover for tidier cable management. There are two rearwards facing and two sideways facing HDMI 2.0a inputs and Panasonic said that they should be able to upgrade them to HDMI 2.1 via a firmware update. There are also three USB ports (two rearwards and one sideways), twin satellite and Freeview HD tuners, an SD card slot and a Common Interface (CI) slot, all of which face sideways. There's a sideways facing headphone jack and also facing rearwards there's an optical digital output and an Ethernet port, along with built-in WiFi. There is a hardwired power cable and the EZ952 comes with two remote controls, an elaborate silver controller and a stripped down version.
Features & SpecsThe EZ952 is designed to be a more affordable Ultra HD 4K OLED TV, with a choice of screen sizes including a smaller 55-inch model. Panasonic claim the EZ952 can output 1,000nits on a 3% window and deliver almost 100% of DCI-P3, it also supports High Dynamic Range, specifically HDR 10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG). The EX952 does not support Dolby Vision, nor does it support 3D. It does however include ISF calibration settings and compatibility with CalMAN calibration software, as well as THX and Ultra HD Premium certification. The EZ952 includes Panasonic's Studio Colour HCX2 processor that includes 3D look-up tables (LUTs) similar to those used by Panasonic’s professional filmmaking and broadcast monitor division for greater colour accuracy. The HCX2 processor is also designed to improve the near-black performance, providing improved amounts of detail in even the darkest scenes.
Although Firefox have stopped development of the operating system that Panasonic are using in their smart TVs, it is open source so the manufacturer plans to just develop it themselves. The EZ952 features the latest version of My Home Screen 2.0 smart TV system, which introduces such features such as favourites folders for multiple users, a My App button on the remote that can be customised for faster access to your own favourite content, and a revamped Media Player app that supports 4K HDR10 and Hybrid Log Gamma content. For UK users there is a new version of Freeview Play, which introduces new search/recommendation tools and a Quick Look Guide that shows past, live and future TV programs for the current channel. Also included are live thumbnails of what’s showing on other channels. The EZ952 will also support 4K HDR streaming from Netflix, Amazon and YouTube..
Panasonic OLED Interview
PictureThe EZ952 was launched at the Panasonic European Convention and although we had a chance to see it in action, the conditions were far from ideal for controlled testing and an objective review. The new models were also showing content specially created by Panasonic to demonstrate their TVs, although there was some film content shown at other parts of the show floor. Based on our limited time with the EZ952, it certainly looked impressive and we did see it next to an EZ1002, which appeared to deliver a similar picture performance. According to Panasonic the two models are essentially the same, the only differences being that the EZ952 does include the black filter, the custom 3D LUTs and it hasn't been tuned by a Hollywood colourist. Panasonic claim that the EZ952 can deliver 1000 nits on a 3% window and we will test the peak brightness performance when we review it, as well as the percentage of DCI-P3 and Rec.2020 that the TV can reach. When we actually review the EZ952 we will also measure the greyscale and colour accuracy with both standard and high dynamic range content, as well as the black levels, peak brightness, contrast ratios, motion handling and video processing.
ConclusionThe Panasonic TX-55EZ952 will undoubtedly be popular among consumers who have long wanted a 55-inch Ultra HD 4K OLED TV from someone other than LG. The idea of an OLED TV that uses Panasonic's processing is sure to be a big selling point and the inclusion of both HDR 10 and HLG will be popular. The lack of 3D is no surprise but the fact the EZ952 doesn't support Dolby Vision might work against it with consumers who are just ticking boxes. However that feature aside, the EZ952 has everything you could want from a modern TV with an attractive design, a more traditional stand and an updated smart TV platform that is simple but effective. We have no definite indication on pricing yet but the Panasonic EZ952 will be in stores from June.
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