Latest Panasonic Viera 4K TVs
In the surroundings of one of the most haunted houses in England, we got the chance to get up close and personal with Panasonic’s latest range of award winning 4K TVs, namely the Viera 802B and Viera 902B. In fact, we got to play with a whole host of their 4K Ultra HD offering, with their whole range of cameras.
When you look at the spec sheet for the new Viera line-up there are a lot of things thrown at you, which, if you’re not really “into” TVs, you might need to sit down and figure out. Realistically, people only tend to buy a new TV every 6-8 years, so we’ll forgive you Average Joes if the technical jargon, buzzwords and marketing talk aren’t a part of your every day lexicon. So, lets break these things down into bite-size manageable, fully understandable chunks:
Studio Master Drive
A feature that works to preserve the vibrancy of colour, even when it is surrounded by bright and dark areas, which may have bled into each other on other TVs. This makes your black dark, and your light, really bright and your colours vivid. So your average lightsabre looks dangerous and pronounced, rather than a bit fuzzy.
Local Dimming Ultra
Working by changing the way the TV is built in comparison the competition, the LED backlight has local zones for dimming, rather than being shone in from the sides, allowing for more minutely managed contrast zones. Wait, what? Basically, the screen is like a jigsaw, and each piece is controlled as to how bright or dark it is, meaning it can achieve excellent areas of dark and light which otherwise would fade into each other.
Go figure. This is a feature of the latest Viera range, which utilises that LED backlight and the LED front panel to get colour pretty good in all the light areas, which can look rather faded otherwise. Again, think of a dull lightsabre, this should make it look like the most dangerous weapon in a galaxy far, far away rather than a bit of a naff torch.
Studio Master Colour
More buzzwords that pull together to effectively tell you that it has a slightly wider colour spectrum than other TVs, thanks to the build quality and technical aspects that set it apart from the competition. So the great screen has more to offer than the next manufacturer’s 4K screen.
Quad Core Pro5
Its all about the processing power behind the screen here, with the high-performance imagine processing unit producing intricate and detailed 4K images that have pretty good noise reduction (that blur on the fine details of an image).
4K Ultra HD
4K? Surely you know about that right? Its that thing that makes your standard HD TV look, well, pretty standard. It ups the resolution by a multiple of 4. You thought you looked bad in HD? Well, now every pore will be that bit more visible. With many new TV and movies being shot in this standard, you’ll want a screen that can show them in all their glory.
VR Audio Master
A built-in 2.1 speaker system helps up the game on the standard sound offering that comes with the TV. It has a separate subwoofer and two speakers on the side that help provide depth to create a “virtual” surround sound. Its no soundbar, and if you can afford a quality 4K TV don’t be scrimping on the sound side of the system, but still, this is not too shabby.
THX, you know, one of the biggest names in high-fidelity audio/visual reproduction of movie and cinema quality? Well, they gave the new Viera range their seal of approval after putting it through a number of stringent tests. That’s pretty damn good.
One of those things that Viera have put together, just for you. Or at least, thats how its supposed to sound. The TV will learn what you watch and make recommendations on what you may want to watch, from multiple sources (so not just your standard digital services). All well and good, until you let a kid watch several hours of Ben10 and all of a sudden your list is up the spout!
There are things like a camera, so you can sit and Skype at your TV (a bit awkward, but good for video conference calls in offices). A smartphone app, so you can mirror pictures, music and video from your phone or tablet, so long as it is compatible. Netflix 4K compatibility, a superb streaming option that was missing in the last set of Viera TV’s and perhaps the best thing ever. Freetime, that thing that lets you scroll backwards through the TV guide and load a show up from iPlayer, ITV Player, etc. Effectively one big “screw you” to the TV scheduling gods. Oh, and there is recording, wireless connectivity, freeview, 3D glasses, voice activated, and so on and so forth.
That’s a lot of interesting features, some fancy words and some general jargon, that when pulled together, creates quite the stunning set of TVs. What is the context of all this?
Well, the new Viera range comes out as the era of Plasma TVs comes to a close. Plasmas have always had the BEST darkness qualities, and I suppose this range is really trying to prove that those levels might be reached still on an LED LCD display. It does this, and it does it well. When compared to its contemporaries, it is perhaps the best there is, in fact, when hitting those black levels, those intricate levels of light and those vivid colours. Given the price range as well, it won’t be surprising to see this range as the best selling 4K LED LCD for the year, and maybe beyond. There are tons of smart features, cool bits of behind the scenes wizardry and just plain awesome picture quality. Whilst the initial Viera release didn’t have Netflix 4K capability, to considerable consumer uproar, it appears Panasonic have heard these cries and we can report that the firmware update recently released brings you such beauties as Breaking Bad in 4K to all the Viera range… There are screens from 50” up to 65” in the range, and price points from £1,500 up to £5,000. Go find one and see what you think!