Panasonic TX-65DX902B review

The future of TV is bright

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Editor's Choice

Our Verdict

This flagship Ultra HD premium 4K TV heralds a new era in image quality. It also boasts the best in catch-up and on-demand. Expensive… but exceptional.

For

  • Astoundingly vibrant 4K HDR picture quality
  • Firefox TV OS and Freeview Play
  • HDCP 2.2 compatibility
  • 4K Netflix and Amazon onboard

Against

  • Ultra Local Dimming suffers from backlight halos
  • Standard def TV looks pretty awful
  • Audio quality only just good enough

The Panasonic TX-65DX902B isn't just another high-priced Ultra HD flatscreen – it effectively ushers in a whole new era of TV technology. This flagship 4K set is the first we've seen to be certified Ultra HD Premium, which in a nutshell that means it's able to go really bright (over 1,000 nits), as well as offer a really wide colour range, when fed HDR (High Dynamic Range) content.

HDR, available on Ultra HD Blu-rays, is touted as the Next Big Thing in TV technology, but it's far from easy to implement. The screen is certified for 4K by THX.

The DX902 is available in 58-inch and 65-inch sizes; we're reviewing the larger model here.

Design and connectivity

When it comes to style and design, the DX902 is ostensibly just another thin-bezel giant of a flatscreen. But a closer look reveals some nice attention to detail, courtesy of some Italian industrial design DNA. The pedestal feet are ranged close to each edge of the panel, and feature an arty engraved finish which creates a star-lighting effect. The outside wrap around the panel is similarly etched.

The screen tips the scales at a hefty 34.5kg. The stand, which counterweights behind the panel (and so sits largely out of sight) is also heavy. Rear connectivity (most hidden behind a pop-off cover) includes four HDMIs (one with ARC), all of which are HDCP 2.2 compliant.

Panasonic TX 65DX902B review

There are also three USBs (one a fast v3 variant for HDD recording), plus legacy component and phono AV inputs. There's no Scart. The set has an optical audio output, Ethernet and twin tuners for terrestrial Freeeview and satellite (Freesat). Wi-Fi is dual-band.

Included are two remotes, an IR zapper with nice textured finish, and a Bluetooth touchpad. Call me old school, but I found the IR zapper the easiest, most responsive controller to use. It has a dedicated Netflix button too.

Taming the Firefox smart platform

The setup routine for Firefox and Freeview Play is straightforward and relatively fast (compared to the Android TV OS). Much like LG's webOS, Firefox is a delightfully simple Smart TV platform. The Home page launches with a trio of circular tabs – Live TV, Apps, Devices – which you can augment by 'pinning' other items.

Pretty much anything can be pinned. If you want a dedicated iPlayer button, pin it, or maybe an Amazon Instant Video shortcut is more useful? Kids can have their own content pins.

Click Devices and not only do you get source components connected locally to the set, but also all networked DLNA devices, media servers and Shares. This is also where you go if you want to mirror a smartphone or tablet. It's all very (Quad Core Pro processor) fast and intuitive.

Panasonic TX 65DX902B review

At present the Firefox UI is unchanged from last year, but there is a firmware update planned. The idea for this seems to be to enhance multiplatform use, with a 'send to TV' feature for users of Android smartphones and tablets.

File compatibility is good and navigation is sprightly. In seconds I had located my Plex and Twonky media servers, and fired up an MKV to watch.

Freeview Play is a long overdue upgrade for the terrestrial TV service. It features the usual programme grid and live TV window, but offers speedy access to iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, Demand 5 and the BBC news and sport apps.

Content applications are limited but cover the essentials. In addition to Netflix and Amazon (both of which offer 4K UHD support), there's YouTube, Wuaki TV, Chili Cinema and Freesat Freetime, if your main TV feed is a satellite dish.