An OLED TV with picture quality worthy of a studio monitor? The Panasonic TX-55HZW2004 sets the bar very high for itself. Also in the audio field by the way, the device is equipped with upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers. We test the TV for cinephiles.
Note; this review is of the Dutch model. In Belgium this model is called the TX-55HZ2000.
Panasonic TX-55HZW2004 – specifications
- What: Ultra HD OLED TV
- Screen size: 55 inch (139 cm), flat  Connections: 4x HDMI (4x v2.0, eARC, ALLM), 1x component video, 1x composite video, 1x stereo cinch, 1x optical digital out, 3x USB (1x 3.0), 1x headphones (or subwoofer), 3x antenna, Bluetooth
- Extras: HDR10, HDR10 +, Dolby Vision, HLG, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, My Home Screen 5.0, USB / DLNA media player, dual DVB-T2 / C / S2, dual CI + slot, HCX Pro processor
- Dimensions: 1,225 x783 x 310 mm (including base)
- Weight: 33.0 kg (including base)
- Consumption: 114 / 0.5 watt (Energy label A)
- List price: 2,999 euro
A complete overview of all Panasonic OLED models with their specifications can be found in the Panasonic 2020 OLED TV line-up .
Panasonic TX-55HZW2004 – Design
Panasonic has a design philosophy that puts sobriety first. Despite its status as a top model, this OLED TV does not really catch the eye. The typical fine frame of an OLED screen is finished in black, just like the rest of the device.Front view
The speaker bar at the bottom and the speakers at the top of the device have a metal, perforated grille.
The base plate is an enormously heavy piece (6.5 kg) and ensures a sturdy and safe installation. At the rear you can let the cables run through the base and cover with a removable plate. It’s a bit limited as cable management, but it works.
Panasonic TX-55HZW2004 – Connections
Panasonic, like a number of other manufacturers, still opts for HDMI 2.0 connections. The device offers four (two on the side, two on the back). They deliver the full HDMI2.0 bandwidth for the best Ultra HD HDR images. The only HDMI 2.1 features are ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and eARC.
The device also has three USB connections, a component video input with stereo cinch, and an optical digital Exit. You can use the headphone connection to connect a subwoofer to the TV. There is Bluetooth for wireless headphones and of course there is wired and wireless network.
Some of the connections point to the back and can make wall mounting difficult.
Panasonic TX-55HZW2004 – Ease of use and smart TV
Like the HXW944 that we previously tested is the HZW2004 equipped with My Home Screen 5.0? The installation is very simple and self-explanatory
The start screen of version 5.0 has been simplified. You will still see a number of tiles at the bottom of the screen, but there are no more rows of tiles that you have to reach with the arrow keys, everything is now in one row. Instead, some tiles (like Netflix or YouTube) now show a second bar above them as soon as you select the tile. Recommendations will then appear in it. We already know this approach from Samsung and LG, it is probably no coincidence that all manufacturers are moving in the same direction.
By clicking down on an icon you can adjust the order or remove an icon. You can add icons by “pinning” them via the option button when the app or input is selected. Panasonic has saved the useful categories Devices, Apps and Live TV, where you can find everything that is not pinned to the Home screen. An icon has now also been added to go to the settings from the Home screen, but we think it is much easier to just use the button on the remote control. My Home Screen works very smoothly, and intuitively.
The menu with settings is very long, and that remains something we think a better organization would make it easier to understand. Anyone who has to look for some kind of setting will sometimes get lost.
The TX-55HZW2004 comes with the luxury remote which is completely made of metal. It is unchanged from last year. The metal keys are easy to press. At the top right there is a button to illuminate the remote. Unfortunately, not all buttons are illuminated, including the play block and the Netflix button remain dark.
Two useful tips are the ‘My App’ button and the ‘Picture’ button. . My App is at the bottom left, you can assign that button yourself to an app of your choice in the app store, for example YouTube. The “Picture” button is located at the top left next to the on / off button. You can quickly switch between image modes via this button. In addition, you can configure via the menus (Menu, Picture, Settings Button ‘Picture’) which picture modes appear in the list.
The HZW2004 has a dual TV tuner for digital TV (DVB-T2 / C / S2) and a double CI + slot. So you can watch TV and record another channel at the same time. You can cast YouTube and Netflix to the TV.
The built-in media player rejects all our Dolby Vision samples and does not play DTS soundtracks. However, it is also very complete in both video (with subtitles) and audio level. Unfortunately, the audio player only reads tag information from MP3 files.
Panasonic TX-55HZW2004 – Image Processing
The HCX Pro image processor takes care of all image processing on this model. We already know this processor from last year where it achieved very good performances. No surprise, then, that we immediately recognize that performance in this new model. The upscaling is excellent and the picture is very soft. Those looking for a little more sharpness can safely increase the “Sharpness” setting to 40-60 and activate “resolution remaster”.
The noise suppression works well for random noise. Compression noise (visible as light blocking) can also be dealt with properly, but in the “minimum” setting we find the effect just a bit weak. You can opt for “Middle” for low-quality sources. Still a very strong point is the performance with very dark, low quality images such as our Game of Thrones test scene. The TX-55HZW2004 has very good control over the banding effects, and the flickering of the torches does not cause annoying flickering in the darkest parts of the image. In that respect, the Panasonic still has no equal.
The new features in this processor are the addition of an improved Black Frame Insertion (BFI) technology (Smooth Motion Drive Pro), Dolby Vision IQ and Filmmaker mode with Intelligent Sensing. The last two features mean that Panasonic takes the ambient light into account for all your content, including Dolby Vision or HDR10 for example.
The option “Insert black frame” is adjustable in four steps. Even in the minimum position, you can already see better motion sharpness, with only a limited reduction in brightness and without visible flickering. The higher settings cost a bit more brightness, but still remain almost perfectly free of visible flicker. The best compromise seems to us to be the Minimum setting, although we still advise against this in HDR because of the reduction in brightness.
Intelligent Frame Creation provides very nice, smooth images and picks up very quickly and correctly on fast pan images. Again we recommend the Minimum setting, unless you really like the smoothest images, in which case you can go up to Maximum, although a small image artifact here and there is not excluded.
Here you will find an explanation of the most important picture settings and tips for setting up your TV.
|Picture mode: True Cinema
|Ambient Sensor: On
Noise Reduction: Min
MPEG Remaster: Min
Resolution Remaster: Mid
Dynamic Range Remaster: Off
Intelligent Frame Creation: Minimum
Sharp Motion: Off
Insert Black Frame: Minimum
|Contrast Control: Off / Auto
Gamma: 2.4 / 2.2 Image Settings
Aspect Ratio: 16: 9 Image Scan: From
Panasonic TX-55HZW2004 – Image quality
Just like the 2019 GZ2000, the HZW2004 is equipped with ‘OLED Professional Edition’ panel. These are standard OLED panels of which Panasonic has improved the cooling. The panel can thus achieve a higher peak brightness. You will mainly notice the results in HDR display. The OLED screen has an exceptionally good uniformity, in both dark and bright images.
The HZW2004 no longer uses THX certification, but the performance is certainly not less. The device remains the absolute leader if you want the most accurate color reproduction. It is best to choose the “True Cinema” setting. It is relatively dark, so for more general use, increase the “Illuminance” to 70 and activate the ambient sensor. Thanks to ‘Intelligent Sensing’ the TV then adjusts the picture based on the ambient light.
The gray scale is perfectly neutral, but the relatively high gamma value can hide a little black detail, even if it is there. solid. Here too you can switch the gamma value to 2.2 for more general use. In that case, all black detail is effortlessly visible. There is really nothing to say about the color reproduction, except that it flirts with absolute perfection. With error values generally around 1, the HZW2004 is indeed at the level of a studio monitor.
Panasonic TX-55HZW2004 – HDR
Panasonic is, together with Philips, one of the few manufacturers that offers HDR10, HLG, HD10 + and Dolby Support vision. So don’t worry about the standard of your HDR equipment.
The “Professional Edition” OLED panel can also present a very good brightness. With a peak performance of 1008 nits on a 10% window and a stable result at approximately 930 nits, the Panasonic is well above the competition (around 20%). That lead shrinks as we make a larger part of the screen white, but it remains visible. On a completely white surface it still achieves 150 nits, which is more in line with what we see with other manufacturers.
The device has an excellent color range of 97% DCI-P3 and 72% Rec. 2020. The color calibration is also excellent in HDR, the Panasonic resolutely takes the top spot in that area.
The TX-55HZW2004 perfectly shows all white detail, and respects the metadata. The tone mapping is excellent and perfectly follows the desired curve, so that images retain their original atmosphere. The color reproduction is also very good in HDR. If we want to give the HZW2004 a clear plus point somewhere, it is for the display of light accents. That extra brightness makes the glare in the image really stand out.
In addition to Dolby Vision IQ, you can also have HDR10 and HDR10 + react to the light sensor. The impact is clear and never bothered. A second option to adjust the HDR display is to activate the “Dynamic HDR Effect” setting. This performs a real-time analysis of the image and optimizes tone mapping. In most cases, however, we hardly saw any change in the picture.
Panasonic TX-55HZW2004 – Gaming, Reflections and Viewing Angles
The viewing angle on OLED screens is excellent and reflections are reasonably well controlled. In the True Cinema image mode, the input lag is 124 ms, which is a lot. In game mode it drops to 21.8 ms, a very good result even for demanding gamers.
Panasonic TX-55HZW2004 – Sound quality
The HZW2004 is equipped with the same audio system as the 2019 GZW2004. That means a particularly powerful 140W audio equipment, with two up firing speakers at the back, at the top of the screen. During installation (or afterwards via the menu) you set ‘Space Tune’ settings, where you indicate how the TV is set up.
For Atmos tracks, the HZW2004 delivers excellent results, with quite a few spaciousness and sufficient impression that height information is also present. That effect is rarely really pronounced, but it is there. The TV can play very loudly, even uncomfortably loud. So be careful with the volume knob.
For music, the sound is very good, and it seems to us that Panasonic has addressed some of the problems we experienced on the GZW2004 last year. There is no more delay on the volume knob, and although higher volumes still have some influence on the timbre, the effect is less pronounced. The HZW2004 is therefore more pleasant to listen to, although it remains a bit sharply tuned. Those who wish can adjust this via the equalizer. You also get plenty of options for adjusting the tone. For example, with the “Sound Field Creation” setting, you can give the sound a different spatiality, that of a studio or a movie theater, for example. If you want to give the bass an extra boost, you can connect a subwoofer to the headphone output.
We use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter for the lag measurement. 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. We use an HDFury Vertex to analyze any HDR problems.
Panasonic TX-55HZW2004 – Conclusion
The TX-55HZW2004 is a slightly improved 2019 GZW2004 Panasonic put it on the press presentation not even under chairs or sofas. But that is absolutely no problem in this case. Just like last year, the HZW2004 delivers reference performances, and remains a real winner even compared to the other newcomers. That is precisely why it is a pity that Panasonic did not give this TV HDMI 2.1 connections, which would probably have given it a 10.
Image quality, that is the strong side of the TX-55HZW2004. The HCX Pro image processor delivers excellent performance, and the introduction of Smooth Motion Drive Pro now also takes motion sharpness to a new level. The “Professional edition” OLED panel delivers the best brightness among OLED devices, and Panasonic shows all white and black detail, also in HDR. Dolby Vision IQ and Intelligent Sensing provide customized display of all content based on ambient light, both in SDR and HDR. The color reproduction is worthy of a studio monitor. The HZW2004 also solves the main audio problems of its predecessor, allowing it to turn out stronger with its powerful audio setup. My Home Screen 5.0, a double TV tuner and double CI slot make the device a very complete package. The price, well, those looking for a reference should not pay attention to that.