There’s a new monster gracing the halls of Berlin’s IFA show this year, and for once it’s not from Samsung, LG, or even Sony. Panasonic has revealed its new X940 Ultra-Large Screen 4K UHD TV – all 85 sparkling inches of it. In addition, the company has announced the consumer release of its new AX900 4K UHD TV, unveiled a new lower-tier AX630 4K UHD TV, and announced that Netflix 4K streaming is coming to its TVs in the near future.
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X940 4K UHD TV
Boasting a massive screen, the X940 is a powerful display of Panasonic engineering (no pun intended). The TV offers 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution, backed by a boatload of digital processing. Marquee features include Panasonic’s “4K Intelligent Frame Creation” technology for what is claimed to be extremely realistic motion detail, as well as Panasonic’s top-end Local Dimming Pro for rich, detailed contrast and black levels, in an attempt to recall the lost glory of the company’s now defunct plasma wing.
As expected, the TV offers all the latest tech as far as connection options, offering 4K HDMI 2.0 inputs for receiving content at up to 60 frames per second, advanced upscaling to bring HD content up a notch, and HEVC compatibility to allow for 4K streaming.
But the X940 goes much farther, employing advanced features like a Twin HD tuner to simultaneously broadcast HD content, and record it to a USB drive, a 60p capable DisplayPort for gaming, and Panasonic’s TV Remote 2 App to allow users to Swipe & Share photos on its 4K photo viewer. The TV can even output live and recorded content from your TV over its TV Anywhere feature to let you stream content from Panasonic’s cloud platform, letting you take your entertainment with you on mobile devices.
The X940 also boasts some advanced Smart features for the X940 like Voice Print technology and an Info Bar that gives users the time and weather when they walk by the screen. On the other hand, while Panasonic is killing it with screen performance lately, we’ve been unimpressed with its smart hub. We’ll find out if that’s been improved upon, and much more as we get some hands on experience with the TV on the showroom floor soon, so stay tuned.
AX630 4K UHD TV
On the other end of the spectrum, Panasonic has dropped a new middle-rung TV that may carry a price that’s affordable enough for the average viewer — eventually. The 3840 x 2160 resolution screen is available in smaller sizes, including 55, 48, and 40-inch models (though we’re not sure why you’d really want 4K resolution at that size), and offers an ample, if pared down, feature set.
Key features include HDMI 2.0 for 4K input at up to 60 frames per second, voice assistant control, voiceprint recognition, and the touted TV Anywhere feature mentioned above for viewing content on the go. However, Panasonic doesn’t mention whether or not the TV has HEVC decoding capabilities, which means it may not be able to stream 4K from most services. With the high resolution increasingly being taken to the cloud, that may be a deal breaker. We’ll find out more about the AX630 from the IFA floor, and we’ll update this post as we gather more info. No pricing or release dates were given for the AX630.
AX900 4K UHD TV
On the heels of touting its flagship AX800, which we recently had the pleasure of reviewing, Panasonic announced the release of the brand new ship that will take its place in the fleet, the AX900. Set for release this Fall, Panasonic is calling the display “a new chapter” picture quality for an LED 4K UHD TV. The TV is decked out with the best Panasonic has to offer for accurate, detailed color reproduction, and a picture quality that perfectly matches the viewing environment.
To that end, Panasonic has employed full array LED backlighting with highly advanced local dimming to prevent the dreaded ‘halo’ effect in the dark, and advanced signal analysis to keep the TVs black levels rich and detailed, without squandering detail in contrasting light scenes. The company also claims to employ color management technologies similar to that of professional studio monitors, claiming it’s the first to use the tech in a consumer TV.
No surprise, the AX900 offers all the top 4K input tech to accept signal at up to 60 frames per second, HEVC decoding to stream 4K content, and for the first time, Pansonic says it’s new TV will likely offer 4K streaming from Netflix at launch — finally putting it on par for content with the big boys like Sony, LG, and Samsung. (More on that below) Once again, we’ll know more about the AX900 once we get eyes on in the showroom, so stay with us for a deeper look.
Content is king
But what’s all that high resolution display technology worth without content to watch on it? As the industry continues to provide more and more ways to stream 4K content from the Web, Pansonic has struggled to keep up.
To reverse this, the company claims it is now “working closely” with Netflix to enable 4K streaming on its AX900 at launch, as well as over the aforementioned AX800 via a firmware update. Further, as Amazon prepares to launch its own assault of 4K content, Panasonic has signed up for that ride to, hoping to add Amazon 4K streaming in the near future.