The Panasonic TX-55FZ800 is similar in many ways to its bigger brother (the FZ950). The main difference lies in the audio surface where the FZ800 has to do without the Technics soundbar that belongs to the higher model. But in terms of image quality, the specifications make little difference. We are therefore curious whether this OLED can present the same studio monitor image quality.
Please note; this review is from the Belgian model. In the Netherlands this model is called TX-55FZW804.
Panasonic TX-55FZ800 – specifications
- What: Ultra HD OLED TV
- Screen size: 55 inch (139 cm), flat
- Connections: 4x HDMI ( 1xARC 4x v2.0a), 1x component / composite video, 1x stereo cinch, 1x optical digital out, 3x USB (1x 3.0), 1x headphones, 3x antenna, Bluetooth
- Extras: HDR10 +, HDR10, HLG, WiFi (802.11 ac) built-in, My Home Screen 3.0, USB / DLNA media player, In house streaming, dual DVB-T2 / C / S2, double CI + lock, voice control, HCX processor
- Dimensions: 1,228 x 774 x 300 mm (incl. foot)
- Weight: 27.5 kg (including foot)
- Consumption: 119 / 0.5 watt (Energy Label B)
- List price: 1.999 euro
A complete overview of all Panasonic models in 2018 on the market, you will find in the 2018 Panasonic TV line-up. Here you will also find the complete specifications per model.
Panasonic TX-55FZ800 – design
This OLED-TV is in a typical OLED design, where the slim screen is the eye-catcher, but above all also emits a sober refinement. The entire device is finished in black. The screen has a small metal edge that seamlessly merges into the back.
The housing of the electronics and connections that occupy the bottom half of the screen, just like on the FZ950, received a slight camera trip texture.
central base stands on a matte black footplate that has a lot of weight and ensures a stable setup. Because she barely half a centimeter thick, she is absolutely not on, unless of course you install the TV on a white piece of furniture.
At the connections you do not have to surrender compared to the higher model. On the side we find two HDMI, one USB, an SD card reader, the three antenna connections, the headphone jack, and the network connection. At the back we find two more HDMI, two times USB, the optical digital output, and the component / composite video input.
The connections at the back are directed towards the wall, which requires extra attention during wall mounting. There is Bluetooth for keyboard / mouse and for wireless headphones. Use HDMI 1-2 for your Ultra HD HDR sources, only those that deliver the required full bandwidth for the best quality. A detachable panel conceals all connections and cable management is provided to guide the cables neatly along the back of the foot.
Panasonic TX-55FZ800 – ease of use
Installing the TV is a matter of minutes. Selecting the language and country, providing a network connection, tuning in and waiting.
Where the FZ950 was delivered with the luxury version of the remote control, in metal with illuminated buttons, the FZ800 equipped with the standard Panasonic remote. The optional remote with touchpad is not included, but since we find it very awkward, that is absolutely no loss.
Personally, we find this remote even a bit more convenient than that luxury version. The rubber keys feel a bit more comfortable, and are easier to find on the touch so that a mistake is less easy. Very handy on this remote is the Picture key at the top left. Use the menus to set which picture modes you can select with this button. That way you do not have to go through all modes (Panasonic offers just 12).
Panasonic TX-55FZ800 – features
Smart TV platform
We find the improvements that Panasonic made a success of the new version of My Home Screen (now v3). The changes seem small, but are excellent chosen, and you hardly seem to lose speed and responsiveness. Only the settings menu may be addressed. It offers an almost endless range of settings, and only the most seasoned TV hobbyist will venture into it. For an average consumer it seems very intimidating, even though there is a line explanation for many institutions.
In the previous version the Home screen took over the complete 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 bottom bar.
The ability to ‘peg’ separate channels, inputs, or apps to the start 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 can now display a search function, live TV channel list, YouTube and TV recordings at the launch bar. . 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 complete 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 this TV a good alternative for those who do not want to watch digital television without a set-top box. 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-55FZ800 – Image quality
The FZ800, like the FZ950, carries the ‘Master HDR OLED’ logo. He uses the same LG Display OLED panel (which is also used by all other competitors) and is equipped with the HCX processor. This means that you may expect identical (and therefore very good) results in terms of image performance.
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.
|Image mode: THX Cinema
Illuminance: 30-65 *
|Ambient Sensor: Off (On) *
Noise Reduction: Off *
MPEG Remastering: Off *
Resolution Remastering : Auto
Dynamic Range remastering: Off
Intelligent Frame Creation: *
Insert option / Black frame: Off *
|Contrast control: Off
Explanation main settings;
- The THX-Cinema and THX-Bright room are the ideal choice for those who do not want image enhancement at all.
- The Professional 1 is almost identical to the THX Cinema preset. It uses a gamma value of 2.2 for a good compromise between looking at darkening and some ambient light.
- With the illuminance at 30 you darken the room lightly, choose 65 for a better experience in ambient light. Or activate the light sensor and then set the illuminance to 70.
- Noise Reduction and MPEG remastering will activate when 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. We still recommend to leave the minimum position activated.
- Do you hate motion interpolation, but if you want something more motion detail, activate option / insert black frame. The image then has a slight flicker.
- 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
The HCX processor quickly and accurately detects the most important film and video frame rates. With most content, serrated edges are therefore very exceptional. In somewhat lesser cases occasional moire is possible, but in practice these cases are rare. The upscaling is very good, especially thanks to its excellent color processing. The chroma-upscale makes all color details visible. Random noise can be eliminated well, compression noise (visible as block formation) remains slightly visible, especially with older source material in lower resolutions. In general, the processor maintains a slightly softer image than most competitors.
OLED screens work with sample and hold, and therefore provide their best sharpening despite a fast response time only if you activate motion interpolation or black frame insertion here for a background). Therefore avoid turning off ‘Intelligent Frame Creation’. The minimum position is good, the average position is even better and provides a lot of detail and smooth camera movements. The maximum mode introduced some image artifacts. If you do not want motion interpolation at all, you can activate ‘insert black box’ via the option menu. That is a Black Frame Insertion technique, which improves the movement sharpness, but also ensures a very light flicker. Judge for yourself if you find it disturbing.
The screen bears the Master OLED label. We already know that oled’s black display is as good as perfect. With this television Panasonic also sets the standard for color rendering. In the THX Cinema preset the average color error is 0.58 (1 is top quality, 3 is considered as a boundary for visible errors). This allows the device to take place effortlessly in a film studio as a reference monitor.
The gray scale is perfectly neutral and delivers the right color temperature, and is set to a 2.4-size range, ideal for home cinema. Those who look at ambient light choose Professional 1, which uses a 2.2 range for slightly lighter midtones. Beautifully visible on the gammacurce is the small bump around 10% brightness. This Panasonic also prints a little bit of black detail. If you want to compensate for this, you can move the Brightness to 1 or 2 (certainly not higher), but you also risk making unwanted noise visible in dark scenes here and there. In view of the accuracy of the calibration, Panasonic seems to explicitly choose to make that shadow detail slightly darker and thus hide any problems.
The Panasonic TX-55FZ800 can also be automatically calibrated using Portrait Displays Calman.
Panasonic is in the HDR10 + camp together with Samsung, so Dolby Vision is not supported on this television. Whether that will become a handicap in the long term remains to be seen, but for the time being there is still no HDR10 + content available while the Dolby Vision offering is growing. HDR10 and HLG are of course supported, and given the excellent performance, the question of which dynamic metadata supports the TV standard is slightly less important.
With a standard peak luminance in a 10% window of 825 nits, the Panasonic is at the clearest OLED models. Like all competitors, he holds that luminance for a long time before moving to about 100 nits over a long period. On a completely white screen the peak is at an excellent 182 nits, and even for a long period it remains around 172 nits. That’s why he scores the best of all OLED models.
Panasonic delivers excellent tonemapping (the operation with which he converts higher brightness to what the screen can show effectively). Up to 200 nits everything is displayed correctly, above this it gently rolls down the brightness to the maximum indicated by the metadata of the content, possibly up to a maximum of 4000 nits. You never lose white detail. If you want to give the image a slight boost in brightness, you can adjust the HDR Brightness setting. There is a car mode that takes into account the light sensor, or you can manually set a fixed boost. The maximum value (15) corresponds to approximately a 25-30% boost in brightness for all values up to 400 nits. Even with the boost activated we saw no image artefacts, a nice result.
The absolute showpiece of this television is the color reproduction. Color range is standard for OLED TVs (97% DCI-P3, 71% Rec2020). The calibration is just like in SDR of reference quality, and can easily serve as a yardstick for the competitors. HDR is therefore a pleasure for the eye of this OLED TV.
Reflections and viewing angles
The viewing angle is excellent, thanks to the OLED screen, and also reflections are well under control
In ordinary picture modes we measure a lay of 108 ms, which is too much for decent gaming. In the game mode the lag drops to 21.6 ms which is an excellent result. You can also activate the game mode in any image mode by going to Picture / Options in the settings.
Panasonic TX-55FZ800 – Audio quality
The Technics soundbar made the FZ950 a great package . A look at the specifications shows that the FZ800 still has a strong 40W music capacity, and you can hear that. A good dose of volume, with excellent voice reproduction, and better than average music performances. Although it has to be said, he lacks the finesse and spacious bass reproduction of his bigger brother. You are easily tempted to open the volume knob further, and then it sometimes sounds a bit messy. But for most of your television needs, the sound is fine, even very good.
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-55FZ800 – Conclusion
What appeared to be already on paper is confirmed in our tests. The FZ800 and FZ950 score as well as the same. Only on audio face should the cheaper model make the thumbs, but as far as image is concerned, you do not have to give anything. The Panasonic TX-55FZ800 should set it without Dolby Vision and the Panasonic prints a minimum of black detail. But with that the weak points are listed.
The Panasonic TX-55FZ800 is an OLED television with fantastic picture quality. The HCX processor delivers excellent performance with clever upscaling and perfect color detail. Thanks to a calibration of reference level, the image is excellent with lifelike colors, intense contrast and beautiful HDR performance. The price is still too high for OLED TVs of ‘entry models’, but we can say that those who want to buy OLED get more and reasonably priced options. The current price of this model is even sharp, especially if you look at the performance.