What is the Panasonic HX800?
The Panasonic TX-58HX800B is an ultra-thin edge-lit VA panel LED LCD TV with the company’s HCX processor that features Hollywood tuned picture quality and HDR Bright Panel Plus technology.
It features all major HDR format playback including HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) static metadata, as well as HDR10+ and Dolby Vision dynamic metadata systems. There is no Filmmaker Mode with the intelligent sensor or Dolby Vision IQ as these are reserved for the OLED line-up. There is support for Dolby Atmos audio decoding and the sound system consists of two 10W stereo speakers.
There is no HDMI 2.1 support via the three HDMI inputs, but there is ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) available for gaming and a measured input lag of 15ms, which makes the HX800 a possible choice as a gaming TV.
The HX800 is a direct replacement for last year’s GX800 and is available in 40-, 50-, 58- and 65-inch screen sizes and it is the 58-inch we are reviewing here which is priced at £899.99.
When it comes to edge-lit technology we get an ultra-slim panel for an LCD TV, which can help with the design of the set. There are however some drawbacks using this technique, with HDR images becoming a possible issue with clouding and uniformity issues. So, with its claims of Hollywood picture tuning, can the HX800 offer cinema-quality images from an LCD? Let’s find out.
Design, Connections and Control
With the use of edge lighting on the Panasonic HX800, the panel and design can be incredibly thin when compared to normal LED LCD TVs. The design follows that of recent OLED TVs with a top panel that is very thin, which then widens slightly from halfway down, housing speakers, electronics and connections. While the HX800 is not as thin as an OLED panel, it is noticeably thinner than many competing LCDs.
The glass screen meets the bezel-edge with a slight recess to the edge which adds a nice design touch. The screen is incredibly reflective and this will impact on your placement of the TV within your room, as opposite a window will cause issues, as it is almost mirror-like in its finish.
The stand design consists of two metal feet that are screwed into the bottom of the set and a flat brushed metal effect panel is laid over these to the front. There are some cable management routes to the rear of the feet and overall the build quality is decent enough for the price point.
The connections are on the right side of the rear panel looking from the rear and are sideways and rearwards facing. Sideways, we have a common interface slot, headphone/subwoofer jack, two HDMI slots with ARC on HDMI2, along with a USB and Ethernet port. The rearwards facing connections are a second USB port, third HDMI slot and digital optical output, component/composite video inputs and one set of stereo audio RCA inputs.
The screen is incredibly reflective and this will impact on your placement of the TV
None of the three HDMI inputs are HDMI 2.1 and there are no HDMI 2.1 features available apart from ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode).
The supplied remote is the now familiar black plastic Panasonic model which is intuitive to use with nice large keys and well defined direct access buttons for main features. It sits neatly in the hand and fits with the price point of the HX800.
Out of the Box
As we do with all review TVs we measured the best out of the box image presets to find those that get close to the industry standards for TV and film production and mastering. The idea is that at least one picture preset should be able to get close to these standards so you can view content as it was intended to be seen.
On the Panasonic TX-58HX800B, there are no ISF, THX or Filmmaker Modes so the best option to use is True Cinema. We use Calman colour calibration software, a Murideo Seven Generator and Klein K-10A meter for measurement and calibration.
As you can see the tracking of the greyscale is good with red energy dropping by a maximum of 5% at the brightest part of the track. Blue and green are high by around 2% of where they should be for a perfect greyscale result. However, gamma is tracking reasonably well with slight darkening at 10 & 20% stimulus caused by the backlight global dimming, however, the rest of the tracking is flat towards the bright end of the scale. DeltaE errors are well below the visible threshold of three, so we do not see any issues with the greyscale within actual TV and film content.
The Rec.709 colour gamut result is also decent with a few errors seen with the saturation tracking chart. Magenta has a hue error towards blue, with some slight under and over-saturation at other points within the gamut. Our DeltaE errors are under three, so we shouldn’t see any visible colour issues within TV or film content viewed on the HX800.
There is no AutoCal calibration available with the Panasonic HX800, but there is the usual suite of calibration controls available to attempt to fine-tune the image quality.
We were able to obtain good accuracy with the grayscale following calibration with excellent tracking and DeltaE errors at two and under for the majority, which means no visible issues seen within TV and film content. Gamma still exhibited darkening at 10 and 20% which wasn’t correctable given the calibration controls and points to the global dimming of the set, even with all dimming switched off in the menus.
The Rec.709 colour gamut was also improved with calibration, in particular from 75% saturation and below, which are the most important areas of the image to get accurate. The 100% points were not as accurate, but this didn’t have much effect on the overall image quality when viewing TV and film content on the HX800.
Being an edge-lit LED LCD TV does pose problems when it comes to HDR and as such the Panasonic HX800 pegs back its peak brightness. To obtain the best possible results to the industry standard D65 white point, the optimum results are with the Adaptive Backlight Control switched off.
We measured peak brightness at 311 nits from 2% to 100% window sizes with 1% measuring in less due to the undefeatable global panel dimming. This result is what we would expect from an edge-lit panel and is very similar to the TCL C815K we reviewed recently, which is almost identical in terms of specifications. The overall contrast performance was measured at 4451:1
PQ EOTF tracking is the same for both 1000 and 4000 nits content, unlike the Panasonic OLEDs, and the tracking is also brighter than the ST.2084 tracking standard. We were unable to find a solution to calibrate this issue back to where it should be given the options we had available. With actual HDR content, we didn’t notice any obvious issues with overly bright tracking, in fact, it wasn’t bright enough to cause any issues at all.
Wide colour gamut performance was also reasonable and almost identical to last year’s GX800 in gamut size and saturation tracking. While most of the lower saturation points are there or thereabouts in terms of where they should be, the gamut performance is not wide enough to cover the full wide colour gamut DCI-P3 within BT.2020.
BT.2020 coverage measured in at 64% XY and 71% UV with P3 coming in at 88% XY and 94% UV.
The Panasonic HX800 is an edge-lit VA panel LED LCD TV and is designed for use in normal living room environments with everyday TV viewing. Being edge-lit does pose some problems when it comes to HDR picture quality as the HX800 has to peg back its peak brightness to avoid adding major issues with light bleed and clouding of the panel. We sound like a broken record when we mention this, but there is no such thing as the perfect TV and, as such, this Panasonic ticks as many boxes as possible when it comes to features and it is designed for use in a general living room and not for critical movie viewing in the dark.
Panel uniformity is decent but you can’t get away from clouding and brighter edges to the bottom of the screen. This is most noticeable when watching in a dark room and is visible on a 5% slide when testing. 50% uniformity is also slightly patchy with darker edges and 100% is good with slight darkening to edges. With normal TV and film viewing in a well-lit living room you shouldn’t see any major issues caused by the uniformity of the panel, it will be more noticeable watching in dark surroundings. With poor viewing angles thanks to the VA panel used, you ideally need to be sat directly in front of the HX800 as getting beyond 20 degrees off-axis introduces gamma and colour shifting, which washes out the image and you’ll see more issues with blooming, clouding and poor uniformity. The advantage of using a VA panel is better contrast and black levels.
The Panasonic will also have to compete a little harder this year in a more competitive sector of the market
The HCX is a proven processor and video processing and upscaling is very good on the HX800 with no issues visible in upscaled content from 576i, 1080i and 1080p sources. Jaggie suppression is also excellent with scaled images looking sharp without obvious edge enhancement or ringing to fine edges. Motion is also good with 24fps material with Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) switched off, as correct pulldown is applied. Using IFC does introduce frame interpolation is varying amounts with the highest settings introducing false edges, fast items within the frame disappearing and other artefacts. You can experiment with IFC for things like football and fast-moving video content to improve image blur with smoothing and soap opera effect.
With SDR content in a normal well-lit room, the HX800 performs as we would expect for a TV at this price point and using edge-lit technology. Normal day to day TV programs look good for motion and image accuracy out of the box. Black levels are decent but there is black crush present, robbing some low down detail to images. Colour is accurate and provides a nice palette for most content, with lifelike skin tones adding a nice touch of realism to proceedings. Images are sharp with good quality HD feeds, with nice upscaling showing up no issues with line ringing or issues with jaggies with broadcast material. Moving to Blu-ray and the HX800 is capable of producing nicely cinematic looking images in a bright room with just a few instances of bright bottom corners seen in darker scenes and with letterbox bars. For day to day TV viewing in a normal living room, the image performance is good and matches that of the recently reviewed TCL C815 which is also a large screen edge-lit VA LCD. The Panasonic HX800 is not designed to be used in a dark viewing room for critical movie viewing, it is just not capable of that given the technology being employed. If you want a TV for that kind of viewing you are better looking at Full Array Local Dimming (FALD) LCDs or OLEDs, both at a higher price point than this Panasonic HX800B.
Gaming performance is also decent with a good low input lag of 15ms for SDR and HDR gaming
Just like the movie viewing performance in the dark, the HX800 also struggles with HDR viewing in a darker environment for the same reasons. Because it is edge-lit there is a reduced brightness with HDR content, so you will miss out on bright, detailed specular highlights and a dynamic looking image. There is a nice balance to HDR10 and Dolby Vision content, with decent accurate looking wider colours and nice looking skin tones, but there is a lack of dynamics and brightness to the highlights. Dolby Vision content does look better than HDR10 with the dynamic metadata approach allowing the HX800 to map HDR highlights better and retain details, but the overall HDR experience is balanced and dimmer than on an OLED or higher priced FALD LCD set. We found the image quality with HDR to be very similar to the TCL C815 in a side-by-side viewing session which points to similarities using this type of screen technology.
Used as intended in a normal well-lit living room the performance from the HX800 is good with SDR being its highlight and with some dim, but balanced HDR images. Image processing is also good with decent motion and upscaling performance, along with accurate looking SDR and HDR images out of the box in the True Cinema picture preset. Gaming performance is also decent with a measured input lag of 15ms using our Murideo Seven Generator in 1080/60 and 2160/60 with and without HDR. Image quality is decent with no real issues apparent, apart from a lack of dynamic range with HDR content, the same as with films. But if you want to game on the HX800, the lag times are low enough for the vast majority of console users.
There is a nice balance to HDR10 and Dolby Vision content, with decent accurate looking wider colours and nice looking skin tones
The sound from the Panasonic TX-58HX800B is decent for a TV with downward-firing speakers and will be usable in normal living room environments. However, just like with most TVs, using an offboard sound solution will give you a better sound to TV and film content. It’s a shame the Panasonic doesn’t have a built-in soundbar like the competing TCL with its Onkyo solution.
Finally, the My Home Screen smart TV system is in its latest version here on the HX800, offering all the UK catch-up services through Freeview Play as well as most major apps such as Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube in 4K HDR, but there is no Disney+ or Apple TV+ apps available. We found the OS to be fast and stable with no crashes or any other issues.
- Decent out of the box image accuracy in True Cinema preset
- HCX processor
- Excellent upscaling and motion
- Performs best in well-lit environments
- Dolby Vision and HDR10+
- Dolby Atmos decoding
- 15ms input lag for gaming
- Good build quality
- Nice thin screen design
- Edge-lit technology adds uniformity issues
- Not suited to use in dark rooms
- Poor viewing angles due to VA panel
- Poor blacks and black crush
- Dim HDR images
Panasonic HX800 (TX-58HX800B) 4K LED LCD TV Review
There is no major performance change with the new HX800 over last year’s GX800 and no added features either, but it is still a strong and able TV for normal living room TV duties. Despite Panasonic’s Hollywood branding for their OLED TV line-up, the HX800 is not as well suited to darkroom viewing and critical movie watching. The use of edge-lit VA LCD technology gets in the way of producing cinematic images in the dark and there are issues visible in such environments and use. However, the Panasonic HX800 is really rather good at the traditional job of a living room workhorse with SDR TV and film content.
Image accuracy out of the box in the True Cinema image preset is very good with strong Rec.709 colour performance for SD and HD TV and film content, with decent image sharpness and depth, and strong skin tones along with adequate black levels. There is a little black crush visible in some scenes, but nothing that will impact too much within a well-lit viewing environment. Gaming performance is also decent with a good low input lag of 15ms for SDR and HDR gaming which should be fine for all console gamers.
HDR is a little disappointing on the HX800, but this is due to a lack of peak brightness capabilities and the use of edge-lit technology. Most of the competition is identical with reduced brightness capabilities for peak brightness performance, but colours are wide-ish and the image performance is balanced. Just don’t expect specular highlights to pop as they do on an OLED or FALD LCD (at a much higher cost).
The Panasonic TX-58HX800B is a well made and competitive edge-lit LCD TV that is designed to be used in normal well-lit living room environments and used for TV shows, gaming and movies. It doesn’t have the brightest or most dynamic HDR performance and watching in the dark is a challenge due to the edge-lit technology, but for everything else, it manages to put in a well rounded and compelling performance that will suit the mainstream audience looking for a mid-level LCD TV at this price point. The Panasonic will also have to compete a little harder this year in a more competitive sector of the market and it does seem a little bit expensive compared to the direct rivals. Plus, rivals now offer the same multi-HDR support, image accuracy and slightly better Smart TV systems, such as Android TV on the TCL with more screen real estate for similar money. Overall, the Panasonic is a solid TV for everyday living room use and if that is what you are looking for, it is worthy of a demo.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
SDR Picture Quality
HDR Picture Quality
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.