Panasonic JZ2000 OLED TV Review - Some Surprising Test Results!
If you’re wondering why the picture on this 65-inch Panasonic JZ2000 looks so blue, it’s because this demo footage can only run in [Dynamic] mode, which is somewhat ironic for a company that prides itself on colour accuracy. Once I press a button on the remote to try and change the picture settings, the demo loop will stop. Let me restart the demo loop, and show you some interesting findings on the Panasonic JZ2000. [Intro] Contrary to pre-launch reports from Japan, our 65-inch Panasonic JZ2000 review sample is NOT equipped with LG Display’s latest, more efficient OLED panel from Guangzhou… or what’s commonly known as the “EVO” panel. As a result, full-field brightness remained capped at 140 nits which is typical of non-”EVO” WRGB OLED panels, even though the presence of a heatsink allowed the JZ2000 to reach a peak brightness of 900 nits on a 10% window after calibration to D65 white point, similar to what we measured on last year’s HZ2000 OLED.
Interestingly, the JZ2000 was not as resistant to image retention as its HZ2000 and GZ2000 predecessors, as you can see from this test where we displayed a peak white 10% window in HDR at full blast for 10 seconds, then switched to a full-field grey slide. Perhaps Panasonic has changed the thickness, surface area or composition of the heatsink on the JZ2000, which would also explain its lighter weight compared to the HZ2000 or GZ2000. Over the years, we have on multiple occasions praised the near-black handling of Panasonic OLEDs, but unfortunately the JZ2000 fell somewhat short of the very high standards we’ve come to expect from the company. On this 10-bit HDR moving quantisation test pattern developed by Stacey Spears of Spears and Munsil fame, near-black gradation was coarser than what we’ve seen on the HZ and GZ series OLEDs, as if it’s rendered at a lower bit-depth… I’ll reveal the culprit at the end of this video after I finish presenting all my findings, so stick around.
As a consequence of this coarser above-black gradation, bit-starved content… such as this heavily compressed broadcast footage from Game of Thrones… exhibited more macroblocking and posterisation than LG and Sony OLEDs, partly undoing Panasonic’s hitherto class-leading suppression of near-black flashing artefacts… imagine there are two shades that are quite close to each other… a coarser gradation means that the difference between them would be greater, significantly increasing the chance of chrominance overshoot. And unlike LG and Sony, Panasonic hasn’t implemented a dedicated [Smooth Gradation] de-contouring filter on their OLED models including the JZ2000, giving us no way to smooth out the posterisation… the [MPEG Remaster] spatial filter didn’t help at all even at the highest setting. The coarser near-black gradation would occasionally also manifest itself in high-bit rate material such as 4K Blu-ray movies, such as in the opening credits of Sicario, or this dark scene from Pan especially along the shadows on the arm of the eponymous hero. Despite this shortcoming, the Panasonic JZ2000 was on the whole still able to present clearer, more accurate shadow detail than Sony OLEDs, thanks to outstanding factory calibration and the provision of near-black calibration controls below 5 percent video stimulus. Out-of-the-box colour accuracy was equally impressive, with no inaccuracies exceeding the humanly perceptible threshold of delta error 3 on this challenging Colour Checker SG chart where 140 patches were measured… and this is just in the SDR [Filmmaker Mode] before any sort of calibration. Of course, even the most basic calibration can still improve colour accuracy further, but if you don’t intend to get your TV calibrated, the Panasonic JZ2000 should do better than its rivals in faithful reproduction of the creative intent in real-world content.
Talking about calibration, this video is sponsored by UK electrical retailer Crampton & Moore who have started selling pre-calibrated TVs under my supervision. If you’re thinking about buying a new TV, even if it’s not the Panasonic JZ2000, please support this channel by considering buying from them. Call 0113 244 6607, mention HDTVTest, and you’ll receive great price and service. Thanks again for your support. Ok, an integral component of artistic intent in films is accurate presentation of 24p motion, and the Panasonic JZ2000 correctly applied 5:5 pulldown to prevent telecinic judder even with [Intelligent Frame Creation] disabled. While pre-2021 Panasonic OLEDs suffered from intermittent frame-skipping in certain HDR scenes containing smoke or fog, this is now fixed… finally…. on the JZ2000, judging
from this sequence in War for The Planet of The Apes, although bear in mind that engaging [Intelligent Frame Creation] would re-introduce the frame skipping. With [Intelligent Frame Creation] off, motion resolution came in at the sample-and-hold baseline of 300 lines… the eagle-eyed among you may have spotted some scrambling artefacts at the 170 level, indicating some undefeatable interpolation similar to what we’ve observed on the Sony A90J and A80J. Engaging [Intelligent Frame Interpolation] would more than double motion resolution to 650 lines, with the potential to go up to 1080 lines or beyond with [Black Frame Insertion] thrown into the mix. Things got interesting once we went into the [Intelligent Frame Creation] “Custom” submenu. Normally, [Blur Reduction] would apply motion interpolation to 50fps or 60fps content to improve motion clarity, but it didn’t increase motion resolution at all on the Panasonic JZ2000.
[Film Smooth] is supposed to reduce judder in 24fps, 25fps or 30fps content, but going up by 1 click was enough to boost motion resolution to 650 lines on this 60fps test pattern. In other words, [Film Smooth] on the Panasonic JZ2000 now performs similarly to the [Smoothness] setting on Sony OLEDs, without independent de-blur and dejudder controls, and we wondered if this change was implemented to tackle the aforementioned 24p frame-skipping issue in smokey or foggy HDR scenes. Just like on last year’s HZ series, the variable-intensity black frame insertion on the Panasonic JZ2000 can be used in conjunction with [Intelligent Frame Creation] to achieve higher motion clarity without significant flickering or screen dimming. Because [Intelligent Frame Creation] seemed to operate in a 60Hz-centric manner, very rarely its algorithm would cause microstutter or frame drops in 50 frames per second content, be it a UK news broadcast with mixed edits, or a 25p movie recorded off-air... if you’re sensitive to these microstutter issues, the solution is just to turn off [Intelligent Frame Creation]. Video processing is strong on the Panasonic JZ2000.
Upscaling was good, retrieving nice detail from this SMPTE RP-133 test card in 576i without excessive ringing or fizziness, but we noticed that Panasonic has dispensed with the [1080p Pixel by 4Pixels] integer scaling option, which is probably obscure enough for most people to not care, just like the comedian Andrew Lawrence who made headlines recently… who? Exactly. After watching a variety of standard-definition and high-definition programmes on the Panasonic JZ2000, we had no complaints about its upscaling quality. Yes…. the Sony A80J and A90J were even sharper however slightly, but Panasonic’s presentation came across a bit more organic and natural-looking. When it came to video-based deinterlacing, the JZ2000 betrayed a touch more jaggies on this bouncing bars test pattern from the HQV Benchmark disc compared to LG’s and Sony’s 2021 OLEDs. With [Film Cadence Mode] engaged, the TV correctly detected and processed 3:2 and 2:2 cadences in film-based interlaced material.
Full chroma bandwidth could be obtained by enabling the [Pure Direct] mode, but be aware that doing so would also break 5:5 pulldown thus leading to telecinic judder, so we don’t advise engaging [Pure Direct] for watching movies. Bright uniformity was excellent on our 65-inch Panasonic JZ2000 review unit, manifesting no significant dirty screen effect, banding or colour tinting on full-field grey slides. In this sequence from Our Planet on Netflix, there’s the faintest of Venetian Blind effect… our terminology to describe faint horizontal lines on bright HDR elements, but it wasn’t obvious on our review sample at all… we had to go looking for it. Dark uniformity was overall clean at 4% above black, though with some reverse vignetting along both sides of the screen, more so at the bottom right corner, which didn’t bother us in real-world viewing outside of full-field slides. Moving onto HDR, I’ve covered the JZ2000’s peak brightness of 900 nits at the start of this video. DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage came in at 99 percent uv, whereas Rec.2020 coverage was
79 percent. A calibrated peak brightness of 900 nits is easily the brightest on a 10% window at D65 white point among 2021 OLED TVs, at least at the time we filmed this video in July 2021. Just like previous Panasonic OLEDs, the JZ2000 adapted its HDR10 tone-curve in response to MaxCLL metadata to retain more specular highlight detail. Of course, some 4000-nit highlight detail would still look compressed even on a 900-nit OLED. In the face of stiff competition from the LG G1 and the Sony A90J with brighter OLED panels this year, Panasonic appeared to have increased the potency of the [Dynamic HDR Effect] control which selectively boosted the luminance of certain HDR elements without affecting the overall APL or Average Picture Level.
In case you’re worried that bright highlight detail would be blown out by such dynamic HDR boosting, we found the opposite to be true… for instance, engaging [Dynamic HDR Effect] would etch out the lightning within the lightnings in clearer yet brighter fashion in this frame from Wonder Woman. Somewhat disappointingly, native 10-bit gradation on the Panasonic JZ2000 has gone backwards from the HZ2000, not only on this rotating quantisation test pattern from the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark disc, but also in the skies of Kingsman as well as The Martian 4K Ultra HD blu-rays. As mentioned earlier in this video, Panasonic doesn’t offer any dedicated de-contouring filter to mitigate this issue, and the [MPEG Remaster] spatial filter did nothing to smooth out the posterisation. We even tried out the new [Auto AI] picture mode to no avail… it would just shift the posterisation to a different region due to different gamma profile. Among TV manufacturers, Panasonic boasts the widest compatibility with various HDR formats in 2021, and the JZ2000 supports HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, not to mention Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive ambient light compensation technologies.
Similar to last year’s HZ OLEDs from Panasonic, the JZ2000’s Dolby Vision IQ mode features undefeatable sharpening, noise reduction and even motion interpolation with no way of switching off these picture processing using the greyed-out menu settings, which will reduce its appeal to video enthusiasts who dislikes superfluous video processing. When we reviewed the Panasonic HZ2000 last year, we spotted some frame drops during scene cuts on certain Dolby Vision 4K Blu-rays titles, which could be eradicated by forcing player-led Dolby Vision. [old footage] This issue has been fixed on JZ2000, with the same sequence in Aquaman playing smoothly without frame drops even with TV-led Dolby Vision. With [Game Mode] enabled, input lag measured 14 milliseconds at 60fps, more than halving to a super-responsive 6 milliseconds at 120fps. What we like about the [Game Mode] on Panasonic TVs is that it can be engaged even within an accurate picture preset such as [Filmmaker Mode], allowing you to enjoy both accurate colours and low input lag at the same time, but there are some downsides to this approach, as I shall explain later in this video.
Out of the four HDMI inputs available on the JZ2000, HDMI1 and HDMI2 are the HDMI 2.1 ports, each supporting ALLM, VRR and 4K 120Hz with an HDMI 2.1 bandwidth of 40 Gigabits per second, as confirmed by the EDID readout from the excellent Murideo Seven-G signal generator. Note that HDMI2 also carries out eARC duty, so if you’re using eARC to passthrough lossless audio from the JZ2000, you’ll be left with only one HDMI 2.1 port on HDMI1. Unlike on Sony TVs, selecting the 4K 120 HDMI mode didn’t remove Dolby Vision support, although Dolby Vision was still capped at 4K 60fps, as you can see from the Xbox information screen. Just like what we observed on the Hisense U8GQ with a Mediatek chipset, the Panasonic JZ2000 displayed Dolby Vision VRR games from the Xbox Series X with plenty of distortions especially during cutscenes and on in-game menus, prompting us to just forego Dolby Vision and go with 4K 120Hz HDR10 output from the console, relying on HGiG instead for tone-mapping.
Talking of which, even though the Panasonic JZ2000 doesn’t officially support HGiG, you can switch off [HDR Tonemap] to force the TV to hard clip, which is key to how HGiG works to prevent double tone-mapping. On 2021 models such as the JZ2000, Panasonic has made the [Clipping Threshold] setting more granular, such that it can be adjusted in increments of 10 rather than 50 nits. The [Clipping Threshold] value will correspond exactly to the MaxTML and MaxFFTML parameters that you can set on HGiG-compliant consoles… for example, setting [Clipping Threshold] to 500 nits on the JZ2000 will result in a clipping point and hence MaxTML of 500 nits on the Xbox Series X; a [Clipping Threshold] of 700 nits on the TV will lead you to set MaxTML to 700 nits on the console, and so on and so forth. After much experimentation, we concluded that a [Clipping Threshold] of nine hundred and fifty nits was the optimal setting to take full advantage of the natural hard-clipping point and the highest peak brightness offered by the Panasonic JZ2000, and you should set your Xbox Series X and PS5 as such too. Due to limitations of the Mediatek chipset used, the JZ2000 currently could only display 4K 120fps video signal at halved vertical resolution, although to be fair, the loss of resolution wasn’t really noticeable in console games… Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart on the PS5 still looked stunning at 4K 120 thanks to OLED’s insane contrast that remained intact in [Game Mode]. Panasonic has promised a firmware update later in the year to restore full 3840 x 2160 resolution at 120fps without VRR, and will make a future announcement regarding the status of 3840 times 2160 resolution WITH VRR, but judging from the amount of signal interference we saw on this HDR10 mixed resolution test pattern at 120fps… let’s just say we’re not optimistic about the prospect of 4K 120Hz, HDR, VRR all working simultaneously without a hitch on the JZ2000, or in fact any HDMI 2.1 TV using the Mediatek chipset.
There’s a [VRR] setting in the picture menu that has to be turned on manually before the TV will be recognised as VRR-capable… we managed to get the Nvidia G-Sync Penjulum demo to work from an RTX 3090 graphics card, allowing for buttery smooth motion without tearing or stuttering. Note that engaging VRR will also enable Game Mode and disable 5:5 pulldown, so you will need to disable VRR manually if you wish to watch movies on the same HDMI input without telecinic judder. Similarly, if you have disabled [HDR Tonemap] earlier to simulate HGiG when playing games, you will have to remember to re-enable [HDR Tonemap] to watch HDR movies on the same HDMI input, particularly those graded to 4000 nits.
To avoid the hassle of having to making these manual adjustments every time you switch from playing games to watching movies, and vice versa, it’s recommended that you just play games on one HDMI input, and watch movies on another HDMI input. Otherwise, the Panasonic JZ2000 reproduced full 4:4:4 chroma in [Game Mode], and exhibited some posterisation even at the 10-bit level on this DisplayHDR test pattern, matching what we saw in HDR films as discussed earlier in this video. VRR flicker remained present in certain games especially on in-game menus… this is a hardware issue of the OLED module supplied by LG Display, and will affect all OLED TVs supporting VRR until the next hardware refresh. Design-wise, the OLED screen is supported on a swivel stand with a circular base. In addition to front-firing and upfiring speakers which have been tuned by Technics, the Panasonic JZ2000 also features a pair of side-firing speakers to provide an immersive Dolby Atmos experience. To optimise the sound for your viewing environment, we recommend going through the [Space Tune Adjustment] procedure, although be warned that you have to wait a while for the process to complete while holding the remote control for test tones to register on the microphone… it felt longer than the toilet queue on an Easyjet flight to Lanzarote.
Overall, the speakers on the Panasonic JZ2000… marketed as 360 degree Soundscape Pro by the company… delivered the most convincing Atmos bubble we’ve heard from an in-TV audio system to date. Bass was sufficiently deep and powerful, and if that’s still not enough for you… you basshead… you can connect an external subwoofer to the headphone jack, and toggle the output through the user menu. We did find vocals to be a bit flat and shrill... slightly lacking in melodic clarity, but we
suppose that’s why most AV enthusiasts would go with an external home theatre system with dedicated centre channel at extra cost. We think the supplied remote control is a downgrade from the premium one shipped with Panasonic’s previous flagship OLEDs. It has a nice weight to it and has plenty of buttons with good space in between, but the front fascia is now plastic rather than metallic, and the remote is no longer backlit… the last thing we need is more instances of fumbling in the dark to try and find the right button.
In contrast to LG’s WebOS 6.0 and Sony’s Google TV platforms which take up the entire screen, Panasonic’s My Home Screen 6.0 UI is lightweight and responsive, occupying only the bottom part of the screen.Many of the key streaming apps are available, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Youtube, Rakuten TV, and all the UK catch-up TV apps thanks to Freeview Play, with notable omissions being Disney Plus and Apple TV. There’s also a new MyScenery function which lets you display either pre-loaded or your own images or videos on screen, similar to what’s offered by Samsung’s Ambient mode or the screensaver mode on Android TV.
Let’s sum up. The Panasonic JZ2000 brings a number of improvements over last year’s HZ2000 OLED… the longstanding issue of microstutter however rare in smokey or foggy HDR movies has now been fixed… there’s no more frame skipping in TV-led Dolby Vision playback of certain Dolby Vision 4K Blu-rays… and of course there’s a host of gaming-related upgrades including lower input lag, HDMI 2.1, 4K 120 and VRR support. However, it’s not all good news, because the Panasonic JZ2000 actually regressed in a handful of areas compared with the HZ2000.
Near-black gradation appeared coarser on the JZ2000, and in fact we noticed more posterisation artefacts in 10-bit HDR movies than we’ve ever seen before on a Panasonic OLED. To clarify, the posterisation on the JZ2000 wasn’t visibly worse than what’s found on the LG C1 and G1… needless to say, the Sony A80J and A90J are the clear leader in this respect. But unlike LG, Panasonic hasn’t provided any sort of [Smooth Gradation] de-contouring filter to mitigate the issue. By now, some of you clever cookies may have already guessed the reason behind this deterioration in gradation particularly above-black. Near-black being rendered at lower bit-depth… no [Smooth Gradation] de-contouring filter… halved vertical resolution in 4K 120 mode… we’ve reported these findings on the Sony XH90 or X900H before, and all signs point to the Mediatek HDMI 2.1 SoC being the culprit. To be fair, we don’t think Panasonic had a choice… unless a TV brand can develop its own SoC like what LG and Samsung have done, the company would have had to use a third-party SoC to add HDMI 2.1 capabilities, and the Mediatek chipset is by far the most
mature on the open market, adopted not only by Panasonic, but also Sony, Philips, Hisense, TCL, Vizio… basically every manufacturer besides LG and Samsung on their high-end TVs. Had Panasonic not offered HDMI 2.1 in the year 2021, they would have been lambasted by many including ourselves. It is just a shame that the company had to give up its advantage in near-black handling to add HDMI 2.1 gaming features which don’t really come close to matching what gaming
leader LG is already offering on the C1 and G1. If I sounded a bit downbeat in this review, that’s not my intention at all, so I apologise in advance… it’s just that my expectations for any Panasonic flagship OLED are sky high, and I believe in presenting all the pros and cons of every TV I review to help you make an informed purchase decision. At the end of the day, the Panasonic JZ2000 is still one of the best OLED TV you can buy in 2021, with class-leading out-of-the-box colour accuracy, outstanding shadow detailing, strong video processing, stable motion, impactful HDR by OLED standards, multi-HDR support, low input lag, and the most convincing Atmos bubble from any TV’s onboard speakers. It earns our “Highly Recommended” award. To watch some of our other technical OLED TV reviews, please click here for our playlist, and I’ll see you in the next video.