Do you want to buy a new Panasonic OLED TV? You’ll have to pay a premium for directional Dolby Atmos

by | May 13, 2022 | Home & Kitchen, Smart TV | 0 comments

Five OLED models for 2022, but only one with immersive beam-forming speakers

Panasonic’s TV lineup for 2022 is complete, and after shining a spotlight on the impressive LZ200 flagship OLED model at CES in January, many of us have been waiting with bated breath for clarity on the rest of the lineup ever since.

Panasonic has now revealed four more OLED models as well as two LCD sets, and there’s no easy way to put it… It appears that the impressive sonic wizardry that we hoped would trickle down to at least one of the lower-level sets did not materialize.

Panasonic LZ15000: same image, reduced sound

The new LZ1500 shares the same Master OLED Pro panel and picture processing technology as the top-tier LZ2000, but it has a more limited sound system than the 2000’s Technics-tuned front-, side-, and upwards-firing speaker arrangement.

To elaborate, the LZ2000 is exciting because it introduces directional sound as well as Panasonic’s 360-degree Soundscape audio package. Its multiple built-in upward-firing, side-firing, and front-firing speaker units promise a spatial soundstage with Dolby Atmos content, but thanks to the new advanced Front Array Speaker System, they should also be able to direct the sound towards the viewer; a Pinpoint mode focuses audio at a specific spot in front of the TV, while an Area mode emits sound in a larger space. A third and final Spot mode provides something in the middle while directing the majority of the volume to a single seat. Interesting material.

The two largest models in Panasonic’s secondary OLED LZ1500 series (65″ and 55″) feature a sound system called ‘Dynamic Cinema Surround Pro,’ which supports Dolby Atmos and uses a built-in woofer to add bass clout – but it’s a long way from throwing immersive sound around your living room…

Whereas the LZ2000 is available in 55-inch, 65-inch, and (new for Panasonic OLEDs) a large-screen 77-inch model, the LZ1500 is available in 65-inch, 55-inch, 48-inch, and (another first for Panasonic’s OLED lineup) 42-inch sizes. But it’s not all Master OLED Pro displays: Panasonic is quick to point out that the 48- and 42-inch LZ1500 sets forego the Master OLED Pro panels in favor of a standard OLED display.

Panasonic OLEDs LZ1000, LZ980, and LZ800

Three additional OLED TV models join the Panasonic LZ2000 and LZ1500 to round out the 2022 lineup. The first is the LZ1000, which has a Master OLED display rather than the flagship Master OLED Pro and is available in 55 and 65-inch sizes. Sonically, this is a slight step down to what Panasonic refers to as Cinema Surround Pro (ie. without the Dynamic prefix).

The LZ980 and LZ800 are two entry-level OLEDs that do not have the Master OLED Pro or Master OLED screen. Both of these OLED models are available in 42, 48, 55, and 65-inch sizes, with the main difference being the onboard speaker setup, with the LZ980 featuring the same Cinema Surround Pro as the LZ1000 and the LZ800 featuring the more basic Cinema Surround.

All of the models support Dolby Vision and HDR10+, as well as (an unspecified number of) HDMI 2.1 sockets for 4K 120Hz at full resolution and VRR (including AMD FreeSync Premium), as well as a new Game Control Board, which is similar to LG’s Game Optimiser and should consolidate all of your gaming features and information in one place.

Good night, Europe!

Furthermore, Panasonic has unveiled two LCD TVs to complement its OLEDs, though the more entry-level model appears to be a UK-only model and the more premium TV appears to be an EU-only model.

Whereas Panasonic’s OLEDs are aimed at moviegoers, the EU-only LX940 is marketed as “an immersive viewing experience for sports and gaming fans,” and it features a 120Hz LCD panel with an LED backlight. Panasonic lists it in 43, 49, 55, 65, and 75-inch sizes, with an HDR Cinema Display Pro image.

Surprisingly, a UK-exclusive model is also available. Unlike other Panasonic 2022 TV offerings that use the company’s proprietary My Home Screen 7.0 operating system, the LX800 is an Android TV. It comes in 43, 50, 55, 65, and 75-inch sizes, with the two smallest sporting HDR Bright Panel+ displays and the larger options labeled as HDR Cinema Display – note the absence of the ‘Pro’ suffix.

Panasonic has yet to release official pricing and availability information, but as we all know, you will.

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