The TX-55GZW954 (GZW954 series) is the entry-level model for those who want a Panasonic oled TV. Now that Panasonic also supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 +, and with the continued intention to deliver true-to-life images, this oled TV seems to be a particularly good choice for film fans. We are testing that.
Note; this review is of the Dutch model. In Belgium this model is called the TX-GZ950 .
Panasonic TX-55GZW954 – 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: 1,228 x 774 x 300 mm (incl. Base)
- Weight: 28.5 kg (incl. Base)
- Consumption: 117 / 0.5 watt (Energy rating B)
- List price: 1.999 euros
Panasonic TX-55GZW954 – design
Panasonic has “Less is Perfection” as its design motto, so you don’t have to look for artful frills on this television. The design of the FZW804 (last year’s OLED entry model) was fully adopted for the GZW954 series. The device is finished in black, the metal border around the screen bends to the back where it merges seamlessly.
On the back, the housing of the electronics and connections was given a light texture, reminiscent of a camera grip.  The central matte black foot of the GZW954 is quite heavy, but it also ensures a solid set-up. Unfortunately, it is not a swivel base, that would have been a particularly pleasant surprise.
Four HDMI connections are available; two on the side and two at the back. They are all suitable for Ultra HD HDR and 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 of the GZW954 series are also 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 can activate that function via the menu.
A removable panel hides all connections, but since there are only two HDMI connections on the side, many users will not option. All connections at the back also point to the wall, so pay attention to wall mounting.
Panasonic TX-55GZW954 – ease of use
Installation is a piece of cake, you go through the usual choices for country, language, internet connection and channel setting.
The remote control of the GZW954 is almost identical to that of GXW804 / GX830 . Only the finish on the top differs, it is now in brushed metal color instead of black. The remote fits well in the hand.
A handy tip is the picture mode button on the top, right next to the on / off button. 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 already has its own key on the remote. At the bottom left you will find the ‘My App’ button which you can 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 Netlfix, 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 on the GZW954- series 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-55GZW954 – Image quality
The ‘OLED Professional Edition’ panel adapted by Panasonic is reserved for the GZ2000, which will be published later this year. This version is equipped with a standard 2019 OLED panel.
In our article about the professional calibration of a TV you can read all about the possibilities to use a professional to achieve the best image settings. 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 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 Range Remaster : 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 Panasonic HCX Pro image processor builds on the excellent results of last year. He ensures good deinterlacing at the most used video and film frame rates, which makes jagged edges rather 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 GZW954 series also delivers excellent upscaling results. Those who want to give the image some extra sharpness can 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 opt for “Middle” at least. You can also bring out extra detail using “Insert Option / Black Frame,” but the image will flicker slightly. We continue to find it a moderate solution in many cases, the flicker remains visible.
The new HCX Pro processor delivers fantastic color reproduction. In fact, this screen came straight out of the box with the performance of a studio monitor. You use the THX Cinema setting for this. An average color error of 0.72 and gray scale error of 0.57 are invisible even to a professional. Each hue is accurately represented over the full color range.
Our only comment is that the darkest hues are a little too dark so that black detail seems to be lost, but that is not the case. 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. Moreover, the darkest shades are also better aligned, so that you see some extra black detail. Truly a fantastic achievement, and of course intense enjoyment. THX Bright or Cinema are alternatives in a lot of ambient light, just like Professional 1.
The Panasonic TX-55GZW954 (GZW954) supports HDR10, HLG, HDR10 + and Dolby Vision. So no worries if your TV does support the correct HDR format .
With a peak luminance of 805 nits on a 10% window, this Panasonic is at the same height as its predecessor. He also holds that maximum for a relatively long time. A completely white screen clocked out at 164 nits. Typical OLED values, but enough to reach the top of the OLED platoon.
Panasonic also demonstrates its mastery in HDR. Switch to THX Cinema for the best picture result. The tonemapping is excellent, the brightness curve perfectly follows the desired course to about 200 nits, after which the curve rolls gently to the maximum. The metadata is also taken into account, so that you always see all the white detail, up to a maximum of 4,000 nits.
The color reproduction is fantastic, and scores top results in all our measurements. In HDR we also consider the Panasonic as a real reference. Anyone who allows the TV to tinker a little with the images can get a little better white detail and a little more color in clear scenes. To do this, activate the setting “Dynamic HDR Effect” in “HDR Brightness”. The Panasonic itself then analyzes the entire image and performs a tonemapping that is adapted to each image.
In Dolby Vision you choose Dolby Vision Dark as a reference, also with great results here.
Reflections and viewing angles
The viewing angle is excellent, thanks to the OLED screen, and reflections are also well controlled.
In the normal image modes we measure a lag of 123 ms, which is too much for decent gaming. In lag game mode the lag drops to 21.8 ms which is an excellent result. You can also activate the game mode in any image mode by going to Settings / Options in the settings. You can activate ALLM via the “Setup, HDMI 2.1 Settings, ALLM” menu.
Panasonic TX-55GZW954 – Audio quality
With 50 watts of power, the GZW954 series is well equipped for powerful audio. His strengths are quickly apparent, he performs remarkably well in the midtones, where he is powerful and full, supported by a good bass response. However, the treble is a bit shrill, especially when you turn up the volume. And also the bass reproduction goes a bit at high volume. Metal fans will hear that a bit more often, but with our Rock and classical samples the result remained very good.
For music you better choose the “music” preset, unfortunately there is no “movie” preset. Choose the “User” mode, activate Dolby Atmos Dolby Surround, and Bass Boost for a fun surround experience. The GZW954 plays Atmos soundtracks (if they are in Dolby Digital Plus) and the result was better than we expected. There is a good sense of spaciousness, and we look forward to the GZW2004 that is even better equipped for Atmos. If you want to give bass an extra boost, you can 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-55GZW954 – Conclusion
It is difficult to find a real downside on this Panasonic GZW954 series. Now that we think about it, we would also like eARC and VRR on the HDMI connections. But as we already told earlier those features are only important for gamers or for very specific audio setups. Yes, the sound can be a little better, but at normal volumes it performs well.
Pluses, this TV has it in abundance. Panasonic sets a clear reference with the TX-55GZW954. This is perfect color reproduction, this is almost perfect black detail. The device scores excellent on image processing, even in our most difficult test scenes. The peak brightness of the OLED screen is one of the best in the range. The device offers all HDR formats and is also practically perfectly calibrated in HDR. A fantastic result for the film fan, but also a beautiful screen for every television viewer, and even for gamers thanks to the very low input lag. The nice Smart Home 4.0 smart TV interface, double TV tuner and double CA slot are great extras. The price tag also gets our approval, in short a top TV!