The biggest change is in the audio department, with side-firing speakers beefing up Panasonic's directional sound – though we're also seeing a new HCX Pro AI processor as well as an unspecified amount of HDMI 2.1 support.
The '2000 series is always worth paying attention to, given it's the only Panasonic TV each year that makes use of a custom-made OLED panel for enhanced images. If you're interested in Panasonic for its cinematic reputation – being a supplier of film production mastering monitors, and calling in Hollywood colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld to work on this year's commercial sets – this is the best TV to offer it.
The JZ2000 is the only Panasonic TV confirmed for this year so far, though we expect to see announcements for step-down JZ1500 and JZ1000 models, based on naming conventions in previous years. We could also see a new iteration of the HZ980, an entry-level OLED without a swivel stand that launched last year, though it's likely we won't know definitively until the second half of the year.
Below we'll go into more detail on likely price, when we expect it to release, and what we know of the specs so far – and we'll be sure to update this guide as we hear more.
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Panasonic JZ2000 audio: what's new?
We can't discuss the Panasonic JZ2000 without delving into its sound system, which is getting its most notable shakeup for some time. In addition to the upward-firing and front-firing speakers seen in the HZ2000, this year's model will also be packing side-firing speakers, for sound that fires off in all directions. You'll get Dolby Atmos support too.
You won't get the benefit of a true surround sound system, of course, but we're expecting it to be impactful – and with Samsung continuing its OTS (Object Tracking Sound) system in this year's new Samsung TVs, the competition for cinematic audio is heating up.
It's worth noting that the JZ2000's audio output is dropping to 125W, from the 140W we saw on the HZ2000, but we expect the more controlled, directional sound will make up for it.
Panasonic JZ2000 specs and processor
As the Panasonic’s flagship set for 2021, the JZ2000 will feature a custom OLED panel – to deliver "higher peak and average brightness levels, resulting in increased dynamic range" – as well as a new iteration of the brand’s TV processor, the HCX Pro AI. This new chip is said to enable a new AI picture mode to auto-calibrating the TV’s settings, as well as a host of gamer-centric features such as HDMI 2.1 for plugging in next-gen PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles.
The number of HDMI 2.1 ports isn't confirmed, though – we would hope for four on the flagship, and possibly expect only one on a more entry-level model further down the range. Last year's HZ2000 OLED didn't have any HDMI 2.1 ports, though, even as the likes of Samsung, LG and Sony started including the technology on their best TVs – so it's possible Panasonic won't be going all in just yet.
Buyers will also get the benefits of VRR (variable refresh rate) and feature far lower latency (14.4ms) than previous Panasonic OLEDs.
The JZ2000 will see the swivel stand return – one of our favorite TV trends from the past year – too.
We’re told to expect an overhaul to its MyHomeScreen smart TV platform – a straightforward interface that may feel bare-bones to some and beautifully simplified to others – leaving its sixth iteration “much more intuitive and much more usable” than before. There will be support for major voice assistants (presumably Alexa and Google Assistant) baked in too.
One exciting new feature is the ability to connect two devices over Bluetooth to the set, meaning you can pair two over-ear headphones, or perhaps a mouse for navigating the screen.
You’ll also get Filmmaker Mode, for those who want to minimize TV processing to its bare bones – though we wouldn’t generally recommend using it.
Will the Panasonic JZ2000 support Disney Plus?
Panasonic has been a bit late to the Disney Plus platform, with the streaming app still not available on Panasonic TVs. There's no word on when support is coming either, though 2021 seems inevitable – there's only so long the company can be an outlier, after all.
Especially with the new Star channel coming to Disney Plus in many non-US territories, with the likes of Lost, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Atlanta set to be streaming from February 23, Panasonic could lose out by not getting support sorted by the time its 2021 range launches.
Panasonic JZ2000 price expectations
There's no confirmed pricing thus far, but we know the JZ2000 is coming in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes – so not, it seems supporting the new 83-inch or 48-inch OLED sizes being utilized by LG and others.
Last year's HZ2000 started at £3,299 for a 55-inch size, and went up to £4,299 for a 65-inch size, which are good ballpark figures for estimating the JZ2000's cost at launch. You won't find it in North America, though – or Australia, where Panasonic has retreated from the consumer TV business.
Panasonic JZ2000 release date
There's no confirmed release date for the JZ2000, though we're expecting to see it in the first half of 2021. Whenever it launches, it will no doubt shortly be following by step-down OLED models with reduced audio output (and without the custom panel).
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