February 2019


centre speaker in a dedicated surround sound system. Sony demonstrated this by partnering the ZG9 with a high-end cinema system, and running a noisy clip from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Backlight Master Drive, now with ultra-dense LED modules designed to improve contrast and reduce unwanted light halos, a helpful trick on such a mega screen.

Demos of native 8k content, footage from the

Rio carnival and 8k game renders from Gran Turismo, looked ridiculously impressive. Of course, in the real world, with no 8k content to view, any 8k screen lives or dies by its ability to upscale 4k and HD. The good news is that this Sony newcomer appears to offer one of the best 4k to 8k upscales we’ve seen. Sony’s approach to upscaling looks absolutely naturalistic, with no obvious extra edge enhancement.

Not only does the ZG9 support HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, it will also be one of the first European TVs to win IMAX Enhanced certification. This is a guarantee, of sorts, that the set has the detail and colour volume to make the most of upcoming IMAX Enhanced 4k Blu-rays from Sony Pictures. Will IMAX Enhanced gain much consumer traction? With home cinema enthusiasts, it just might.

The ZG9 also boasts a new sound system,

dubbed Acoustic Multi-Audio. Four front-facing speakers; two up top and two at the bottom, are used to lock sounds to the picture area. There’s also a TV Centre Speaker Mode, which allows these four front speakers to serve as a

LG rebrands LED LCD as NanoCell LG had rival 8k offerings in both LED and OLED categories. Its 75-inch SM99 LED LCD TV employs all manner of AI image processing, and supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Interestingly, LG is rebranding this and other LED LCD premium TVs as NanoCell. The brand offered convoluted reasons why, but we suspect it’s mainly because the new moniker sounds cooler.

Pulling rank in the LG range, though, is an 88- inch OLED, known as the Z9. So big it comes on an integrated stand with hidden sound system, its images looked absolutely sumptuous. If you’ve ever wanted your own Dolby Cinema, this is it. But does the business really need a new

resolution revolution - particularly when there’s no 8k content to watch? Probably not. It’s unlikely that 8k TVs will set tills ringing this year given that IHS Markit is predicting 8k screen sales in North America will only account for 0.1 per cent of the 42.7 million screens expected to ship in North America throughout 2019. A top flight 4k offering is a much more enticing

retail proposition, and here Panasonic played a blinder.

Its incoming 4k GZ2000 looks to be exactly the high-end TV enthusiasts have been clamouring for. It’s the first OLED screen to support HDR, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, and the first with Dolby Atmos enabled up-firing speakers built in. Further setting itself apart, the OLED panel itself is a custom design. Panasonic told ERT that it has adapted technology first developed for plasma TVs, which has allowed it to increase overall brightness - not just for HDR peaks, but average picture level brightness.

The result is a picture with more pop than space candy. Image processing is handled by the brand’s new HCX PRO Intelligent processor. Nuance and depth of image is almost three dimensional. Panasonic has also managed to significantly

improve motion handling. In the past, its IFC (Intelligent Frame Creation) interpolation has been cursed with distracting image artefacts, but here fast motion (even in Max IFC mode) looked clean and free of MPEG image artefacts. This flatscreen isn’t just going to appeal to home cinema addicts, but sports fans too. The GZ2000 sounds rather remarkable, offering an immersive Dolby Atmos listening experience out of the box. Its integrated Technics-tuned soundbar is supported by dedicated Dolby Atmos up-firing speakers, built-onto the rear panel. Dolby Atmos encoded films benefit from a high and wide soundstage, while an Atmos encoded football clip proved equally impressive, with crowd ambiance really adding to the viewing experience. This screen is going to be a wow when it comes to in-store demos.

The GZ2000 will be available in 55- and 65-inch

screens sizes. Panasonic confided that it would have further OLED model announcements at its European Dealer Convention.

Changing the shape of TV Attracting the lion’s share of attention though at CES was LG’s remarkable, rollable OLED R 9. Looking like a prop from a science-fiction movie, this innovative 4k OLED can rise from a designer sound cabinet, or roll down and be hidden from view. It’s a masterful example of ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ design that brilliantly illustrates one of OLEDs unique attributes: flexibility.

If you don’t want the LG OLED65R to fully unfurl, it can present a partial screen, in so-called Line mode. This allows the top section of the panel to double as a slimline display for news


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