Panasonic HZ1000 65” OLED TV REVIEW
Panasonic HZ1000 65” OLED TV REVIEW
PAT PILCHER experiences the latest Panasonic OLED panel and finds that it’s a paragon of quality and distinction. Oh, and great viewing too.
Panasonic television panels have a long and storied reputation for depth of image and quality of product. But more recently, Panasonic TVs have been somewhat overshadowed by glam newcomers like LG and Samsung. That’s a real shame as the HZ1000 Panasonic OLED TV is a real beauty. It needs to be too, as it has big shoes to fill. Last year’s model garnered loads of positive reviews. Can this year’s model improve on the prototype?
Nowadays, TVs tend to be generic black rectangular slabs when viewed front-on. There’s little to tell one brand from another. The HZ1000, however, sports a subtle and tiny Panasonic badge on its bottom bezel, as well as several other nice design touches.
Would you like to support our mission to bring intelligence, insight and great writing to entertainment journalism? Help to pay for the coffee that keeps our brains working and fingers typing just for you. Witchdoctor, entertainment for grownups. Your one-off (or monthly) $5 or $10 donation will support Witchdoctor.co.nz. and help us keep producing quality content. It’s really easy to donate, just click the ‘Become a supporter’ button below.
First and foremost is its stand. it a doddle to attach and at just 39cm wide, it helps make the HZ1000 easy to place on a TV cabinet. Even better still, it can easily accommodate a soundbar should you need one. The other is its wafer-thin bezels, which give the panel an almost all-screen look.
Being an OLED beast, the panel is slim. Like most OLED TVs, there’s also processing hardware, ports, speakers and a tuner attached to its rear. Either way, it’ll easily fit in most TV rooms with little fuss or bother.
The real magic happens under the hood. To this end, the HZ1000 uses Panasonic’s HCX Pro Intelligent Video Processor, which appears to be identical to last year’s version. The TV makes use of a new version of LG’s OLED panel and incorporates Panasonic’s latest motion processing hardware that they’ve branded Smooth Motion Drive Pro.
Another welcome addition to the HZ1000 is the addition of Dolby Vision IQ. It uses an ambient light sensor that works with metadata contained in compatible footage to optimise video in real-time based on lighting conditions. HDR10+, HLG and standard HDR10 are also supported.
Being a smart TV, you get most major streaming services. These include Netflix (with Dolby Vision and Atmos support), and Amazon Prime Video (with HDR10+ and Atmos), Freeview, TVNZ On Demand, Neon and of course Spark Sport. While the HZ1000 cannot hope to match the sheer breadth of the Android TV ecosystem, its built-in app store still has a decent serving of apps.
While the connectivity options are plentiful, HDMI 2.1 support is MIA. That said, you do get four HDMI inputs, two USB ports, a headphone socket and SPDIF outputs, along with satellite and aerial sockets. The lack of HDMI 2.1 may frustrate gamers who have splashed out on a new PS5 or Xbox Series X. That said, eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) are both built-in. HFR (High Frame Rate) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) capabilities are not baked in. The HZ1000 still has the makings of a good gaming screen, thanks to an input latency of just 22ms.
Its remote is a standard clicker. That said, it does have the added benefit of an alloy upper and built-in backlighting, which makes it both durable and easier to use at night. As a smart TV, its user interface is also a biggie. While the HZ1000’s OS is not flashy, it’s so simple that most new users will pick it up in no time flat. Thankfully, Panasonic has kept the settings menu detailed, providing plenty of options for tweaking video, audio and a host of other settings.
Firing up a random selection of YouTube 4K videos showcased just how stunning the HZ1000 is. Using the filmmaker video mode, I added a few tweaks to brightness, colour temp and contrast. HDR Auto-Brightness and noise reduction were also disabled, which produced vibrant footage packed with super-crisp detail. Watching an assortment of 4K content via Amazon Video also showcased silky smooth motion handling. Even with Intelligent Frame Creation set to Min, there were no noticeable artefacts, no blurring. In fact, everything looked silky smooth, natural and dare I say it, cinematic.
As an OLED screen, colours really popped. Skin tones impressed. Where less capable screens tend towards either Simpson’s yellow or sunstroke pink, Panasonic has calibrated the HZ1000 towards a suitably realistic middle ground. Similarly, banding and other colour issues were also non-existent. Much of this is due to the excellent and already proven HCX Pro’s video processing capabilities.
Standard-definition content also looked great. Firing up some old DVDs of Space 1999 saw its ageing ’70s era footage looking surprisingly clean with naturally balanced colour and plenty of detail. If you have got a library of older content, the impressive upscaling capabilities of the HZ1000 are well worth checking out.
If there is one disadvantage with OLED TVs, it’s that there is not a lot of space for speaker hardware, specially tuned bass cavities and so on. With the HZ1000, you get an Atmos 30W speaker system. A soundbar or even better, a home theatre system is recommended. That said, its speakers were clear and worked well with dialogue.
All told, The HZ1000 deserves a lot more attention than it currently gets. It’s a great TV that delivers punchy and vivid colours as you would expect from an OLED panel, but tempers it with natural, sharp and controlled video processing. It also does an exceptional job with 4K HDR content as well as SD content. Rounding things out is its excellent motion handling. If you are shopping for an OLED telly, the HZ1000 is an excellent choice.
Screen type: OLED
OS: My Home Screen 5.0
Supported HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
HDMI Inputs: 4
USB Inputs: 2
Optical Outputs: 1