Private view of Panasonic’s DX902 4K LED TV #VieraVIPClub
Me and and handful of other online journalist/commentator types, who make up the Viera VIP Club, were given some quality time with the ever knowledgeable Micheal Price and the all new Panasonic Viera DX902.
The Viera DX902 is quite a feather in Panasonic’s hat in that it is the first LED LCD TV in the world that meets the stringent standards of the UHD Alliance’s new highest ‘Ultra HD Premium’ specification.
What this means is that the inter-industry UHD Alliance (UHDA) group – which is composed of leading film studios, consumer electronics manufacturers, content distributors and technology companies – has assessed the Panasonic DX902 as meeting a whole range of tough picture performance criteria. This takes in everything from resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) performance to image precision, wide colour gamuts and more besides.
To get to this point Panasonic’s engineers have had to develop both new hardware and software for the DX902 in order to take LCD picture quality to levels usually only associated with plasma sets.
To my eyes it looks as though the DX902 has managed to combine the extreme brightness, which LCD’s are known for, with the contrast and black level response of plasma televisions.
Whilst it’s all very well-and-good getting brightness levels through the roof, it’s also how to deliver HDR’s (High Dynamic Range) brightness heights without severely compromising the handling of dark image areas.
This unique new LCD panel design divides the picture into hundreds of individually controlled lighting zones kept rigorously isolated from each other to ensure that there’s minimal light leakage between them. There is then a layer which diffuses the light evenly across the surface as the light is obviously brighter closer to the LED source.
The result is a picture able to contain extremely bright peaks and deep blacks simultaneously without the light halo or ‘bloom’ effect around the bright objects that LCD technology usually produces.
What’s more, the new panel design can deliver its brightness peaks across more of the screen than conventional HDR LCD TVs. Panasonic calculates that the DX902 can hit 1000 nits across a much wider portion of the screen than other HDR screens launched to date have been able to achieve.
This means that we get to see a much more dynamic and vibrant image that really unlocks HDR’s spectacular potential.
Once again we see Panasonic’s Hollywood Labs have been brought in to add their expertise in fine-tuning the output to ensure that the DX902s’ HDR performance matches as closely as possible the original vision of filmmakers and content creators.
DX902 – Not just about HDR
While the DX902 has been literally built for HDR the brand new Panasonic HCX+ (Hollywood Cinema eXperience plus) processing chipset promises to deliver images that faithfully reproduce the pre-HDR Rec 709 industry video standard.
The HCX+ delivers an enhanced version of the 3D Look Up Table system already used to such acclaim on Panasonic’s 2015 flagship LCD TVs, covering huge 8000 registry reference points (around 40 times as many as you get in a traditional TV). Furthermore Panasonic have added a new colour compensation algorithm to further enhance the resulting on-screen colour accuracy. This means the DX902 can reproduce hues and tones within the Rec 709 standard space at every level of brightness. This is done at such an accurate degree that pictures verge on the sort of fidelity only previously possible on hugely expensive professional studio master screens.
DX902 – THX 4K
Don’t just take my word that the DX902 is capable of producing images of outstanding accuracy. As well as securing the highest Ultra HD Premium grade from the UHDA, the DX902 has earned 4K Certification from a renowned independent quality assurance group, THX – a recognition of picture quality and accuracy that precious few TVs achieve.
While HDR might be grabbing the headlines in 2016, 4K Ultra High Definition technology also continues to redefine what’s possible with TV picture quality, finding its way into ever more screens and content sources.
The DX902s’ beautiful native 4K UHD resolution makes them perfect partners for not just streamed 4K content but also the exciting new Ultra HD Blu-ray disc format.
In fact, Panasonic already has a new UHD Blu-ray player, the UB900, that’s perfect to sit alongside its new breed of televisions. The Viera VIP Club was also treated to some disc spinning action and the resulting pairing between the new DX902 and the UB900 (above – excuse the glare) was very impressive indeed.
DX902 – Firefox OS
Panasonic DX902 UHD TV’s smarts are powered by Firefox OS which allows you to access your favourite channels, apps, videos, websites and content through the TV home screen in a very familiar format.
You start off with three choices of ‘quick access’ to Live TV, Apps and Devices – and you can also pin any app or content you like to your TV home screen.
The DX902 will soon get an update to its Firefox OS which, amongst other tweaks, will include a new way to discover Web apps and save them to your TV. Several major content providers such as Vimeo, iHeartRadio, Atari, Hasbro, AOL On, Giphy, Hubii and Taito are excited to work with Mozilla to provide TV optimised Web apps.
The skinny set manages to squeeze in unusually large speaker boxes.
As well as using Quad Passive Radiators, that resonate in sync with the vibration of the TV’s woofer speakers to boost bass, it’s packing powerful Neodynium magnets in the speakers which help to produce a clearer and more expansive sound.
Panasonic Viera DX902 price and availability
The excellent DX902 is available now in 58-inch and 65-inch flavours, with the 65-inch television costing £3,300.
More information is available on Panasonic’s website.