Panasonic shakes up 2020 TV range with new budget OLED TV

(Image credit: Panasonic)
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Panasonic has announced a new addition to its 2020 TV range, the HZ980 OLED – and it's the closest the company has got to a budget OLED TV so far.

The HZ980 is a distinct offering from the HZ1000 OLED TV, with a less advanced OLED panel, ditching the Master HDR panel of the HZ1000, HZ1500 and HZ2000 in order to bring down the price of an entry-level OLED. It's expected to launch in July.

Retailing at £1,699 for its smallest 55-inch size, as well as a 65-inch model in tow, the HZ980 is a surprisingly competitive entry in the OLED market. For comparison, the newly-reviewed LG CX OLED starts at £1,499 for a 48-inch size, and costs £1,799 for a 55-inch size.

The HZ980 will feature the same HCX Pro Intelligent processor as its more premium siblings, meaning that functions like upscaling shouldn't see a drop in quality – though you will be making do with a simplified version of the HZ1000's Smooth Motion Drive Pro, called simply Smooth Motion Drive.

It will come with Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and Dolby Atmos support, as well as Dolby Vision IQ to calibrate HDR output to the level of ambient light in the room. Both Filmmaker Mode and Netflix Calibrated Mode are supported as well.

You'll also get HDMI 2.1 and eARC, as well as Google Assistant and Alexa integration.

The hunt for affordable OLED TVs

Competition is ramping up for mid-price OLED TVs, with LG, Panasonic, Sony and Philips all working hard to offer OLED sets that are affordable without ruining what makes OLED TVs so good – as with the botched processing of the Hisense O8B OLED.

The Sony A9G and LG CX both feature 48-inch sizes, which docks a couple of hundred pounds off the price compared to a 55-inch model. LG's BX isn't expected to launch until September, but it's likely to be even cheaper than (if not comparable with) the 48-inch CX too.

Henry is a freelance technology journalist. Before going freelance, he spent more than three years at TechRadar reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and persistent theatre enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. Bylines also include Edge, T3, and Little White Lies.