The Panasonic TV 2021 lineup is here – or, at least, part of it is.
Like most other major TV brands, Panasonic has kicked off its annual TV range in the start of January, to coincide with the online CES 2021 expo. We can't congregate in person this year to see any new sets in action, sadly, but we still have all the info you need on what's to come in the world of TVs this year.
Panasonic has only unveiled one TV so far: the flagship JZ2000 OLED, which will pack a new HCX Pro AI chip and even the addition of side-firing speakers for what will almost certainly be an impressive and impactful audio experience.
We'll certainly hear more about other OLED and LCD models later in the year, though Panasonic tends to let the dust settle on its flagship announcement before going further down the range. We're expecting updates to last year's HZ1500 and HZ1000 OLEDs, for sure, and most likely the new-for-2020 HZ980 series, which ditched the swivel stand and smooth motion processing of higher-up models to decrease the price.
There are some niggling issues to fix, with Disney Plus still nowhere to be seen, and Panasonic being slower to HDMI 2.1 support than a lot of other TV brands – though it looks like 2021 may be the year it really embraces gamer-centric features (more on this below).
So, what's in the works for 2021? Read on below for every Panasonic 2021 TV announced so far, what new technologies will be supported, and what 2020 TVs these new models will have to beat.
- What are the best small TVs?
New Panasonic TVs for 2021
Panasonic JZ2000 (55, 65-inch): The JZ2000 is Panasonic’s flagship TV for 2021, featuring a custom-made OLED panel to increase peak brightness and its high dynamic range. The main difference in this year’s model over the HZ2000 is the introduction of side-firing speakers, adding to existing upward- and front-firing drivers for a truly surround sound experience and 125W total wattage.
Read more in our Panasonic JZ2000 OLED guide
Panasonic TV technology for 2021
So, what’s new in Panasonic TVs this year? We’ve only seen one set, the JZ2000, announced so far, but that unveiling has revealed quite a bit about Panasonic’s priorities this year.
There’s a new HCX Pro AI processor, largely to introduce an AI picture mode that auto-calibrates the TV’s settings depending on what’s being shown onscreen. However, it also adds support for a number of gamer-centric features such as VRR, low latency, and HDMI 2.1 – meaning you’ll be able to make use of a next-gen gaming console like the PS5 or Xbox Series X.
Panasonic is always a great TV brand for HDR format support, and we know the JZ2000 will get support for HDR10+ Adaptive, a new feature that enhances HDR10+ content by responding to the level of ambient light in the TV’s environment – much like Dolby Vision IQ, which launched in 2019 and is also found on Panasonic TVs.
There are a few key details we don’t yet have regarding the JZ2000, including how expansive its HDMI 2.1 support will be (one port? four?), though we do know it will support VRR (variable refresh rate) and feature far lower latency (14.4ms) than previous Panasonic OLEDs.
We’re told to expect an overhaul to its MyHomeScreen smart TV platform – a straightforward interface that may feel bare-bones to some and beautifully simplified to others – leaving its sixth iteration “much more intuitive and much more usable” than before. There will be support for major voice assistants (presumably Alexa and Google Assistant) baked in too.
One exciting new feature is the ability to connect two devices over Bluetooth to the set, meaning you can pair two over-ear headphones, or perhaps a mouse for navigating the screen.
You’ll also get Filmmaker Mode, for those who want to minimize TV processing to its bare bones – though we wouldn’t generally recommend using it.
The JZ2000 also introduces side-firing speakers, creating an all-angles surround sound experience alongside the upward-firing and front-firing speakers used in previous sets.
A representative for Panasonic tells us that, “with the JZ2000 our aim was to further improve and enhance the surround sound and its ability to deliver immersive experiences by adopting a new sound system, including new side-firing speakers, a new DSP (digital signal processor) and also amplifier which are optimised for this speaker configuration.
“As a result, the JZ2000 is able to pick out directional sounds better than ever before, giving viewers a real sense of immersion. If they are watching films, they will feel cinematic-level surround sound; if they are watching sports, they will get an even deeper feeling of being in a stadium. The JZ2000 delivers a powerful and dynamic output complemented by a powerful bass. The total sound system was developed with the support of engineers from Technics, making it Tuned by Technics.
“The average wattage for a conventional TV sound system is around 30W, therefore any speaker system with over 100 watts (such as the JZ2000) is a HUGE step up. Furthermore, even sound-oriented TV models from some competitors only deliver just under 100W, therefore the JZ2000 sound system is head and shoulders above all others when it comes to room-filling, immersive sound experiences.”
There is still no word on when the Disney Plus app will arrive.
Panasonic TV 2020 lineup
Panasonic TVs from 2020
Panasonic HZ2000 4K OLED (55, 65-inch)
The Panasonic HZ2000 OLED is the TV maker’s flagship device for 2020. This model was announced at CES 2020 and is available in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes. It's the successor to last year’s GZ2000, a TV that we gave a full five stars in our review. The newest model features a custom-made OLED panel and broad HDR support, with a few enhancements that could again make this one of the best TVs of the year.
The HZ2000 will make use of the same HCX Pro Intelligent processor as Panasonic’s 2019 OLED lineup, though with a few tweaks to HDR functionality – including Filmmaker Mode. Expect upward-firing Atmos speakers too.
Read our full Panasonic HZ2000 TV review
Panasonic HZ1500 4K OLED (55, 65-inch)
The next step down, the HZ1500 features 80W of audio (rather than 140W) and a regular OLED panel (instead of a custom one).
Like the HZ2000, this model comes with Dolby Vision IQ and Filmmaker Mode, with the HZ1500 featuring upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers.
Read our full Panasonic HZ1500 TV review
Panasonic HZ1000 4K OLED (55, 65-inch)
The HZ1000 is near identical to the HZ1500, but only with 30W of audio instead of the latter's 80W. Still, you're getting a high-end OLED panel with universal HDR format support, and a swivel stand for angling the TV to wherever you want in the room. Dolby Vision IQ and Filmmaker Mode are present too.
Read the full Panasonic HZ1000 TV review
Panasonic HZ980 4K OLED (55, 65-inch)
Panasonic also shook things up by announcing a new OLED model called the HZ980, which is set to be an even more affordable entry-level OLED than the HZ1000, likely to compete with the LG BX and LG B9. It uses lower-spec motion smoothing, and ditches the swivel stand for slightly cheaper assembly parts, but otherwise nothing is different from the HZ1000.
The 55-inch model is now available, with the 65-inch model coming later in the year.
Panasonic HX940 LED TV (43, 65, 75-inch)
Panasonic's flagship LED-LCD TV is the HX940. It has the same HDR support as its OLED siblings – though the 43-inch and 65-inch use an IPS panel rather than the VA panel of the 75-inch. A smart mid-range buy with an innovative backlight system – even if the picture can't compete with OLED.
Read our full Panasonic HX940 TV review
Panasonic HX800 LED TV (40, 50, 58, 65-inch)
The successor to the excellent GX800 (2019) is here, and offers a near-perfect trade-off of price and performance. As a mid-range set with strong pictures, Atmos compatible audio, and universal HDR support – albeit with a HCX chip rather than the HCX Intelligent Pro processor – it's hard to go wrong here.
Read our full Panasonic HX800 TV review
Everything you need to know about the best TVs of 2021:
Best TV 2021: the best flatscreen televisions from the past year
Best smart TV 2021: every smart TV platform and which set does it best
Best 65-inch 4K TVs: the best big screen TVs for any budget
TV stands: finding the best TV stand to suit your living room cinema needs
- Check out all of TechRadar's CES 2021 coverage. We're remotely covering the online-only show to bring you all the breaking tech news and launches, plus a smattering of hands-on reviews.