Live From CES 2018: Panasonic unveils first OLED TVs to support HDR10+ dynamic metadata
Panasonic has furthered its commitment to the HDR10+ format at CES, announcing the first OLED TV sets to be available in 2018 that support HDR10+ dynamic-metadata technology: the FZ950 and FZ800 sets (each available in 65-in. and 55-in. sizes). Announcement of the new sets is part of Panasonic’s major HDR10+ push at CES, including a joint announcement with 20th Century Fox and Samsung regarding updates to their associated certification and logo program for HDR10+ (initially announced last year at IFA).
HDR10+ — the open, royalty-free, dynamic-metadata platform for HDR created by 20th Century Fox, Panasonic, and Samsung — will be available soon (although no specific timeline has been announced). Once the HDR10+ license program is open, the three founding companies will incorporate HDR10+ technologies in all future Ultra HD movie releases, selected TVs, and Ultra HD Blu-ray players, and other products.
Upon their release, Panasonic’s FZ950 and FZ800 sets will immediately be able to stream several hundred hours of Amazon Prime Video HDR10+ catalog. In addition, Panasonic’s OLED screens offer support for HDR10 and HLG, an HDR format that is compatible with TV broadcasts and has been used for the few live HDR sports productions in North America.
Panasonic intends to broaden support of HDR10+ dynamic-metadata technology to products yet to be announced.
The manufacturer has added the Dynamic Scene Optimiser function, which uses picture analysis to mimic dynamic metadata when playing an HDR10 source on its new 4K TVs. Furthermore, the new Auto HDR Brightness Enhancer function allows viewers to experience the optimal viewing experience by manually or automatically adjusting how HDR content looks in a brighter room.
Inside the new Panasonic OLED sets
The new sets feature Panasonic’s latest HCX 4K video processor and HDR OLED panels. The biggest under-the-hood change to the HCX processor is the introduction of a completely new ‘Dynamic LUT’ system. LUT (look-up table) technology is used extensively in professional postproduction and broadcast in Hollywood and beyond to ensure color accuracy.
Until now, LUTs were fixed according to the colour space used by the source; with this innovation, the HCX automatically monitors the average brightness level of a scene and uses picture analysis to dynamically load a LUT appropriate to that scene. This brings significant improvements to mid-brightness scenes, making them look much more natural.
To improve colour accuracy in shadows, Panasonic has included additional layers of LUT data at much darker levels than previously. This means that, while the transition from pure black is improved, the colors in the shadows are even more accurate.
Panasonic has also extended the range and reduced the interval between calibration steps at the darkest end of the RGB and gamma scales. This can be adjusted by the user via Panasonic’s Colour Management System. The FZ950 and FZ800 support Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) calibration settings and new calibration points at 5% and, in an industry first, just 2.5% luminance, providing the greatest control where it is most needed: just above complete blackness in low-lit scenes. These industry-first calibration points will also be supported by Portrait Display’s CalMAN software with AutoCal functionality. Panasonic FZ950 and FZ800 are now CalMAN Ready.
All of this year’s new OLED screens also include an Absolute Black Filter, which helps ensure the purest, most accurate black levels by absorbing ambient light in order to eliminate reflections — especially beneficial in brightly lit rooms.
On the audio side, the FZ950 range features a ‘Tuned by Technics’ Dynamic Blade Speaker integrated into the set. With no fewer than eight multiple speaker units (four larger woofers, four squawkers, and two tweeters, plus a quad passive radiator to boost bass) and 40% increased volume, the Dynamic Blade Speaker was developed in conjunction with engineers from Technics, Panasonic’s audio brand, who were involved at every stage of the process, from mechanical and electrical-circuit design through to sound tuning.