The battle for the ultimate 4K TV is on at this year's CES, with Panasonic the first to get an Ultra HD Premium qualified TV to market - the DX900 - which is due out this February.
While Ultra HD Premium doesn't redefine the core of what 4K is all about - it's still a 3840 x 2160 resolution panel - it does encompass other important criteria. In the DX900 that means a 10-bit colour-capable panel for optimum colour, and a brighter-than-1,000-nits output for super-bright HDR (high dynamic range) images.
Panasonic claims the DX900 is, for the first time, able to deliver "extreme brightness that is an LCD's strong point with the sort of contrast and black level response that people used to love about Panasonic's plasma TVs".
This is thanks to a honeycomb-structure local dimming panel, which divides the picture into hundreds of individually controlled lighting zones to ensure minimal light leakage between them for optimum blacks without compromising the brightness level. HDR has landed, without the blooms and halos apparent with existing systems at significant brightness.
As HDR is in its early stages, however, there's not a lot of compatible content. That's where the new Panasonic HCX+ (Hollywood Cinema eXperience plus) processor comes into play, which is said to "deliver images that faithfully reproduce the pre-HDR Rec 709 industry video standard" at every level of brightness.
In addition to Firefox OS smarts for easy operation, the DX900 will support HDR streams from Amazon and Netflix.
The DX900 arrives alongside the UB900 UHD Blu-ray player, ensuring that top notch image and sound quality is now available at a level never before achieved. That player, with its dual HDMI output - to split picture and audio signals down their respective cables - can cater for the 100Mbps maximum data rate for UHD Blu-ray standard for the best possible results, just as the film-makers intended.
The Panasonic DX900 Ultra HD Premium 4K TV will go on sale in Feburary, in 58-inch and 65-inch variants. However, there's no final word on price point just yet. Let the premium 4K battle commence…