When it comes to this year's new TVs, the biggest tech advancements we're hearing about at CES 2024 are to do with AI processors, and Panasonic has joined the charge. The Japanese company has announced two brand new OLED TVs – called the Z95A and Z93A – that have the next generation of its HCX Pro AI processor, which it's calling the Mk II.
The improved chip not only promises to give a major picture quality boost when watching the best streaming services – thanks to a new 4K Remaster Engine with enhanced noise reduction – but it will also enable Dolby Vision support at a 144Hz refresh rate, making these TVs a big challenger to the best gaming TVs currently available.
Curiously, Panasonic has skipped straight to Z for its model names (last year had been M, the year before was L, and so on, with only a few exceptions). The first of the two, the Z95A, will come in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes, and will use what Panasonic calls a Master OLED Ultimate panel, which – like last year's flagship Panasonic MZ2000 – uses micro lens array (MLA) tech for high brightness. Meanwhile, the Z93A comes only in a 77-inch size, and will use a Master OLED Pro Cinema panel, which is essentially the same as you'll find in the Panasonic MZ1500, though backed by more advanced tech in the processing and elsewhere. This means it'll be less bright than the 55-inch and 65-inch versions, hence the diffrent model name
Both sets are specced out to be a complete all-in-one package, with Amazon's Fire TV software built-in for a personalized streaming home screen (a first for TVs this high-quality), Dolby Vision IQ Precision for added picture enhancements and brightness, and Panasonic's seriously impressive 360 Soundscape Pro tech for immersive Dolby Atmos without needing to add one of the best soundbars.
The new HCX Pro AI Processor Mk II is the brains behind its improved Game Mode Extreme, which combines the power of HDMI 2.1, AMD Freesync Premium, Nvidia G-Sync, and VRR of up to 144Hz to deliver higher resolutions, faster frame rates and speedier bandwidth. The new TVs also have ALLM support, to switch into their low-lag mode.
Outside of gaming, Panasonic's new Z93A and Z95A are pitted to be excellent smart home hubs too. With features like Alexa, Apple Home and AirPlay compatibility, owners will be able to check in on security cams or beam photos over to be displayed easily, for example. It even has an ambient TV mode (see picture above) that shows customizable Alexa widgets, like calendars and reminders.
There is no official word yet on when the TVs will become available or how much they will cost but based on the MZ2000, we might be looking at a similar price range of between £2,699 for the 55-inch and up to £4,499 for the 77-inch. As usual with Panasonic, we don't expect them to be available in the US, sadly. If Panasonic manages to bring down the price at all, which was the only major setback we found when reviewing last year's flagship model, then we'll definitely have a contender for our list of the best TVs, given Panasonic's strong history.
Check out our CES 2024 hub for all the latest news from the show as it happens. We'll be covering everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops, smart home gadgets, and the latest in AI, so stick with us for the big stories.
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Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.