Say hello to the top-end Panasonic OLED TV for 2019, the GZ2000. This set brings a number of firsts: it's the first to decode both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision high dynamic range formats; and it's the first to feature built-in up-firing speakers for its Dolby Atmos soundsystem.
Design and sound
- Built-in upfiring Dolby Atmos speakers
- Speakers tuned by Technics
- 55- and 65-inch models available
- Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatible
The GZ2000 has a subtle, understated design. Its very panel forward in its approach, with trim bezel top and bottom and a central stand that's largely hidden from view – none of the chromed overly shiny look that other manufacturers are pushing elsewhere.
There are a couple of visible logos: the Panasonic one front and centre on the bottom integrated soundbar and a 'Tuned by Technics' logo to the right corner (facing) on the same bar. They don't light up and aren't intrusive.
As the Technics presence implies, this TV is heavily focused on sound quality. We've had a private demo at loud volume and it's a sensational sounding set that's free from rattle or distortion.
There's a lot more to the sound make-up though. As we've mentioned, the GZ2000 integrates Dolby Atmos speakers, with two pairs of rear-firing speakers complementing the front integrated soundbar. But the extra special feature is the upward-firing speaker, which is at the top of the rear, obscured from view when facing the TV front-on.
Dolby Atmos has been seen in TVs before now, with LG leading the march there, but we've never heard a telly output a soundscape as wide and encapsulating as the GZ2000. Sure, the sound isn't like you'd get from a full separates Dolby Atmos setup, but the clever positioning of all these speakers and psychoacoustic algoriths make for a convincing solution without the need for any fussy extras.
New software allows for customised screen layouts, while support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice assistants means the GZ2000 can be switched on or off with the power of voice. The voice integration isn't as advanced as, say, LG's AI setup, as it's not possible to request specific apps on the TV to load from the off, but it's still a step in the right direction as voice control becomes ever more prevalent.
- Same peak brightness as FZ950 model, but greater brightness across full panel
- HDR10+ and Dolby Vision HDR capable
- OLED panel means deep blacks
- HCX Pro Intelligent processor
Far from being all about sound, the GZ2000 offers great picture quality too. In 2018 we reviewed the FZ950 and loved how capable that set was. The GZ2000 takes that panel and tweaks it ever so slightly: both offer the same peak brightness, but the GZ2000 can display a brighter picture consistently across the full display with less fall-off. We've seen the two side-by-side and the difference is very slight, but it is there.
OLED panels have long been admired for their deep, rich black levels and lack of blooming due to no backlighting – a feature that LCD TVs require. Year on year the display technology is improved, but that's down to processing. And in the GZ2000 is the latest and greatest HCX Pro Intelligent processor, which improves artefact presence and motion compared to the FZ950.
The real sell with the GZ2000 is that it can display HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision high dynamic range sources – and is the first TV to do so. That means no discrimination of content. If that's an Amazon show in HDR10+ or a Netflix show in Dolby Vision or an Ultra-HD Blu-ray disc, the best possible decoding will be selected and delivered.
In short: you'll get the best possible picture quality based on the content source. And with Panasonic working with high-end Hollywood colourists to ensure accurate colour rendition, the idea is for images to be as close to reference as possible. We've seen snippets of Blade Runner 2049 and bespoke promo films, all of which look great – although the real test will be at home at various times of day to see how the panel copes in real-world conditions.
Overall the Panasonic GZ2000 delivers the greatest picture quality you could expect from an OLED panel, paired with all the HDR types that matter.
What really sets this TV apart from its competition, however, is the massive soundstage that's on offer. It truly sounds sensational.
However, there's no final word on price or release date (expect second half 2019 we believe). So whether it'll be a well balanced price point to standout against its competition remains to be seen.
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