The new ranges, the FZ950 and FZ800, will continue the company's "Hollywood to Home" focus as Panasonic seeks to help the movie industry recreate the creative intent of the filmmaker by bringing a "better than cinema experience" to the home.
At the heart of that is a new image processor, a better screen, better speakers thanks to Technics, and new technologies designed to enhance the colour reproduction even more than the critically acclaimed 2017 models.
Bucking the trend of "bigger is better" the new ranges will, unlike the 2017 flagship EZ1000 range that offered a whopping 77-inch set, only be available in either 55-inch and 65-inch sizes.
It's now all about Dynamic LUT
According to Panasonic, the new buzzword to learn and be excited about is something it's calling Dynamic LUT.
The term, which rather dryly stands for Look Up Table, is a behind the scenes technology that continually provides the television with a set of colour instructions about which colour to create in each specific position on the screen.
Previously that collection of data was only set at the start of a movie, TV show, or broadcast, limiting the colour options available to the television to display.
In the 2018 models, the new HCX processor now enables the TV to update those colour instructions up to 10 times a second.
That, as you can imagine, gives the set a huge boost in how it can reproduce colour, allowing for a much greater and more precise mapping of the colours meant to be displayed on the screen at any given time.
Pocket-lint has seen an early prototype and the TV looks noticeably better than the 2017 EZ1000 range when side by side.
According to Panasonic there's a deeper and richer picture quality, not only at the black and near black end of the scale, but in the mid and high range colour spectrums. So any scene that's not filmed in the shadows.
"This brings significant improvements to mid-brightness scenes, making them look much more natural," says Panasonic who has also included additional layers of LUT data at much darker levels to allow it to also improve pure black and near black colours.
While the technology is something professional Hollywood colourists are getting excited about, the bottom line is that for consumers the technology works in the background without you having to do anything to benefit from the improved picture.
HDR10+, but not Dolby Vision
It's not just about improving the colour quality. The new Panasonic FZ950 and FZ800 TV models will also be the first to feature the new HDR format: HDR10+.
A new open-standard HDR format backed by Panasonic, Samsung, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, and Amazon, builds on the already widely available HDR10 offering and will go head to head with Dolby Vision as Panasonic's new TVs won't be supporting that.
It's a strange move, considering Panasonic is including Dolby Vision support on its new top of the line Blu-ray player, the DP-UB820. However we suspect it's more to do with licencing royalties than anything else. Expect it to become the next pseudo format war.
Like Dolby Vision, HDR10+ has a dynamic approach to dealing with HDR rather than the current static one, with the intent being more cinema-like results.
For those that don't want to be burdened with having to plug in their own Home Cinema speaker system, the FZ950 will also offer a "Dynamic Blade Speaker" built into the stand.
Now tuned by Technics, the speaker runs the full width the of the screen and features eight multiple speaker units (four larger woofers, four squawkers and two tweeters, plus a quad passive radiator to boost bass) in an incredible thin case. In terms of performance, although we've yet to hear it yet, it promises a 40 per cent volume increase over the 2017 TVs.
Panasonic FZ950 price and release date
Panasonic aren't giving specifics at the moment in terms of release date, only saying that the new FZ950 and FZ800 will be available in Spring 2018.
It's also being cagey on pricing, however Panasonic has hinted to Pocket-lint that the new models will be aggressively priced and aimed at capturing the high-end OLED market, rather than being a niche product that only sells in their hundreds rather than thousands.
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