Panasonic's new OLED TVs go big on HDR, fancy formats, and Filmmaker Mode

(Image credit: Panasonic)

Panasonic makes a lot of good televisions, and we’re now getting a better look at what exactly the Japanese manufacturer has in store for us in 2020 – with five new 4K TVs, three of which feature OLED panels, now having been unveiled.

We already had a look at the flagship Panasonic HZ2000 OLED TV back at CES 2020, but this is the first time we’ve had confirmation of other OLEDs in this year’s range. We now know we’re getting HZ1500 and HZ1000 models too, as successors to 2019’s GZ1500 and GZ1000 OLEDs.

All three OLED TVs will feature the new Dolby Vision IQ feature we heard about back in January, which calibrate the picture settings of Dolby Vision content in response to the brightness of the room the television is in.

The other universal addition is for Filmmaker Mode, which is meant to correct overzealous picture processing and present films as the creator intended – and has the backing of Hollywood directors such as Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan.

We’re not overly excited about this mode, to be honest – Netflix Calibrated Mode attempted a similar thing, and tended towards flat presentation that ignored the presentational quirks of each manufacturer. But Panasonic is coupling this with an “Intelligent Sensing” feature that (like Dolby Vision IQ) uses brightness sensors to tailor this viewing mode to the amount of light in the room – which should help the picture regardless of what else Filmmaker Mode is doing.

Both the HZ2000 and HZ1500 will sport upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers, too, in the vein of last year’s GZ2000 OLED – which we gave five stars in our review for its excellent screen and powerful 140W audio. If you live in close proximity to other neighbors, you may want to keep the volume down – but boy can those speakers belt.

HDR for all!

Panasonic has also announced three LCD 4K TVs: the HX940, HX900, and HX800. As ever, all these sets will feature the same broad HDR support, with Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG baked into even mid-range LCDs.

Every new set will work with both Google Assistant and Alexa, and also come with the latest version of Panasonic’s smart TV OS – HomeScreen 5.0 – which will now offer thumbnails of titles when selecting on demand streaming apps.

Nothing here is overly surprising, but it’s given us a good look at what’s to come, and shows that Panasonic is continuing to dominate when it comes to HDR format support.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.