The FX780 series is the highest LCD model in the Panasonic Belgium line-up. For the real top models they switch to OLED after all. The Panasonic TX-49FX780 is a edge LED model with local dimming and rich equipment. How are the image performances?
Panasonic TX-49FX780 – specifications
- What: Ultra HD LCD TV, Edge LED with local dimming (8 × 1 segments)
- Screen size: 49 inch (125 cm), flat
- Connections: 4x HDMI (1xARC 2x v2.0a), 1x component video, 1x composite video, 1x stereo cinch, 1x optical digital out, 3x USB (1x 3.0), 1x headphones, 3x antenna, Bluetooth
- Extras: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, WiFi (802.11ac) built in, My Home Screen 3.0, USB/DLNA media player, In house streaming, triple DVB-T2 / C / S2, double CI + lock, voice control, HCX processor
- Dimensions : 1,098 x 699 x 254 mm (incl foot)
- Weight: 27.0 kg (including foot)
- Consumption: 84 / 0.5 watt (Energy label A)
- List price: 1.199 euro
- A complete overview of all models that Panasonic brought to market in 2018 can be found in the 2018 Panasonic TV line-up. Here you will also find the complete specifications per model.
Panasonic TX-49FX780 – design
With a screen that is hardly inferior in thickness (8 mm) for OLED screens, this Panasonic is a beautiful design masterpiece. The LCD panel itself sits against a glass plate that comes just beyond the screen edge. A thin metal stripe underlines the device
The foot is an impressive metal plate, with a lot of weight (5kg). That is necessary, because the device itself is definitely not lightweight, 22 kg and that for a 49 inch, which is very heavy. The finish is excellent, and the whole is like a house. The ‘Art & Interior Glass’ design has certainly succeeded.
The Panasonic has plenty of connections. Four HDMI (all ready for Ultra HD and HDR), and three USB connections are accompanied by a component video connection, a digital optical audio output and a headphone output. Bluetooth is also present.
Two of the four HDMI connections, one USB, the digital optical audio output, the headphone connection and the three antenna connections are on the side. As long as you only use it you can hide the other connections with two cover panels. In many cases, however, you will omit them, since the wired network connection and two HDMI connections are at the back. All connections at the back point to the wall, which makes tight wall mounting difficult.
Panasonic has provided cable management so that all cables can be routed neatly along the foot.
Panasonic TX-49FX780 – ease of use
Installation is a piece of cake You go through the usual choices for country, language, internet connection and setting of the channels.
The large robust Panasonic remote control is largely unchanged. The layout is good, the keys are big enough and clearly labeled. He is comfortable in the hand, not too heavy and not too light. The metal brushed look gives him a bit of a premium look.
The only change is the key to the right of the on / off key at the top. Last year it adjusted the aspect ratio, this year that is a test that quickly changes your image mode. At the bottom left there is a ‘my app’ button that you can assign to a certain app (YouTube, Deezer … your choice) that you can quickly launch via this key.
The Panasonic supports voice commands, for example to adjust the volume. customize, launch apps or speak in search. Unfortunately, the remote does not have a microphone, so anyone who wants to try this out should get his smartphone and install Panasonic TV Remote 2 app.
Panasonic TX-49FX780 – features
Smart TV platform
My Home Screen 3 contains at first glance only some minor changes, but they are well chosen. One thing has remained, the whole system, both when you want to change your setting or start an app, is still fast and responsive. The Panasonic settings menu appears on the left of the screen. Because it contains so many modalities, a better subdivision would be a lot more convenient. Unless you are a seasoned TV hobbyist, the menus are rather intimidating.
In the previous version, the Home screen took over the entire picture. The three colored circles for live TV, apps and devices have remained, but now appear at the bottom of the image. That is more in line with what Samsung and LG do, and gives a more modern, less intrusive impression. You can simply look further while doing things in the bar at the bottom.
The possibility to ‘peg’ separate channels, inputs or apps to the starting bar has remained. Of course the place is limited, only 7 icons fit on the screen, then you have to scroll.
Very handy is that you now also have a search function, live TV channel list, YouTube on the site of the launch bar and can show TV recordings. In the settings for the Home Screen you can determine which bar appears when you click on ‘Home’, adjust the order and you can remove unwanted bars from the list.
Panasonic offers a full set of tuners ( DVB-T2 / C / S2) and thanks to the twin tuner and dual CI + lock you can record a program with a USB hard disk while watching another one. That makes a good alternative for those who do not want to work with a set-top box for digital television. Thanks to ‘In House TV streaming’ you can also watch the TV channels on another TV set, or in the Panasonic TV Remote 2 app.
The built-in media player is very good, but not perfect . He refused some of our Ultra HD video files and he does not play DTS soundtracks. Subtitles (srt and sub format) are also no problem. The audio player is very universal and even plays FLAC and ALAC, but only reads tag information from MP3 files.
Panasonic TX-49FX780 – Image quality
The FX780 uses an Edge LED backlight and ‘local dimming pro’ . That is a combination of local dimming and control of the LCD panel. We counted eight columns with great difficulty, which means that Panasonic will not dim very aggressively. That has pros and cons. The screen is of IPS type.
Here you will find an explanation of the most important picture settings and tips for setting up your TV. With the basic settings we have come to the following settings for this TV.
The best choice starts from the Cinema Pro mode.
Image Image Advanced Settings Image mode: True Cinema
Backlighting: 20-80 *
Heat Color: Warm2
Vibrant Colors: Off
Color remastering: Off
Adaptive Backlight control: Med
Ambient Sensor: Off (On) *
Noise Reduction: Off *
MPEG Remastering: Off *
Resolution Remastering : Middle
Dynamic Range remastering: Off
Intelligent Frame Creation: *
Sharp movements: From
Contrast control: Off / Auto *
Explanation of main settings;
- The True Cinema setting delivers the best start, but is quite dark. No problem if you look at complete darkness, but for most people it will not hurt to bring the Backlighting to 40 and in a typical living room even to 60.
- The light sensor can possibly activate, then put the backlight certainly at 80.
- Noise Reduction and MPEG remastering can best be activated if you start from a bad source (old DVDs or low quality YouTube).
- Intelligent Frame Creation: Off for purists, but the Middle stand gave a lot of extra detail, and smooth images without obvious artefacts.
- Advanced, Contrast control can be set to Auto for a slight boost in contrast.
- Search in Picture, Picture settings, 16: 9 picture scan and set it ‘off’. This prevents the device from hiding a part of the image edge.
- For a slightly more edited image, but still very true to nature, select the Cinema setting. Set ‘Warmte Kleur’ to Warm2, and take into account the above recommendations.
General image and image processing
Where the similar model was equipped with the HCX2 image processor last year, the 2018 model has to do with the HCX processor . But the difference is hardly noticeable, and the image processing shows the same strengths and weaknesses. In this way it easily detects the most common film and video frame rates, and ensures excellent deinterlacing. The noise reduction for random and compression noise is fine, although he has a bit more trouble with the latter. Upscaling he does with great detail and finesse. By activating ‘remastering resolution’ you get a tiny bit of extra detail, but in our opinion that would have been a bit stronger.
This television has a good motion sharpness. He only loses a minimum of detail, there is a very small blurry double edge visible around fast moving objects. Where ‘Sharp movements’ caused undesirable effects last year, this is much less the case this year. Whoever activates this, loses a little bit of brightness, easy to compensate by setting the ‘backlight’ slightly higher. Whether you gain detail depends on image to image. In some cases, a little more detail was visible, in others less. Those who want to play safely leave it out, but you can certainly try it out. ‘Intelligent Frame Creation’ creates very beautiful, smooth images, and the ‘middle’ position seemed a good compromise, although the maximum setting is surprisingly good.
The IPS panel has a very weak contrast and with ‘Adaptive Backlight control’ we hardly get a 637: 1 contrast. So you let that be activated, in which case the contrast rises to about 1,000: 1 and with the maximum setting even to 1,700: 1. These are still not top values, but they do comply. As with the 2017 model, the local dimming is very limited, we could hardly even see the 8 columns. This means that you almost never have undesirable side effects, such as visible column boundaries or clear pumping of the brightness. In some transitions to dark scenes you could see the image become a bit darker. But because we do not recommend this television to watch in the event of obfuscation, the chances of this being seen are very limited.
The True Cinema mode is very well calibrated. High scores in color range and color reproduction with excellent skin tones provide a particularly pleasant viewing experience. The gray scale is generally slightly cool (tends to be a bit blue), but that is hardly visible. The gamma value is quite high (2.35) so that the midtones are somewhat dark. Since we recommend to look at ambient light, you can choose to set the gamma to 2.2
The screen gets a peak luminance of about 427 nits (on a 10% window) in the True Cinema HDR fashion. That is somewhat less than the 500 nits that we prefer to set as a minimum value for visible HDR effects. But with a completely white screen the meter rises to 474 nits. That is undoubtedly due to the local dimming approach of the Panasonic. The values are in line with the performance of the 2017 model. That is different for the color range which is considerably smaller than last year. With 63% Rec.2020 and 85% DCI-P3 it is still at the same level as the competitors.
The calibration is good, but shows around 15% brightness a small dip in the EOTF that may cause a slight color band effect. However, we could not detect any visible errors, nor in gray or color gradients, so the chance of visible problems is very small. The brightness curve neatly follows the desired gradient to about 150 nits, after which it rolls off and shows all white detail to about 1500 nits.
Those bright accents are clearly darker than required, but the image remains sufficiently sparkling. At the settings you can tinker with the ‘HDR clarity’ if you want the image to be more intense.
Reflections and viewing angles
The screen only reflects reflections, but the viewing angle is pretty good.
In ordinary picture modes (dynamic, standard, natural, film) we measure a layer of 103 ms, which is too much for decent gaming. In the game mode (to be found in the image menu, options) the lag drops to 17.6 ms which is an excellent result.
Panasonic TX-49FX780 – Audio quality
Of this top-of-the-line model we did have a good sound performance expected, but unfortunately the result is a bit disappointing. Dialogues are excellent, but for everything that sounds musical and / or impressive, the quality is rather weak. The heavy design does not hide strong loudspeakers, and certainly no decent bass. As soon as you turn the volume open, you will hear the bass just cut away, or in some cases even a little late, which results in a very messy sound. The ‘music’ preset exacerbates that effect. So do not expect any musical performances or impressive soundtracks on this TV.
For the lay-measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. To analyze any HDR problems, we use an HDFury Vertex.
Panasonic TX-49FX780 – Conclusion
The Panasonic FX780 series represents good performance as a versatile family television. The contrast of the IPS panel is limited, but Panasonic’s local dimming technique pulls it to a more than decent level, without any real disadvantages. The HDR display is good, but with a brightness and color range that is only sufficient. His real weakness is sound quality, which is ok for just watching television, but leaves points for film and music.
The TX-49FX780 with its excellent image quality can safely serve for the occasional film, and thanks to good motion sharpness, it is also a great choice for sports and games. The wide viewing angle is an advantage if you look at a lot at the same time. My Home Screen 3 is a more modern and beautiful improvement of the smart TV environment. The design is particularly beautiful and well finished. The award puts him in the category of the Samsung NU8000 and Sony XF85 series, and they score slightly better, especially for HDR playback. However, depending on possible discounts, the Panasonic is a good alternative.