A 65-inch television with OLED screen and sound bar signed by Technics . This is the Panasonic 65 EZ1000, the highest-end of the brand, whose price is 7,000 euros. Presented at CES in Las Vegas in January, we thus tested the Panasonic flagship. And, above all, it marks the path of the technology that the brand will use from now on: OLED screen. Panasonic has always opted for quality screens that are highly appreciated by moviegoers. Famous were - and are - their plasma screens for this reason, and the logical evolution was the OLED. Thanks to the use of LG panels, Panasonic offers us, as we will see, one of the televisions with the best image on the market.
OLED and HDR
Those two acronyms define this new Panasonic EZ1000, in addition to the 65 inches of its screen. OLED stands for Organic Light-Emiting Diode and defines how the screen works. This screen is of Ultra-HD resolution, that is to say 4K or 3,840 x 2,160. Each one of those 8.3 million pixels is an organic diode: it can turn on and show its color (there is a green, red and blue layer) with different intensity, or turn off.
That is precisely its greatest advantage: being able to turn on or off does not require another light source. LED screens of any type do need backlighting, so in dark scenes they never offer the black level of an OLED. Plasma was a different technology but with the same characteristic (its own light in each pixel). This explains why plasma before, and OLEDs now, are the screens of choice for moviegoers . To watch movies in the dark or in dim light, and to appreciate the subtleties of images with maximum contrast. Panasonic had the best plasma screens and now, with its decision for OLED technology, it maintains its policy.
As for HDR, or High Dynamic Range (high dynamic range), it is a standard that concerns brightness. It ensures that the screen will be able to reproduce the images in full brightness and color as the producers left them. Be it a sporting event, a series or a movie, HDR compatibility allows us to see what was recorded at home . The Panasonic EZ1000 supports HDR10 and the new Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) standards, but not Dolby Vision. It's the only thing missing, though it might come with a firmware update (but it's not announced).
As we have pointed out at the beginning, the origin of the EZ1000 panel is an OLED from LG (as is the case with Sony or Loewe). Panasonic has added its own recipes to this panel both in terms of control electronics, management software or passive filtering. And also in the sound it contributes its point of difference, thanks to Technics as we will see.
The screen has a Panasonic's own Absolute Black filter, which absorbs ambient light (reflections). It also eliminates the magenta hue that affects OLED screens in conditions of high ambient light, with high brightness. The EZ1000 is also the first Panasonic for the public to bring image processing to its professional displays . According to the brand, this also allows it to offer a brightness level of practically one hundred percent of the DCI-P3 scale.
Panasonic includes its HCX2 Studio Color image processor in the EZ1000. This processor has a 3D "map" of possible adjustments to always get closer to the ideal of "Delta Zero". That is, for each level of the gray scale (from absolute white to black) the three basic colors are always in balance. No slight red, green or blue dominants. When this is achieved, usually after a professional custom calibration of each screen, the contrast and colors are perfect. Thanks to the HCX2 processor, this television offers reference images that would serve in a post-production studio.
Tools and control
Aside from that proprietary processing capability, the Panasonic EZ1000 has tools to allow for a fine final calibration. It even allows a very advanced user to upload their own calibration mapping to the memory of the HCX2 chip. It is practically unique and shows how Panasonic has thought of advanced users. This OLED TV includes the necessary adjustments for an ISF calibration using CalMAN software. It is also THX and Ultra HD Premium certified , that is, we are facing a television of the highest level.
By the way, this TV also puts an end to certain “fads” . The EZ1000 is a flat screen (goodbye curvatures) and they don't have any 3D support. It is the trend that was pointed out at CES because among the most outstanding novelties it was confirmed that we left these two techniques behind. On close-use gaming monitors, curvature still makes sense, but nothing else.
Regarding the ability of the Panasonic as a Smart TV, we continue with the My Home Screen system (Firefox OS) . Now you can configure favorites for different users, and a quick access button to a specific application from the remote. Logically, this system allows access to 4K HDR content through its media player.
Mention the remote controls, which are two , both metallic. One is simplified and includes a touch pad and microphone to accept spoken commands. It is very simple, with the most common basic functions, although logically everything is accessed by “browsing”. The other, very complete, is excellent. Metallic, with backlighting, well organized, it is the command that a television of more than six thousand euros deserves. It is also possible to download a control App on the mobile.
Very complete connectivity
It's a flat, thin TV - the screen itself is just over 5 millimeters thick. It is something that seems incredible but what these latest OLED panels (LG) have accustomed us to. The lower part is wider (about 4 centimeters) as it contains the electronics, power supply, and input connectors. If we decide to hang it, that would be its depth (42 mm) by 1,452 mm wide and 837 mm high, with a weight of 20 kg. But it has a tripod metal structure support (not too stable) in which the sound bar that we will review is located.
Behind and on the right side, a cover gives way to the connection register . It is a rigid plastic cover, subject to pressure and with an opening for the passage of the cables. In a television of this level we would have liked to find a more elegant cover, held with magnets. And with a more capable or adjustable cable path: if we use all the connections and cables with a good section, they will not fit.
In terms of connections, nothing is missing . IC card slot for payment, for SD, three USB (one 3.0) and four HDMI (all HDCP 2.2 for 4K). Also the antenna inputs (one of each type), the optical digital output and the plug for the Ethernet network. The TV has WiFi anyway, of course. And finally a proprietary dual jack connection for component AV input or composite video. The adapter cable comes in the box in case we need it (increasingly rare). And, of course, it has a headphone output, although it is impractical behind there.
The Technics brand always had a lot of weight in the world of sound and is coming back with new high-end products. It is owned by Panasonic, and technicians in this case have helped develop a specific sound bar for this TV. As we said before, the bar is associated with the foot, which increases the depth of the EZ1000 by about 30 centimeters. A crossbar to the screen acts as a rear support, and the bar is mounted on its front part, on both sides. There is also in the box a small front bracket in case we decide to hang the screen. They call it Dynamic Blade and it is as wide as the screen (140 centimeters).
A good detail is that the loudspeaker or bar is uncoupled from the support: it is mounted on rubber silent blocks. Each half has, from the center outwards (symmetrically) four woofers, a passive radiator for these, two mid-range drivers and a tweeter . We were able to verify this by removing the protective fabric, all with a good fit and quality look. The amplification is in the bar itself, it is 80 Watts in total: two 20 W stages for each channel. Actively, the bass is amplified on the one hand and the mids and highs on the other.
Panasonic 65 EZ1000
|screen||65 inches 4K UHD 3,840 x 2,160 pixels|
|Technology||OLED (LG panel), Panasonic HCX2 processor|
|Sound||Internal DD / DTS decoder, Technics Dynamic Blade bar (14 speakers and 80W total)|
|HDMI connections||4 x HDCP 2.2 (1 ARC)|
|Other connectivity||3 USB (1 is 3.0), Ethernet, Wifi, Bluetooth|
|Tuners||DVB-T2 / DVB-C / DVB-S2 (double)|
|Recording||Via USB, disk or exclusive dedicated memory|
|Antennas||Satellite, Cable, Terrestrial. CI 1.3 slot|
|Weight||20.5 kg (without stand), 27 kg (with stand and speaker)|
|Dimensions||1,452 x 918 x 330 mm (with stand and speaker)|
1,452 x 837 x 42 mm (without stand and speaker)
We can start with our impressions precisely with the sound, which surprised us favorably. As is known, televisions have lost thickness and "mass" as they have also lost sound quality. In particular the low frequencies that, physics obliges, require large speakers. The sound quality of the Panasonic EZ1000 is a step above other televisions.
With music the sound filled the room where we installed it, about 30 square meters. Although it was more for background music than for critical listening, the Panasonic was very satisfactory . The sound was presented in a scene much wider than the speaker, well filling the space around the TV up to several meters across.
Moving on to viewing - and auditioning - programs and movies, the good feelings remained . Dialogue is clearly understood and its sound travels virtually like its protagonists on the screen. The bass capacity is very good for the size of the Dynamic Blade, although there are several octaves left to cover and there is no impact. We did the test of activating an active subwoofer to accompany the bar and the result was much better, especially for action scenes. But the added weight was always appreciated, also with music. Panasonic should include an RCA output so that anyone who wanted could connect a subwoofer. We did it using the same source and a separate processor, but it is easy to include it in the television if you think about it beforehand.
We are not friends with the "sound modes", but in this case they were effective. In our living room the Virtual Surround + simulation was the best option. It gave more weight to the bass and greater amplitude to the scene. And without counterparts: without blurring the voices or adding exaggerated echoes.
Menus and daily use
Comfort in using a television seems very important to us . We refer to how easy it is to find the options that we handle the most, the most common sources. As we have pointed out, Panasonic remains faithful to the Firefox system for all the intelligent part, and we are not exactly “fans”. We precisely have a Panasonic television and we know the My Home Screen system, although in the EZ1000 it is a new version. In general, we cannot say that it is an interface that we like too much (and that we know it).
There are different examples ... The screen-on-screen mode, to watch two programs at the same time, is an application and forces you to go through that menu. Browsing the internet or video services without a keyboard is impractical, even using the touchscreen controller. At least it has Bluetooth and a keyboard can be connected if we make a lot of use of it. Selecting a different source makes us go through the Home menu, left to Devices, and now choose which one we want. There will be all the inputs , including the USB that contain memories with content. The connection to the network was quite rebellious (and we tried cable).
Also, to simply watch live television broadcasts, the system has its small drawbacks. When activating the electronic program guide there are slight delays. And when changing channels we also find slightly longer pauses than we would like. The sensations of use with the remote control in hand, then, are not ideal. But it is fair to admit that these same drawbacks are found in other televisions of this level: it is a pending subject for almost everyone.
Image quality: DTT channels
Just as to evaluate the sound it is best to start by making it difficult for the bar, the same with the image. If we start with music and not dialogues, in image we have to save UHD 4K Blu-ray for last. And start by simply watching normal DTT channels, doing a bit of zapping. It is the litmus test of any modern television , whose high resolution shows the shortcomings of normal broadcasts. Not just because of resolution on non-HD channels, but because of how some programs are produced.
The fact is that the test passed with a high note. Despite seeing a 65-inch screen from just over three meters. The normal programs were perfectly visible and after a while more detail is not missed. OLED technology and Panasonic processing make TV viewable and enjoyable.
The next step is the channels that broadcast in HD within DTT. The jump in quality is very notable, but the failures with irregular production are also more evident. A newscast presents a great studio image, but the story at street level is lamentable. The EZ1000 is like an unforgiving microscope and shows us all of that accurately. In its favor, the Panasonic always tries to show us the best side of any image . It maintains its vivid colors and contrast ... blacks are already appreciated there. And it never gives the pixelated feel that other high-resolution TVs leave with mediocre images. Images are always presented smoothly.
Image quality: Blu-ray and HD files
The next step in pictures is High Resolution: Blu-ray discs and files in 1080p or 720p format. This is where the Panasonic starts to pull off… what images! Calibration is already starting to be important and fortunately it comes in handy as standard. The THX modes, one normal for rooms with normal light and one for a lot of ambient light, are almost perfect. The Professional 1 and 2 calibrations also seemed very good to us in the absence of confirming it with probe and program. We recommend staying with them, and adjusting brightness and contrast to the light conditions we have. The ideal is to calibrate with a probe and a good professional, the best investment after buying such a screen.
Watching some of our reference movies on Blu-ray we enjoy spectacular images. The House of Flying Daggers, Spiderman ... and especially movies with dark scenes. The contrast of this screen is excellent and the details in those moments of low light reveal information that is hidden in other displays. But also movies with light and nature shine spectacularly. The BBC documentaries, totally recommended, leave our mouths open for their reality.
When playing compressed files (mkv), whether they are ripping discs or downloading broadcasts (series), the good feeling continues. As with DTT, the OLED screen and Panasonic processing come together to show the best possible image. Even files compressed and 720p looked as high quality as a Blu-ray depending on the scenes. Let us remember that in DTT-HD some channels broadcast 720 and not 1080, apart from the better or worse production mentioned. This is why it is important to check how the TV electronics perform when adapting those sources to your 4K screen.
Imaging and processing modes
We have already commented that the THX and Professional modes were our favorites . It is the best calibration, in the absence of a "real" one, and as always leaving adjusted brightness and contrast. But there is much more to touch on the menu, without going into the calibration parameters. Those should not be touched without being very sure of it.
But we can leave some of the other parameters to our liking. Even, depending on the use, record them in Custom mode starting from the existing ones. In televisions for a few years it is convenient to check how well these "enhancement" settings work. They are those that affect the adaptation to the resolution of the screen for static and moving images. And it is that many processors, when interpolating images, achieve the famous "soap opera effect" . A quality too hyper-realistic that with movies is obnoxious in our opinion, but with sports it can be useful.
With all “aids” disabled, the EZ1000 presents a natural and highly responsive image. Enabling Intelligent Frame Creation (interpolates images) improves resolution and smoothness, without overdoing it. If we go from low mode, that exaggerated effect does start, but with some sports it can be useful. We can even customize it (very nice). Another interesting setting is Clear Motion, which adds a black frame. It improves the fluidity of the images and hardly hurts the overall brightness, we liked it. Like the “soap opera effect” of interpolation, it is a personal choice to suit the user.
Large gaming screen
In the Image-Configuration Options menu is (a little hidden) Game Mode . You have to remember that, even when we turn off many effects, these large televisions "work" from behind. This work in electronics translates into a certain time delay, the “input lag”. Normally, it is around the tenth of a second (100ms) and is noticeable, especially for those who use it to play.
The Game Mode eliminates the slowest processes and the delay should be about ten times less (around 20ms). This already allows us to appreciate an immediate response , so necessary to play. We could not test it because we disengaged from the consoles a long time ago but we know that it works very well.
Speaking of games, remember that OLED screens have a weak point: retention. It is not something as serious as in old plasmas, but the organic origin of LEDs (pixels) limits their useful life . It's funny that, using the same panels, LG (the original manufacturer), Sony, Panasonic and Loewe have such different policies. LG and Loewe equip their OLED TVs with media to avoid retention. They reduce the brightness without activity for example, and warn when they detect a still image. Sony and Panasonic, on the other hand, do not care about it and have no prevention. But it will have to be taken into account for the long term and we would have preferred something in that sense.
The Big Show: 4K HDR
We already enjoy very much, very much, the Panasonic EZ1000 watching DTT and more with Blu-ray and HD files. But we needed to reach the maximum of what this TV can offer : connect a UHD Blu-ray. And review some scenes or movies in the most advanced existing format right now. We use what is possibly the best player, also the Panasonic UBD-900. And our two reference movies for this: Mad Max (2015) and X-Men Apocalypse (2016). We also had a good time with Tarzan (2016). The TV detects the 4K HDR signal through HDMI and everything goes smoothly.
We still remember the first time we saw this modern Mad Max, how cold it left us. But you have to see it on a screen that takes full advantage of its production to appreciate it. It's something we've seen in some demos, but having it at home… We started by looking at some familiar scenes to finish reviewing settings and taking some photos. But it was inevitable to see the entire film, and also several times, first alone and then accompanied. It is admirable how we appreciate the details in dark scenes, how the explosions or metallic shine of the vehicles dazzle. As we say, we started in an analytical plan and we had to see it in its entirety ... tremendous movie, and tremendous television the Panasonic.
We can say the same about X-Men, another highly recommended title for its recording and production. Get the most out of 4K resolution and HDR images like Mad Max. Here dark scenes are combined with daytime scenes, great special effects, close-ups of human and mutant faces ... A great show that, again, was impossible to resist and we saw several times. With the Panasonic you discover details and appreciate nuances every time . And each frame is enjoyed as if we were admiring a great photo.
For 7,000 euros Panasonic offers us a television whose screen is possibly the best in the current market . Only in high ambient light conditions, or for brightest scenes, can some LEDs be more impressive. Its soundbar is good, although the screen deserves a separate sound system. The handling (menus, change of channels, etc) is not entirely pleasant for us. But everything goes into the background before his images. I don't think anyone can say that they are not impressed by the images on this TV and to be honest… While we have had it tested we have enjoyed it a lot, and who has seen it has fallen in love. Excellent.