First Look: Panasonic TX-65EZ952 UHD 4K OLED TV
Flagship performance without the flagship price
What is the Panasonic TX-65EZ952B?The Panasonic TX-65EZ952B is the latest Ultra HD 4K OLED TV from the Japanese manufacturer and offers a more cost-effective alternative to the semi-professional EZ1002. The EZ952 uses the same 65-inch OLED panel as the more expensive model and 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. The EZ952 will also be available in a 55-inch screen size – TX-55EZ952B – and please note that whilst in the UK the model number is EZ952, in Europe it's the EZ950.
Design & ConnectionsThe EZ952 uses a more traditional design than we have seen from Panasonic recently and we really like it. The ultra slim OLED panel has a tiny black bezel and a black finish at the rear. It uses a centrally mounted stand, that reduces the size of its footprint, making it easier to install on equipment racks. This stand uses two columns that attach to the VESA mounts at the rear and the EZ952 can also be wall mounted. There is a cover over the connections for tidier cable management and there are two rearwards facing and two sideways facing HDMI inputs. These are all HDMI 2.0b 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. The connections are on the left hand side as you face the screen, whilst on the right hand side there is a hardwired power cable.
The EZ952 comes with two remote controls, an elaborate silver controller and a stripped down version.
Features & SpecsThe EZ952 is the latest HDR-capable Ultra HD 4K consumer OLED TV from Panasonic and it can output 1,000nits on a 3% window and deliver almost 100% of DCI-P3. The EZ952 supports High Dynamic Range, specifically HDR 10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), but it does not support Dolby Vision. 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. The EZ952 also includes ISF calibration settings and compatibility with CalMAN calibration software, as well as THX and Ultra HD Premium certification. However, it does not include support for 3D.
The EZ952 features a newly developed My Home Screen 2.0 smart TV system and although Firefox has stopped development, since it is an open source operating system, Panasonic will continue to support their own smart platform. The newly developed OS 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
PictureSo far we have only had a chance to see the EZ952 at the Panasonic European Convention and obviously a show floor is hardly the ideal conditions for evaluating picture performance. In addition the TVs are showing content specially created by Panasonic to demonstrate their latest TVs. However the EZ952 certainly looked good at the show and it was next to an EZ1002 and there were no obvious differences in 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 EZ952 is sure to be popular with TV enthusiasts, offering all the benefits of an OLED TV with Panasonic processing but at lower price point and with the option of a smaller 55-inch screen size. Panasonic might use a third party panel but the addition of their expertise in colour accuracy and image processing is bound to add benefits. The TX-65EZ952 will make for an interesting alternative to the more expensive TX-65EZ1002 but obviously we won't know how good it actually is until we review it. However our initial impressions were certainly positive and whilst some people may be disappointed by the lack of 3D or Dolby Vision, the EZ952 does support High Dynamic Range in the form of HDR 10 and HLG. In addition the design is attractive and uses a traditional stand, whilst the smart TV platform is simple but effective and has had some nice upgrades. We have no definite indication on pricing yet but the Panasonic EZ952 will be in stores from June.
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