With its high performance Pro Edition OLED panel, convincing onboard Dolby Atmos sound system and IQ-enhanced universal HDR, Panasonic’s HZ2000 is the best OLED TV you can’t afford to buy right now.
Sensational OLED picture
Universal HDR with Dolby Vision IQ
Dolby Atmos sound system
No HDMI 2.1
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The Panasonic HZ2000 is at the top of its TV game. Based on Panasonic’s brighter Pro Edition OLED panel, and offering superb image quality courtesy of a Hollywood-tuned HCX Pro image processor, the HZ2000 delivers a level of picture sophistication rarely seen outside studio mastering suites.
Fine detail is sublime, wide colour gorgeous. This screen can deliver subtle gradations of near black which enable it to hold detail even in the darkest scenes.
Dolby Vision IQ and Filmmaker Mode with Intelligent Sensing ensure that fine detail isn’t lost if you choose to watch moody movies during the day or in living rooms with relatively high ambient light.
The HZ200 also sounds as good as it looks, delivering hands down the best onboard implementation of Dolby Atmos on a TV heard to date.
But there are caveats. It’s HDMI implementation won’t support 4K at 120fps, which means the set is difficult to recommend to next-gen console gamers eager to see their PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X max out their frame rates.
It’s also going to be over-specified for hardcore home cinema enthusiasts who will already own an Dolby Atmos sound system. Let’s not forget the lack of Disney Plus, too.
Price and availability
The TX-55HZ2000 is available now, priced around £3,299. Whatever way you cut it, this is extremely expensive for a 55-inch OLED TV. It’s also available in a 65-inch size, retailing for a whopping £4,299.
The HZ2000 is not currently available in either North American or Australia, where Panasonic has retreated from the consumer TV business.
- Built-in Dolby Atmos height speaker
- Technics front facing speaker
- Premium remote control
Screen Sizes: 55-inch | Tuner: Freeview Play | 4K: Yes | HDR: Yes | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: My Home Screen 5.0| Curved: No | Dimensions: 1225(w) x 761(h) x 78(d) mm | Weight: 26.5kg | 3D: No | Inputs: 4xHDMI 2.0, 2xUSB, ethernet, optical, terrestrial, cable input, satellite input, CI slot
Take just a cursory glance and you might miss that the HZ2000 is packing some serious sonic firepower. The panel itself has a customary micro bezel, but running below the screen is a seamlessly-integrated forward-facing speaker array, tuned by Technics – while a look to the rear confirms this isn’t your typical wafer-thin OLED blade. The HZ2000 quite literally wears a Dolby Atmos up-firing speaker like a backpack.
Connections comprise four HDMI inputs, one with eARC support, and all can handle 4K 60fps. There’s no 120fps compatibility though, an omission worth noting if you’re intending to upgrade to a next-gen games console. You do get ALLM (Auto Low Latency game Mode) though.
There’s also an analogue component AV input, optical digital audio output, Ethernet port and trio of USB ports.
The remote control has a nice metallic finish, is backlit for dark room use, and sports dedicated buttons for Netflix and Freeview Play, as well as Filmmaker Mode (more on which shortly).
Smart TV (My Home Screen 5.0)
- Freeview Play with catch-up TV
- Customisable Home page
- Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa compatible
We’re now up to the fifth iteration of Panasonic’s My Home Screen smart TV platform, and it remains both the clunkiest smart portal name, and one of the easiest to live with.
Rather than utilise a crowded launcher bar for apps, as favoured by Samsung for Tizen and LG for webOS, Panasonic offers customisable buttons. On this fifth version, they’ve been downsized and shunted from the centre screen, to bottom left, but the idea remains the same.
These buttons provide a shortcut to apps, connected devices and live TV, and can be augmented by more, if you’d like. For example, while Netflix benefits from a dedicated button on the zapper, you might want to add a quick launch button for Amazon Prime Video on the Home screen. This is achieved by ‘pinning’ the service into place.
Available apps include Rakuten.tv YouTube, Britbox, Chili and Plex (plus some sundries not really worth mentioning). There’s no Disney Plus, though, which is an embarrassing omission.
The terrestrial tuner in the UK is Freeview Play, which guarantees all the main Catch-up TV services available, with the usual Freeview Play curation and recommendation services to hand. A Discovery bar runs across the top of the panel, while a roll-back programme guide will help you find shows you might have missed.
The set also works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa ecosystems, if you fancy powering your TV on or searching for shows via voice.
- Universal HDR support
- Dolby Vision IQ
- Sublime cinematic performance
Built around a Panasonic Professional Edition Master OLED panel, the HZ2000 should be considered a premium picture performer in every respect. From HD upscaling to naturalistic HDR detail and three-dimensional HDR, the picture performance here knocks the ball clean out of the park.
Pictures on the HZ2000 are never less than cinematic. Peak HDR highlights are delivered with brilliant restraint, adding depth and detail to shadows and night scenes, and gifting vibrancy to daylight and complex lighting.
Handling much of the heavy lifting is the brand’s HCX Pro Intelligent processor, first seen on last year’s GZ2000 flagship. It’s distinguished by an ability to deliver bright, saturated colours and huge contrast, even in brightly-lit scenes.
This flagship HCX silicon also does an excellent job upscaling 1080p sources, delivering pixel dense images that don’t suffer unwanted jaggies or overt edge enhancement. If you’ve got a big Blu-ray disc collection, too, you’re in for a treat.
In case you were wondering, this is a Professional Edition panel by means of custom hardware improvements that utilise heat management techniques first developed for plasma TVs. By managing heat more effectively, you can drive the average picture level brighter.
Panasonic offers a wide range of well-designed picture modes, covering most conceivable content. But what’s really interesting here is the provision of Filmmaker Mode with Intelligent Sensing – a feature unique to Panasonic – and Dolby Vision IQ.
The former applies uniform Filmmaker Mode image stripping (out goes interpolation, image sharpening and all that good stuff), but moderates it with the set’s built-in sensor which adjusts the image based on ambient lighting conditions. It works well, but does clash with Filmmaker Mode’s ‘hands off’ philosophy.
Dolby Vision IQ takes the same approach, but auto-image enhancement is central to the idea. IQ replaces Dolby Bright in the preset menu, and it quickly became our default for DV HDR.
For non-Dolby Vision content, the set’s Normal viewing mode would be our recommended setting. It uses the attributes of the panel well, making both regular HD and native 4K look deliciously tasty. Alternatively, when watching Netflix, there’s Netflix Calibrated mode, which is really just a Cinema default by another name.
HDR performance is top notch. We measured the screen at more than 900 nits (cd/m2) peak brightness, which puts it firmly in the elite class for OLED TVs.
Motion handling is extremely good too. Intelligent Frame Creation tech maintains clarity even during fast motion action, and can be used with impunity for sports. For movies though, we’d still opt to switch it off, even with the offer of Black Frame insertion.
Sound and gaming
- Built-in Dolby Atmos height speaker
- Technics audio tuning
- Low input lag for gamers
Dolby Atmos compatibility is fast becoming standard on TVs, but few actually do anything meaningful with the immersive codec. The best they can offer is to pass it out over ARC to a soundbar or AV system.
The HZ2000 is different. It offers a genuinely immersive sound performance out of the box, thanks to its built-in up-firing Dolby Atmos rear mounted speaker, which adds height and greater involvement.
Listen to Sky Sports faux crowd noise, delivered in Dolby Atmos, and you might even think the stadium was packed to the rafters with actual people.
Running the width of the screen is a sound array tuned by engineers from sister brand Technics, said to deliver a 360 degree soundstage. Dialogue, stereo music and height work in synchronicity, but what you don’t get is a sense of rear surround.
But that’s alright with us: the height and width of this soundstage is impressive enough as is.
Should you buy the Panasonic HZ2000 4K OLED?
Buy it if...
You want the most refined, cinematic picture yet seen from a 4K OLED panel.
Panasonic has pushed the technology to the extreme, and the result is breath-taking.
You want an all in one home cinema system.
The HZ2000 has all the goods, meaning no living room space sacrificed for separate speakers or additional kit.
You want an easy-to-use smart TV.
The HZ2000 looks great streaming Netflix HDR at any time of the day.
Don't buy it if...
You already have a kick-ass Dolby Atmos sound system.
A lot of the cost in the HZ2000 is tied up in its integrated sound system, and you won’t need it if you have a Dolby Atmos AVR already in place.
You want a panel able to make the most of the next-gen games consoles.
The HZ2000 won’t display them running at 120fps, thanks to HDMI 2.0 limitations.
You want value for money.
This is an unapologetically premium screen, and cheap isn’t in its vocabulary.
- Check out the rest of the best OLED TVs
Steve has been writing about AV and home cinema since the dawn of time, or more accurately, since the glory days of VHS and Betamax. He has strong opinions on the latest TV technology, Hi-Fi and Blu-ray/media players, and likes nothing better than to crank up his ludicrously powerful home theatre system to binge-watch TV shows.