For its top-of-the-line 2019 model, Panasonic comes out with a customized OLED panel that should deliver a higher peak brightness. Combined with the HCX Pro Processor you can therefore expect absolute top images. But there is more, a first in the audio field. This Panasonic TX-55GZW2004 OLED TV GZW2004 series television is the first to have built-in upfiring Atmos speakers.
Note; this review is of the Dutch model. In Belgium this model is called the TX-55GZ2000 .
Panasonic TX-55GZW2004 OLED TV – specifications
- What: Ultra HD OLED TV
- Screen size: 55 inch (139 cm), flat  Connections: 4x HDMI (4x v2.0, ALLM, ARC), 1x component / composite video, 1x stereo cinch, 1x optical digital out, 3x USB (1x 3.0), 1x headphone / subwoofer, 3x antenna, Bluetooth
- Extras: Dolby Vision, HDR10 +, HDR10, HLG, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, My Home Screen 4.0, USB / DLNA media player, In-house streaming, double DVB-T2 / C / S2, double CI + slot, voice control, HCX PRO processor
- Dimensions: 1,225 x 783 x 310 mm (incl. Base)
- Weight: 33.0 kg (incl. Base)
- Consumption: 130 / 0.5 watt (Energy rating B)
- List price: 3,500 euros
Panasonic TX-55GZW2004 OLED TV – design
At first glance the TX-55GZW2004 (GZW2004 series) looks a bit ordinary. Certainly compared to the striking design of last year. There, the slanting soundbar provided a clearly recognizable accent. The GZW2004 is certainly not equipped with a less handsome sound solution (more on that), but it is better hidden.
The entire device is finished in black. A dark metal ribbon protects the super-narrow OLED screen from bumps all around. The soundbar is visible at the bottom of the screen, although it doesn’t really stand out thanks to the dark grille. On this model, the rear is finished with a matt finish, without a clear structure. A removable cover hides the foot. But the most striking at the rear are of course the upward-facing built-in speakers. They make the profile of the device a bit thicker, but that is hardly noticeable from the front and even from the side.
This model is also equipped with a large, robust central base plate that is firmly attached to the device. The whole is very solid.
The selection connections of the TX-55GZW2004 are identical to those on the GZW954 . You will find four HDMI connections on the device, two on the side and two at the back. All four are suitable for Ultra HD HDR, deliver the full HDMI 2.0 bandwidth, and ARC. The only HDMI 2.1 feature available is ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode). At the back you will find two USB connections, a component video connection, stereo cinch, and the optical digital output.
On the side are the network connection, three antenna connections, an additional USB connection and the headphone connection. You can also use the latter to connect an external subwoofer, you activate that function via the menu. A removable panel hides all connections, but since there are only two HDMI connections on the side, that will not be an option for many users. All connections at the back point to the wall, so pay attention to wall mounting.
Panasonic TX-55GZW2004 OLED TV – ease of use
The installation of the Panasonic TX-55GZW2004 OLED TV is a piece of cake, you go through the usual choices for country, language, internet connection and channel setting. Additionally you have to go through the “Space Tuning” where you set the setup, distance to the wall, distance to ceiling and eye level. These settings help the device to create the best sound reproduction.
The Panasonic TX-55GZW2004 OLED TV GZW2004 series top model comes with the luxury version of the remote control, unchanged from last year. It is completely made of light metal, including the keys. A light touch is sufficient to press a key. Most of the keys are illuminated, but unfortunately the playback keys and Netflix key are not.
A handy tip is the picture mode key at the top, right next to the on / off key. Via Menu, View, Settings Button “Picture” you can set which picture modes can be selected via this button. That is the fastest way to choose a custom image mode. Netflix has its own key on the remote. At the bottom left you will find the ‘My App’ button that you assign to another favorite app such as YouTube or Rakuten TV in the app store via the ‘Option’ button.
Panasonic TX-40GXW804 – features
Smart TV -platform
My Home Screen 4 is still the same fast, and responsive smart tv environment that we know from last year. The settings menu is the only place where we would like to see some simplification. Panasonic offers a lot of settings and sometimes it is a real search to find something in the menus.
The smart TV environment, on the other hand, is very handy and well-arranged. The Home key displays a list of options at the bottom of the screen, in a bar. Initially you will find an icon here for all inputs, live TV channels and apps. The icons for Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video are also available from the installation. The interface takes up little space on the screen and you can look further undisturbed.
My Home Screen 4 seems to be mainly a small cosmetic upgrade compared to last year. You can still “pin” separate channels, inputs, or apps to the launch bar. With the arrow keys up and down you can bring out other bars. For example for Netflix, YouTube or live TV channels. Via the settings of the start menu (at the bottom of the list), you can determine which items appear, in which order and which item first appears when you press the Home key.
Panasonic offers a full set of tuners (DVB-T2 / C / S2). Moreover, it is a double set of tuners, and there are two CI + slots so that you can make recordings with the aid of a USB hard disk and watch another channel at the same time.
The built-in media player rejects one of our Ultra HD video files and all our Dolby Vision samples. You can play the latter via a compatible Ultra HD Blu-ray player. He does not play DTS soundtracks. Apart from that, it is very complete, also subtitles (srt and sub format) are no problem. The audio player, on the other hand, is very universal and even plays FLAC and ALAC, although it only reads tag information from MP3 files.
Panasonic TX-55GZW2004 – Image quality
The GZW2004 series is different from the other OLED models in the OLED models in the Panasonic line-up, through its ‘OLED Professional Edition’ panel. That is an adjusted 2019 OLED panel, where Panasonic has improved the cooling to achieve a higher brightness, and uses it on other anti-reflection film.
With the basic settings we have come to the settings below for this TV.
|Image mode: THX Cinema
Illuminance: 30-60 *
|Ambient Sensor: Off (On) *
Noise Reduction: Minimum *
MPEG remaster: Minimum *
Resolution Remaster: Auto
Dynamic Remaster range : Off
Intelligent Frame Creation: *
Option / Insert Black Frame: Off *
|Contrast Control: Off
Explanation of main settings;
- The THX Cinema and THX-Bright room is the choice par excellence for those who want absolutely no image enhancement.
- With the illuminance at 30, the screen achieves 100 nits max, which is meant for looking at darkness, choose 60 for a better experience in ambient light. Or activate the light sensor and then set the illuminance to 70.
- Noise Reduction and MPEG remastering is best activated when you start from a poor source (old DVDs or low quality YouTube). For both, we preferred to maintain the “Minimum” position.
- Intelligent Frame Creation: Off for purists, but the Middle position gave a lot of extra detail, and smooth images without obvious artifacts. We recommend that you keep the minimum setting activated.
- If you hate motion interpolation, but you want a little more motion detail, activate the option / insert black frame. The image does have a slight flicker.
- Search in Image, Image settings, 16: 9 image scan and turn this “off”. This way you prevent the device from hiding part of the image border.
- For a slightly more edited image, but still very true to nature, select the Cinema setting. Set “Warm Color” to Warm2, and take the above recommendations into account.
General image properties and image processing
The TX-55GZW2004 is equipped with the same HCX Pro image processor that we already tested in the GZW954. No surprise there, the results are identical. We therefore resume our findings here.
The television provides good deinterlacing at the most commonly used video and film frame rates, jagged edges are exceptional. The noise reduction eliminates random noise well. He can also eliminate compression noise (block formation), although you often have to go to the ‘medium’ position for this. The lowest settings of both settings therefore seem to us no problem to leave activated, unless you really do not want any editing. With images with really poor quality, you better opt for the “medium” mode. In our Game of Thrones test scene, for example, the “medium” stand showed solid results. Banding is lightly concealed, but there is hardly any annoying flicker. Understandably, some detail is lost in the “Maximum” position.
The Panasonic (GZW2004 series) also delivers excellent upscaling results. Those who want to give the image some extra sharpness activate ‘remaster resolution’. The effect is very limited, unless you also increase “Sharpness” to 40-60 for example. We generally don’t recommend that, but it’s an option. OLED screens have a very good sharpness of movement. Keep “Intelligent Frame Creation” at least on “minimum”. You then have the best detail without many adverse consequences of motion interpolation. If you want really smooth images, you should at least choose “Middle”. You can also bring out extra detail using “Insert Option / Black Frame,” but the image will flicker slightly. In many cases we continue to find a moderate solution, the flicker remains visible.
Also on the TX-55GZW2004 you switch to THX Cinema for the most accurate image results. The gray scale and the color reproduction are almost perfect with errors below 1 (level of a studio monitor). All color tones are accurately represented, and skin colors are beautifully natural. The screen has excellent uniformity, and provides excellent black detail.
Please note that the THX Cinema setting is set to 100 nits max, which is explicitly intended for viewing with total darkening. Set the “illuminance” to 60 for a more universally applicable maximum of 200 nits. THX Bright or Cinema are alternatives in a lot of ambient light, just like Professional 1.
The Panasonic TX-55GZW2004 (GZW2004 series) supports HDR10, HLG, HDR10 + and Dolby Vision . You no longer have to make shattering choices in that area. The OLED ‘Professional Edition’ panel is equipped with better cooling by Panasonic. As a result, the OLED material can be controlled more strongly, and that ensures a slightly better peak brightness (Panasonic claims 10%).
This is also apparent from the measurements. The peak luminance on a 10% window reaches 938 nits, which is even 16% more than the GZW954. We also see this improvement on a 2%, 25% and 50% window. Only with a completely white screen (100% window) are the measurements identical (161 nits). With those results, the GZW2004 shoots to the top of the OLED classification. The color range is unchanged, 71% Rec.2020 and 97% DCI-P3.
You can expect a perfectly calibrated image here too. The THX Cinema mode delivers fantastic results in HDR. The required brightness curve is accurately followed to 200 nits, after which the curve rolls gently to the maximum brightness of the screen. Excellent tonemapping keeps all white detail visible up to a maximum of 4,000 nits. In Dolby Vision you choose Dolby Vision Dark as a reference, also here with great results.
In HDR the color reproduction is excellent, just like in SDR, and you can consider this television as a real reference. If you want to get a little extra out of the screen, activate the “Dynamic HDR Effect” setting under “HDR Brightness”. The processor then analyzes the image and adjusts its tone mapping for each image. That way you get a little more white detail and a little more color in clear images.
Is the GZW2004 series oled TV noticeably brighter than competitors? We saw the Panasonic at work alongside a recent Sony AG9 and the difference remains small. This is mainly due to the nature of HDR. The brightness of HDR is “absolute”, in other words as long as the processor does not have to intervene to adjust a brightness higher than what its screen can display, the difference will normally be non-existent. The Panasonic can show an average brightness (over the entire screen) with relatively clear images. Specifically, it is an improvement, but you cannot expect a very big difference.
Reflections and viewing angles
The viewing angle is excellent, thanks to the OLED screen, and reflections are also well controlled. Reflections on an OLED panel still have a very light magenta tint. Not so on the GZW2004 series, which is equipped with an ‘Absolute Black’ filter, which virtually eliminates that light magenta tint.
In ordinary image modes we measure a lag of 123.7 ms, which is too much for decent gaming. In lag game mode, the lag drops to 21.7 ms, an excellent result. You can also activate the game mode in any image mode by going to Settings / Options in the settings. Activate ALLM via the ‘Setup, HDMI 2.1 Settings, ALLM’ menu.
Panasonic TX-55GZW2004 OLED TV – Audio quality
The most striking feature of the TX-55GZW2004 is undoubtedly the choice for an audio solution that also includes upfiring speakers. . They are primarily intended for the reproduction of Atmos tracks, they reflect the sound through the ceiling towards you, so that you also hear sound from above. But Panasonic also uses the speakers to give your music a more spatial experience.
Power is not lacking, the upfiring speakers are good for 20 watts each, and the soundbar below the screen delivers another 100 watts, a total of 140 watts. During the installation you go through the “Space Tune” settings in which you specify how the television is arranged. If desired, you can adjust it later.
Our first stop is of course a whole series of Atmos tracks, where the Panasonic scores well. There is sufficient spaciousness in the experience and there is a clear surround feeling. However, a true “it happens above your head” experience remains rare, regardless of the settings. Much depends of course on your room acoustics, so be sure to experiment with different Space Tune settings. With some soundtracks, such as a piece of Batman vs Superman, a decent bass is missing. We switch to music to ascertain that.
With so much power you can also assume that the Panasonic performs excellently for music, but we have some comments on that. While we are experimenting with the volume, we hear a strange effect. Eventually we listen to a number of songs on volumes 35, 50, 65, and 75. And indeed, as you adjust the volume, the timbre changes remarkably sharply. Sometimes the midtones come out strongly and the bass decreases, sometimes the treble goes into the background. The volume sometimes also works with some delay. Although, as an end user, you obviously don’t play with the volume all the time, we still find this a flaw, especially since the adjustment in timbre is remarkably strong. We hope that a software upgrade can improve this.
With that knowledge we leave the volume knob undisturbed and we listen to our favorite music tracks. Our first experience is that, despite its capacity, it often sounds tiring, and the high tones are, just like with the GZW954 sometimes a bit shrill. For some music such as the Dire Straits the result is good, but we honestly expected better from this device. Rougher work such as Metallica even sounds upset. There are various options for using the speakers, which you can find under “Sound field creation”. “Studio” and “cinema” gave excellent results to our taste, depending on your choice of music of course. With “Direct playback,” the upfiring speakers stay off unless you actually listen to a Dolby Atmos or surround track.
This Panasonic offers you the option to connect a subwoofer to the headphone output. You then switch this to this function in the menu.
We use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter for the lag measurement. We perform all other measurements with a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. We use an HDFury Vertex to analyze possible HDR problems.
Panasonic TX-55GZW2004 OLED TV – Conclusion
The Panasonic TX-55GZW2004 OLED TV (GZW2004 series) leaves us with particularly mixed feelings. The small downside is that VRR and eARC would also be a nice addition to this device, even if the usage scenarios for this are limited. But especially the audio performance is disappointing. That also costs him points, certainly because it is one of the defining features of the device. The powerful sound system creates a nice surround experience, but it often sounds tiring. What we find really unacceptable is the clear audible change in timbre when you adjust the volume.
Regarding image performance, the TX-55GZW2004 inherits all the good things from the GZW954 and that is of course an excellent thing. It delivers the same reference image quality with beautiful black detail, excellent colors and top image processing. He also supports all HDR formats, also perfectly calibrated here. But the GZW2004 is even better with its custom OLED panel. That provides around 15% extra peak luminance, a small but noticeable improvement. In addition, the “Absolute Black” filter suppresses reflections very well and eliminates the light magenta tone in reflections. Images to enjoy, for film fans and gamers alike. Smart Home 4.0, a dual TV tuner and dual CI + slot complete the TX-55GZW2004.