Panasonic prefers its OLED models over its LCD models, and the TX-55MXW954 is the flagship model in its LCD lineup. This TV features a Mini-LED backlight and quantum dots. However, it raises the question of how its performance compares to the OLED models.
Panasonic TX-55MXW954 – Design
If Panasonic gives even its top OLED model a modest design, then it is only logical that its top LCD TV is also not a surprising eye-catcher. Moreover, in profile, it looks a bit blocky because the screen and the housing for the electronics are quite thick.
The finish, on the other hand, is in excellent order. The screen has a fine frame, the back contains woofer modules, and is beautifully finished with a light-grain structure. The main tone is black.
The device does not stand on a swivel base but on two elegant black legs. They are made of metal, not plastic, making the base very stable.
Panasonic TX-55MXW954 – Connections
You can find two HDMI 2.1 connections at the back of the device with a 40Gbps bandwidth, ALLM, eARC, VRR, 4K120 HFR, and two HDMI 2.0 connections. Additionally, there are three USB ports, a composite video input with stereo cinch, an optical digital output, a headphone connection, and Ethernet, WiFi, and Bluetooth connectivity options. You can connect a subwoofer via the headphone connection if you need extra bass. The menu allows you to easily switch between these functions.
Most of the connections point to the side, except for one HDMI 2.0 port and a USB connection that points to the back. These ports are somewhat recessed into the chassis, so if you plan to mount the device on a wall, ensure that these ports don’t complicate the installation process.
Panasonic TX-55MXW954 – Ease of use and smart TV
The TX-55 MXW954 (from the MXW954 series) comes with My Home Screen 8, which is Panasonic’s in-house developed smart TV system. Although Panasonic has launched Google TV and Fire TV this year, they are only available in a limited number of models. My Home Screen remains the most significant smart TV system for Panasonic. There are no differences between this model and the previously tested OLED models (TX-65MZW2004 and TX-42MZW984), so we can largely copy the text.
The TV interface is minimalist, with a row of tiles located at the bottom containing apps, inputs, and/or live TV channels. It is easy to personalize, and once you select a tile, recommendations will appear if the service offers them. In other words, you won’t have to scroll through endless rows of unwanted content, and no sponsored content will pop up every time you press the Home key. This approach makes My Home Screen work very smoothly.
Panasonic offers a wide range of settings, which is great for TV enthusiasts who like to customize their viewing experience. However, it can be overwhelming to navigate through them all. The quick menu is the most important feature for daily use, as it allows easy access to the essentials and appears as a ribbon at the bottom of the screen, just like the Home menu. You can personalize it to make the settings that matter to you more visible.
On the downside, My Home Screen has a limited selection of apps, especially local apps. Panasonic has announced that this may change next year. The situation is better in the Netherlands, where most local apps are available.
The black remote control looks outdated due to its large size and many buttons. However, it is still easy to use, lightweight fits well in the hand, and has a pleasant and clear keystroke. Six app shortcuts are available at the top of the remote, which is the only modern feature. A ‘Picture’ key is also present to easily change picture modes, and you can assign the ‘My App’ key to any app of your choice. The only disadvantage of such a large remote control is that you might need to move your hand to reach some keys, which is not required with smaller remotes.
The TX-55MXW954 (MXW954 series) has a dual TV tuner for digital TV (DVB-T2/C/S2) and a dual 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 is complete in terms of video (with subtitles) and audio. The TV does not support DTS soundtracks, so you cannot forward them via eARC. With ‘My Scenery’, you give the TV a decorative function. You can choose from illustrations or even animations, or you can supply your material via USB storage. There are also animations with accompanying Dolby Atmos tracks.
Panasonic TX-55MXW954 – Image processing
Panasonic’s best LCD TV also has the HCX Processor Pro AI processor, which we already found on the OLED models. The processor can adjust the image for the viewing environment with an AI image mode whose strength you control. However, we prefer the traditional image modes because they offer more certainty. You can leave the light sensor activated. The TV adjusts brightness and color temperature based on the ambient light, although we prefer to disable color temperature adjustment.
Its excellent upscaling, deinterlacing, and subtle noise suppression (also for MPEG compression noise) produces beautiful images, even if the content is of poorer quality. Precisely because the approach is so subtle, we give the image a little extra sharpness detail via the sharpness setting and/or via ‘Resolution Remastering’. Unfortunately, we also see on this model that the processor cannot hide color bands in soft gradients. Even relatively subtle stripes remain visible, and in dark content with low bitrate, the problem is visible.
The LCD panel has decent motion sharpness. We see a fine, faint edge on moving objects. As a result, it hides some minimal detail. Unfortunately, the ‘Insert Black Frame’ option, the Black Frame Insertion (which is BFI ), provides no additional detail and only darkens the image. For the best film experience, we recommend “Intelligent Frame Creation” on the Minimum, which allows you to achieve a reasonably smooth image without additional errors. However, higher settings are also useful for perfectly smooth camera movements, especially for sports. The processor intervenes promptly and correctly, even in the event of rapid action, and hardly creates any image errors.
|Picture Mode: Filmmaker Mode
Adaptive Backlight Control: Medium
Auto Brightness: On
Auto White Balance: Off
Noise Reduction: Min
MPEG Remaster: Medium
Resolution Remaster: Medium
Dynamic Remaster Range: OffDark Visibility enhancer: 0-5Intelligent Frame Creation: Minimum
Accurate IFC: On
Black Frame Insert: Off
Contrast control: Off/Auto
Aspect ratio: 16:9 Image scan: Off
Panasonic TX-55MXW954 – Image quality
The TX-55MXW954 (MXW954 series) has a VA panel and uses a mini LED backlight with local dimming. From the spectrogram,, we can also conclude with certainty that the device uses quantum dots.
The VA panel has a good native contrast. The ANSI measurement is 3,727:1. We activate local dimming and count the zones, and the result is a bit disappointing, 16×8 (128) zones. A number of other devices in this price category are well above this. You cannot perform miracles with that limited number of zones. The ANSI contrast rises to 4,920:1 and can go up to 15,800:1 in easier patterns. However, it is also noticeable that Panasonic seems to activate multiple zones for smaller light accents.
Presumably, it tries to avoid visible zone boundaries, while still giving enough clarity to such an accent. Inevitably, however, this leads to a large, but fortunately relatively soft halo around very bright objects against a dark background. The deep darkness of space is also not black, but rather dark gray. Subtitles did not cause any annoying side effects. In short, we expected better for what must be the top of the LCD range. But with what is there, Panasonic does deliver decent results, although you prefer to view in some ambient light so that that soft halo is not noticeable.
True Cinema or Filmmaker Mode (or for games True Game) are the best choices for accurate images. The calibration is not of the usual Panasonic level. The grayscale has too much blue in dark tones, and on the bright side, there is some excess of red. We notice that some shadow detail is missing, which you can compensate for with the ‘Dark visibility Enhancer’, but do not set it higher than five or you will lose contrast. Despite the small deviations in the grayscale, the color reproduction is very good or even excellent.
Panasonic TX-55MXW954 – HDR
It is reassuring that this model also has ample HDR support. In addition to HDR10 and HLG, there is also HDR10+ Adaptive and Dolby Vision IQ. How much light does the TV get from its mini LEDs? In Filmmaker mode, we measured a peak brightness of 1113 nits on a 10% window and 604 nits on a completely white screen. Like the contrast, that is good, but we had hoped for more. Devices such as the TCL 65C845 or Hisense 65U8KQ are well above this while still in the same price category.
The color range reaches 92% P3 and 73% Rec.2020, which are very good results. The Filmmaker Mode is slightly better calibrated in HDR than in SDR. What I quickly noticed is that it lacks black detail in dark scenes. The “Dark Visibility Enhancer” can also help here. It not only improves the visibility of black shades but also makes color more visible in such scenes.
The processor respects HDR10 metadata to preserve all white detail, even in very clearly mastered images. And despite our reservations about the contrast, Panasonic has managed to use the capabilities of the screen very well. The available brightness is used well, and HDR images retain their intense character excellently with beautiful colors and a lot of depth in the image. It is inevitable that you will have a slight halo in dark images, especially if the contrasts are very extreme, such as with fireworks. But it must be said, the result exceeded our expectations after the somewhat mediocre measurements.
Gaming, Reflections, and Viewing Angles
It is a VA panel, so the usual warning still applies. If you look at the screen from too wide an angle, the contrast drops sharply, making areas easier to see. Color is better preserved.
The new ‘True Game’ image mode, which delivers the most accurate image quality for gamers, is also available on this model. The ‘Game Control Board’ shows the frame rate of the VRR status and provides access to several settings. The input lag is 8.6ms in 2K120 and 17.8ms in 4K120. For PC gamers, in addition to HDMI VRR, there is also support for AMD FreeSync. The device is also NVIDIA G-Sync compatible, evident from the settings and the test, even though it is not mentioned in the specifications. For HDR games, you can disable the tone mapping so that the console can do that work. Unfortunately, the processor cannot combine Dolby Vision and 4K120, which has not changed for several years. Gamers with multiple 4K120 sources who want to use a soundbar should note that eARC/ARC takes up one of the two HDMI 2.1 ports.
Panasonic TX-55MXW954 – Sound quality
The TX-55MXW954 is equipped with 2x 15W speakers and a 20W woofer. It supports Dolby Atmos but not DTS. The results were fine as long as the volume knob remained below half. The sound was pleasant, and we heard a nice bass line. Film fragments had a clear surround effect, especially the Dolby Atmos variants. And although the volume was sufficient, we still wanted to hear whether the TV had anything extra to offer. Unfortunately, the processor intervened clearly and audibly when we asked for too much volume. The bass sounds disappeared, and the sound became shriller and rougher, especially affecting music. We don’t know if connecting a subwoofer would solve that. If you want powerful music and cinema-quality audio with a lot of volume, it is better to choose a soundbar.
Panasonic TX-55MXW954 – Conclusion
We could have already seen it from the price, but it is clear that Panasonic does not put its LCD models on the same level as the OLED models. To get there, the TX-55MXW954 (MXW954 series) would have to have more local dimming segments than the 120 zones it currently has. If anything, that small number limits its contrast performance and possibly its peak brightness. The lack of local apps for Belgium is also starting to weigh heavily. Hopefully, Panasonic will fix that next year.
Are you looking for a TV with excellent brightness, decent contrast, and beautiful colors? A device that does its best work in some ambient light but can handle sports, games, and movies? Then, this Panasonic delivers everything you ask for. The image processing is excellent, and it supports all HDR formats. For gamers, it has the True Game image mode, low input lag, and support for all VRR variants. It is also priced correctly within its line-up. But challengers such as TCL and Hisense offer more contrast and brightness in this price segment.
- Good peak brightness
- Solid contrast
- Extensive HDR support
- Excellent image processing
- HDMI 2.1 with all gamer features and low input lag
- Double TV tuner and double CI+ slot
- My Home Screen works smoothly
- Limited local dimming causes faint halos
- Processor cannot eliminate color bands
- Lack of local apps (Belgium)
- No DTS support