Reviews

Review: Panasonic TX-65MZW2004 (MZW2004-series) OLED TV

Review: Panasonic TX-65MZW2004 (MZW2004-serie) OLED TV - The Panasonic TX-65MZW2004 resembles its predecessor. The TV is based on the same processor.
5/5 - (1 vote)

For several reasons, the Panasonic TX-65MZW2004 (in some countries as the TX-65MZ2000) catches the eye. It uses the new OLED panel with a microlens array so that you can expect spectacular brightness. In addition, there is extensive attention to good audio, thanks to a built-in speaker array tuned by Technics. Throw in Panasonic’s eye for image quality and a focus on gaming performance, and we’ve got plenty of reasons to test this one.

Panasonic TX-65MZW2004 – specifications

What Ultra HD 4K 120 Hz WOLED TV
Screen Format 65 inches (164 cm), flat
Connections 4x HDMI (2x v2.1 40 Gbps, 2x v2.0 18 Gbps, ARC/eARC, ALLM, 4K120 HFR, VRR), 3x USB, 1x composite video + stereo cinch in, 1x optical digital out, 1x headphone/subwoofer, 3x antenna, 1x Ethernet, Bluetooth
Extras HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+ Adaptive, Dolby Atmos, Built-in WiFi, My Home Screen 8, USB/DLNA media player, dual DVB-T2/C/S2, dual CI+ slot, HCX Pro AI Processor
Dimensions 1448 x 910 x 350 mm (incl. base)
Weight 30.5 kg (incl. base)
Consumption SDR 112 W (W) / HDR 171 W (W)
MSRP 4,299 euros

Panasonic TX-65MZW2004 – Design

The MZW2004 seems to be a carbon copy of the LZW2004. The sober, black interior gives the device a timeless appearance. Viewed from the front, the speaker bar under the screen stands out, and if you look around the screen, you will see even more speakers.

The device is seven centimeters deep, not over the entire surface, but still over the largest part. This is necessary to accommodate the upward and side-firing speakers hidden behind perforated metal grilles.

In short, we can’t call the device slim, but rather stout even. But the finish is top-notch, and if you only look at the front, you will see an elegant OLED TV that stands on a beautiful (black, of course) metal base. The setup is stable, and you can rotate the screen with a gentle touch.

Panasonic TX-65MZW2004 – Connections

Those similarities will prove to be a common thread. The connections to the MZW2004 are unchanged from last year. There are two HDMI 2.1 connections with 40Gbps bandwidth, ALLM, eARC, VRR, and 4K120 HFR. Two HDMI 2.0 connections complete the typical complement of four.

The other connections are three USB ports, a composite video input with stereo cinch, an optical digital output, and headphones. If you want to connect a subwoofer, use the headphone connection that you switch to that function via the menus. Ethernet, WiFi Bluetooth are of course, also available. The connections are all directed to the rear or the side.

Ease of use and smart TV

Panasonic, meanwhile, has Android TV and Fire TV on some models in its lineup, but the top OLED models still use My Home Screen, the smart TV system developed in-house. And we are quite happy with that. My Home Screen, meanwhile, is the only interface that doesn’t fill the entire screen and overwhelms you with recommendations and especially sponsored content. Press the Home key, and a ribbon of tiles appears at the bottom of the screen for your favorite apps, external devices, and even live TV channels. You can determine them all yourself and adjust the order of them.

The recommendations only appear when you select the tile of a streaming service if the service supports it. The minimal approach on the Home screen has the advantage that the interface works smoothly. Whatever you do, browse the apps or adjust a setting in the menu; every click has an immediate effect.

Speaking of settings, the menu key brings up a ribbon at the bottom of the screen where you can directly adjust many settings without going through the main menu. Moreover, you can also personalize that list by hiding or swapping certain tiles. If you have to be on the main menu, keep your head there. Panasonic offers an enormous amount of options for adjusting image and sound. That is, of course, an asset for the enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to that unique approach. The app offering is still lagging behind the competitors. For example, HBO Max and Viaplay are missing. There is a good range of local streaming services for the Netherlands, but Belgium comes off badly; neither Streamz, VTM Go, nor VRT Max can be found.

Remote control

The remote control is also the same as last year. It is a fairly large model with a rounded design that fits comfortably in the hand. The keystroke is perfect, you don’t have to press too hard, and there is a clear click. The contrast with more modern remotes, like those from Samsung or Sony, is very large. Covering the entire surface with your thumb without moving your hand is impossible. But the layout is well thought out, and the keys are well labeled, making it very intuitive.

The Panasonic remote control also has a few very useful options. With the shortcuts for streaming services, a key also takes you directly to the overview of all apps. So you don’t have to pin every app to the Home screen. The ‘Picture’ button at the top lets you quickly switch between picture modes. You choose which picture modes appear in the list via the menu. Finally, there is the ‘My App’ button that you can link to an app of your choice.

Functions

The LZW2004 has a double 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 is complete in terms of video (with subtitles) and audio. Remember that the TV does not support DTS soundtracks, so you cannot send them via eARC.

You will find’ My Scenery on the far left of the Home screen.’ This gives the TV a decorative function. You can choose from several illustrations or animations or use your content from USB storage. Those who want a soothing atmosphere at home can even choose special Dolby Atmos tracks, such as “Stream,” “Rain,” or “Wave,” together with accompanying images.

Panasonic TX-65MZW2004 – Image processing

The same processor is still under the hood so you can expect a similar performance to last year. As always, Panasonic is very careful with image processing. Effects are often very subtle, but this prevents image processing from suddenly going awry. Deinterlacing and detection of film and video frame rates are fine. The upscaling works in detail but delivers a very soft image. We found it no problem at all to increase sharpness to 30. It would be best to consider ‘Resolution Remastering’; it accentuates very fine detail. Random noise is good for the processor to eliminate, but compression noise (blocking) is more difficult. Set MPEG noise reduction to the ‘Middle’ position for good results. Unfortunately, Panasonic continues to struggle with color bands in gradations. The processor does not get rid of that, neither the light nor the heavy cases. This is painfully visible in our dark Game of Thrones scene, but Panasonic is still partly saved by its excellent control over dark nuances.

The processor can use the light sensor to adjust image brightness and color temperature. We do not recommend the latter, although it must be said that we certainly did not find the result bad.

Fast action scenes or sports retain a lot of detail. Moving objects have a small blurred edge, and the motion sharpness is excellent. Anyone hoping to see more detail by activating ‘Insert black frame’ will be disappointed. The Black Frame Insertion (what is BFI ) happens at 60Hz, and hardly delivers anything extra, while the flickering in the image is visible. Leave “Intelligent Frame Creation” at the Minimum setting for beautiful movie images. Those who prefer more smooth images can go all the way to maximum. The processor generally intervenes quickly and keeps very fast camera movements smooth without excessive image errors.

Main settings

Image Image Image
Picture Mode: True Cinema

Illuminance: 30-70
Contrast: 90
Brightness: 0
Color: 50
Tint: 0
Sharpness: 0-30
Warmth Color: Warm2
Color Remaster: Off

Ambient Sensor:
Auto Brightness: On
Auto White Balance: Off
Noise Reduction: Min
MPEG Remaster: Mid
Resolution Remaster: Mib
Dynamic Range Remaster: OffDark Visibility Enhancer: 0Intelligent Frame Creation: Minimum
Accurate IFC: On
Insert Black Frame: Off
Contrast Control: Off/Auto
Gamma: BT.1886 / 2.4 / 2.2 Picture Settings Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Image Scan: Off

The color reproduction is perfect; the measurement errors fluctuate around 1, which is good enough for a studio monitor. The Filmmaker Mode is quite dark; we found it more convenient to raise the ‘Illuminance’ to top ’70’, possibly using the light sensor if you regularly look in a dark room. Or use different image modes based on the Filmmaker Mode or our settings; with True Cinema and Cinema, you have excellent starting points.

Panasonic TX-65MZW2004 – HDR

Peak brightness is a great asset of the ‘Master OLED Ultimate panel. That achieves 1,498 nits on the 10% window and 218 on the completely white field. Those are fantastic results, but those who had hoped that Panasonic would be able to surpass the LG G3 have to be disappointed. The devices achieve the same results broadly, except for the 25% window, where the Panasonic is clearly more generous with light than the G3 (840 vs 680 nits). Again, it deserves to be mentioned that even the new generation of QD-OLEDs has to let these devices go ahead. Only on the completely white screen is the new S95C still brighter (270 nits).

The color range remains within the typical OLED results, 96% P3 and 70% Rec.2020. But the most important thing is what Panasonic does with this solid brightness and wide color range. In any case, it supports all HDR formats, from Dolby Vision IQ to HDR10 + Adaptive, so you are guaranteed to see the best version.

We select the HDR Filmmaker Mode, which turns out to be excellently calibrated, just like the SDR version. The dark beach scene from House of Dragons and other dark tests show a lot of shadow nuances. Also, on the bright side, much white detail is preserved. The processor respects HDR10 metadata and barely drops any white detail, even in bright scenes. Panasonic activates the “Dynamic HDR effect” even in Filmmaker mode, and while you should turn it off for the most accurate experience, we tend to leave it on. With this, the TV not only extracts some extra color from the brightest shades, it also accentuates some highlights very nicely. This makes the HDR experience even more intense. In short, the HDR display is very clever and shows HDR from its best side.

Gaming, Reflections, and viewing angles

The layer of microlenses further improves the wide viewing angle of OLED, and the rosy tint you had at a sharp angle has also disappeared. The screen resists reflections very well, but for the best result, it is recommended to avoid direct incident light.

In addition to accurate film images, Panasonic now also wants to offer gamers a perfect image mode. It’s called, unsurprisingly, True Game mode. That mode delivers images true to the intention and can be calibrated with Calman if desired. Source Based HDR tone mapping disables the tone mapping on the TV so that the game console can perform the correct tone mapping. Via the ‘Game Control Board’, you can check your frame rate and the VRR status and adjust important settings while gaming. The input lag is 6.6ms in 2K120 and 10.6ms in 4K120, so top results. You also support ALLM and VRR, HDMI VRR, AMD FreeSync, and NVIDIA G-Sync. Because the underlying processor is unchanged, the Dolby Vision and 4K120 combination remains impossible. There are only two HDMI 2.1 ports, one used for eARC,

Panasonic TX-65MZW2004 – Sound quality

The Technics audio configuration on the MZW2004 is as important as the new OLED panel. It is the same configuration as last year, with slight tweaks to the signal processing and an improved bass boost. We want to highlight them again because this is not your average audio system. The speaker bar at the bottom hides an array of 16 drivers, already good for 80 watts. Then there are sideways (2x 15 Watt) and upward speakers (2x 15 Watt), and a woofer (20 Watt). Together 160 watts, and you can hear that. With the volume at 30, you already have more than enough power to fill the room.

To use all those speakers optimally, an extensive calibration of the system is provided that you go through during the first installation, but of course, you can also repeat it later. And from then on you can enjoy it. We let some classical music pass by, 2 Cellos, but also put on Metallica (Live), David Gilmour for the beautiful guitar work, and Sinead O’Connor for the enchanting voice. All the music sounded great, and with ‘Creation Sound Field,’ you can, for example, give the music a movie theater or live stage atmosphere. On to the movie, then. The sound is impressive, from Game of Thrones to James Bond (No Time to Die, the bulletproof Aston Martin scene) or some Star Wars. It is tempting to push the volume higher, but then you still hear that the processor is making some adjustments. Not that you need more volume. You’re in the middle of the sound Dolby Atmos tracks give a nice height feeling. We found the new bass booster better for some music; it didn’t seem necessary in the film. But there is, in any case, a spacious, deep bass, which you can also give a push with an external subwoofer.

You can also use the array of speakers in the front to focus the sound in a certain direction. The menu clearly helps you set that up, but the different modes could have been explained better. A look at the manual showed that ‘Aiming’ only sends voices in a certain direction, ‘Place’ sends all sound in a certain direction, and ‘Area’ increases the volume in a larger area. Those functions can be useful, but we continue to find mediocre results. Remember that you don’t have Dolby Atmos when these modes are activated.

Panasonic TX-65MZW2004 – Conclusion

The Panasonic TX-65MZW2004 resembles its predecessor. The TV is based on the same processor, and we noticed that. For example, he still cannot eliminate bands of color visible in soft gradients. And although we are very satisfied with My Home Screen, the lack of Belgian apps is still a pity. The TV also does not support DTS, which would be an asset, given its audio qualities.

The most important innovation is the Master OLED Ultimate panel with microlens technology. This Panasonic thus delivers a peak brightness that leaves the newer QD-OLEDs behind and effortlessly places itself next to the LG G3. Bright colors, deep black, and lots of light require good calibration, and Panasonic continues to provide reference results in that area. We were again impressed by the excellent shadow nuances, and in HDR, you get a lot of white detail and strong colors. Gamers can also enjoy it to the fullest. The HDMI 2.1 connections support all required gamer features, and a new True Game picture mode guarantees the best picture quality. Technics has built an impressive audio configuration around that beautiful image that caresses the ears. Powerful and with deep bass and plenty of surround if necessary, subtle and clear for the softest voices, it can be easily used for music in the living room. It is a serious investment, but you simultaneously get top image and sound.

Pros

  • Stunning peak brightness for OLED
  • Almost perfect viewing angle
  • Reference level calibration in Filmmaker Mode, SDR, and HDR
  • Impressive and powerful audio configuration
  • Ample HDR support
  • Excellent image processing
  • HDMI 2.1 with all gamer features and low input lag
  • My Home Screen works smoothly
Negatives

  • The processor cannot eliminate color bands
  • Lack of local apps (Belgium)
  • No DTS support