December 2, 2022


Panasonic scored a crucial and business hit in 2019 with its higher mid-range GX800 sequence of TVs. They managed to discover a candy spot between options, efficiency and worth that proved significantly laborious to withstand. 

Not surprisingly, then, Panasonic is hoping for equally nice issues from the GX800’s successors, the cunningly named HX800s. And on paper, a minimum of, they definitely look as if they’ve what it takes.

The precise mannequin I’ve earlier than me is the £1,399, 65-inch TX-65HX800. And a really good trying set it’s too. The best way the display screen sits barely pleased with an exceptionally slim, high-gloss body creates an impressively trendy, opulent look that feels method above such an inexpensive TV’s pay grade. 

The highest half of its rear may be very slim too – although inevitably this has to offer approach to a little bit of bulge over the underside half to create space for connections, processors, audio system and so forth. 

Format war-hating AV followers shall be delighted to listen to that the HX800s observe within the GX800s’ wonderful footsteps by supporting each the Dolby Imaginative and prescient and HDR10+ HDR codecs. 

These two ‘dynamic’ HDR codecs each carry additional scene by scene picture knowledge you don’t get with the essential HDR10 format, enabling suitable TVs to ship higher HDR footage. Sadly, although, many TV manufacturers – together with Samsung, Sony and LG – solely help one format or the opposite. Although there’s content material on the market that’s solely out there in a single format or the opposite.

So, as an illustration, if you need one of the best efficiency from the Alien 4K Blu-ray, you’ll want a TV that may play HDR10+. However if you need one of the best from the Saving Non-public Ryan 4K Blu-ray, you’ll want a TV that helps Dolby Imaginative and prescient. If you’d like one of the best image high quality from Netflix, you’ll want a TV that helps Dolby Imaginative and prescient. However if you need one of the best image high quality from Amazon Prime Video, you’ll want a TV that helps HDR10+. (Although Amazon does additionally carry a number of titles in Dolby Imaginative and prescient). 

So what you actually need, in fact, is a TV that performs each of the premium HDR codecs. Just like the 65HX800.

Panasonic’s shopper pleasant format-neutral strategy is especially noteworthy provided that it was a founder member of the HDR10+ group. We will however hope that different presently partisan TV manufacturers study to be equally open-minded sooner or later.

Dolby Imaginative and prescient isn’t the one Dolby know-how the 65HX800 helps. It additionally carries built-in decoding of Dolby’s object-based Atmos sound format. This isn’t backed up by the form of in depth multi-channel speaker arrange present in Panasonic’s flagship HX2000 OLED fashions. The truth is, the 65HX800 solely carries a 2 x 10W speaker system. Hopefully, although, the audio processing can nonetheless get some worth out of the TV’s Atmos chops.

Panasonic’s format generosity doesn’t prolong to built-in decoding of the opposite object-based sound format, DTS:X. However the 65HX800 is way from distinctive on this respect. 

The Dolby help stops in need of the brand new Dolby Imaginative and prescient IQ system, which intelligently adjusts Dolby Imaginative and prescient photographs in response to ambient gentle ranges. If you’d like this function – together with the brand new ‘Hollywood-approved’ Filmmaker mode – you’ll want considered one of Panasonic’s 2020 OLED TVs. 

The HX800s are vital, although, for being the most cost effective TVs in Panasonic’s 2020 vary to get the model’s newest HCX Processor. Born from a mixture of Panasonic’s lengthy TV expertise and movie business contacts established via its Hollywood Laboratory, HCX is designed to handle all the important thing image attributes – color, distinction, sharpness, movement and so forth – with a view to staying true to artistic intent. ‘Hollywood To Your House’, the Panasonic slogan goes. Significantly placing to see on a TV at this worth is a high-grade 3D color Look-Up Desk (LUT).

The 65HX800’s VA-type LCD panel is edge-lit and makes use of native dimming. The subtlety with which this dimming works, although, implies that I couldn’t inform for positive what number of traces of dimming it makes use of. 

Panasonic describes the 65HX800’s panel as a ‘Shiny Panel Plus’ mannequin. Nevertheless, even within the comparatively aggressive Regular image preset which, I feel, will get probably the most balanced and gratifying efficiency out of the panel, I solely measured round 450 nits of sunshine output on a white HDR window masking 10% of the display screen. There are 4K LCD TVs on the market that may hit greater than 2000 nits with the identical take a look at sign. Although these TVs will sometimes use direct somewhat than edge LED lighting, and price a complete lot more cash. 

Sensible options on the 65HX800 are supplied by My Homescreen 5.0. In some methods this proprietary Panasonic system may be very likeable. Its residence display screen, as an illustration, is economical within the excessive, carrying simply 4 icons in its out of the field state. It solely takes a few button presses so as to add extra icons of your selection, although – akin to direct hyperlinks to, say, Netflix, or Amazon Prime.

Freeview Play is readily available within the UK, too, to supply all the important thing terrestrial broadcaster catch up TV companies. 

There are, although, a few main app absentees: Disney+ and Apple TV+. And on the time of writing there was phrase on when/if these could be added. So I can think about that for many individuals, regardless of how easy My Homescreen 5.0 could be to make use of, some form of exterior streaming gadget – an Apple TV or Amazon Fireplace Stick, say – should be factored into their new TV spend.

The 65HX800’s connections solely embody three HDMIs when many rivals supply 4. These HDMIs are restricted within the bandwidth they will carry too, providing no help for the 120Hz 4K feeds set to doubtlessly turn out to be an enormous cope with the upcoming next-generation consoles. Nor do they provide help for variable gaming refresh charges.

The HDMIs do, a minimum of, help computerized low latency mode switching, the place the TV routinely prompts its low enter lag Sport image preset when it detects a gaming supply. What’s extra, when the 65HX800 talks about ‘low latency’ for gaming, it means it. Enter lag measures simply 10.1ms with Sport mode lively – an outstandingly low consequence solely (marginally) bettered up to now this yr by the sub 10ms determine achieved by some Samsung TVs. In contrast to these Samsung TVs, although, the 65HX800’s image high quality doesn’t take an enormous hit with the Sport mode lively.

The 65HX800 provides ARC help over HDMI too, that means you should use it to move Dolby Atmos sound via to suitable soundbars or AVRs within the compressed DD+ format. It’s not an eARC HDMI system, although, so you possibly can’t use it to move via lossless Dolby Atmos delivered to the TV from 4K Blu-rays utilizing the TrueHD supply format.

Oddly the default ‘Auto’ HDMI Audio Format Output choice solely delivers PCM by way of ARC when watching exterior sources. I needed to manually set it to Bitstream for Dolby Atmos to be handed via. Though Atmos labored OK in Auto mode when utilizing built-in streaming apps. 

Different connections are broadly as you’ll count on; Tuner, RJ45, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and so forth. The one uncommon one is the choice to change the headphone jack right into a subwoofer line out to be able to add an non-compulsory additional exterior bass speaker.

The 65HX800 is the most cost effective TV I’ve examined up to now in 2020. So it’s inevitable that it’s going to include one or two efficiency strings connected versus the extra high-end units I’ve seen. The truth is, one such ‘string’ turns into apparent just about instantly, within the form of a black degree efficiency that falls a way in need of not simply OLED TVs, however all of the direct-lit LCD TVs I’ve examined this yr.

In different phrases, darkish scenes, a minimum of while you’re watching HDR content material, are likely to look darkish gray somewhat than black. 

That is to some extent just about unavoidable, although, given the difficulties edge LED lighting techniques have with native gentle management. Placing the inkiest blacks on the identical display screen as punchy whites and colours simply isn’t potential. One thing has to offer. And within the 65HX800’s case, it sometimes chooses – to my thoughts appropriately given it solely has 450 nits to play with – to sacrifice black degree depth somewhat than brightness. 

The 65HX800’s greyness can flatten darkish photographs and darkish areas of combined brightness photographs just a little. However with HDR10 and HDR10+ photographs the marginally gray look to darkish scenes doesn’t forestall the set from delivering loads of delicate shadow detailing. And let’s bear in mind, once more, that we’re speaking right here a few well-featured 65-inch LCD TV that prices simply £1,399. In that context, the 65HX800’s HDR black ranges are greater than respectable.

Additionally, whereas followers of black degree would possibly want the 65HX800’s native dimming system was extra aggressive in its makes an attempt to ship deeper black tones, its comparatively delicate strategy with HDR10 and HDR10+ sources does imply that you simply don’t typically really feel distracted by localised backlight blooms, clouds or stripes. 

The 65HX800’s backlight is reassuringly secure throughout darkish HDR10 and HDR10+ sources, too. In different phrases, the auto backlighting controls aren’t over-aggressive or hyperactive on the subject of tweaking baseline brightness throughout darkish scenes. 

On an identical be aware, not like LG’s rival 65NANO90 (NANO906 within the UK) LCD TV, the 65HX800 doesn’t distractingly flip its backlight absolutely off throughout fade to blacks. This does imply that it fades to darkish gray somewhat than black – however for me that is preferable to the distraction concerned with clearly seeing a backlight change proper off after which flick again on once more. 

Having talked about the LG 65NANO90, that mannequin’s direct LED lighting and native dimming means it could ship barely darker black ranges (spectacular contemplating it makes use of a historically low-contrast IPS kind of LCD panel) and barely brighter HDR picture peaks than the 65HX800. Nevertheless it prices barely extra, and in addition to the distracting backlight on/off flicker throughout fade to blacks, it’s extra vulnerable to backlight ‘blooming’ round stand out shiny objects. Particularly compared with a 65HX800 operating HDR10 or HDR10+ content material. The 65HX800’s Dolby Imaginative and prescient backlight state of affairs is unexpectedly extra sophisticated, as I’ll clarify later.

The 65HX800’s brightness sometimes seems to be greater than the measured 450-nit peak would counsel. This seems to be due partly to the surprisingly localised peak brightness punch the display screen can ship by edge LED requirements, and partly to the display screen’s skill to attain and maintain excessive brightness ranges proper throughout the display screen throughout shiny HDR sequences.

The 65HX800 impresses, too, with the way it handles element within the brightest components of HDR footage. A shot of the solar rising behind a floating Neverland within the aggressively mastered 4K Blu-ray of Pan, as an illustration, reveals numerous delicate particulars, shading and shade info within the clouds across the solar. Plus the 65HX800 permits you to respect the distinction between the glowing ball of the solar and the brilliant aura that sits immediately round it. On lesser HDR TVs the closest clouds to the solar are likely to look flat and undetailed, whereas the ball of solar and surrounding aura are likely to get blended into one detail-free white blob. 

One unusual commentary whereas finding out this Pan sequence was that the True Cinema setting washes a lot shade out of it that it nearly turns into black and white. A degree of desaturation that I discover it laborious to imagine really represents the way in which the filmmakers needed this shot to look. 

Because of this I sometimes discovered myself sticking with a tweaked model of the 65HX800’s default Regular image preset, even when watching movies, somewhat than the True Cinema mode that you simply would possibly suppose from its title (and previous expertise) would give probably the most cinematic outcomes. 

Native 4K footage look decently crisp and detailed. Not spectacularly so, maybe, in contrast with a number of the photographs we see lately from the likes of Samsung and Philips (Europe) particularly. However there’s a stunning naturalism to the extent of sharpness and element within the 65HX800’s footage that feels natural, delicate and true to the supply materials. 

Element ranges and sharpness stay fairly constant when there’s movement to deal with, too. Panasonic’s Clever Body Creation movement processor works significantly better in 2020 than it has in previous years, producing far fewer undesirable unwanted effects. Offered, anyway, that you simply persist with its Mid or Low modes. 

Additionally a lot improved is Panasonic’s Clear Movement choice, which makes use of black body insertion know-how to create a extra cinematic, 24 frames a re-examination. This reduces brightness a lot much less closely on the 65HX800 than such modes normally do, and doesn’t turn out to be distractingly flickery.

Even if you happen to flip all movement processing off, as so many stars of the film world need you to, judder and movement blur stay fairly properly dealt with for a mid-range TV. For me, although, the movement processing choices are efficient sufficient to a minimum of warrant experimentation. The one pity is that there’s no Customized movement mode, the place you would possibly be capable of effective tune the judder and blur settings to your individual satisfaction. 

The 65HX800 takes the identical refinement-over-spectacle strategy to paint that it takes with sharpness. So whereas saturations may not at all times seem as explosively vibrant as they do on some rival TVs, they at all times look superbly balanced and ultra-natural. Through the notoriously powerful to deal with daylight desert sequences on the Mad Max: Fury Highway 4K Blu-ray, as an illustration, sun-drenched pores and skin tones and acres of sand all look impressively subtly delineated. 

In additional intensely toned areas, in the meantime, such because the ultra-vivid sundown Max is dragged in direction of close to the movie’s begin, or the extraordinary flames of the movie’s flame throwers, the colour palette retains an impeccably genuine really feel somewhat than trying pressured or overly-red as it could with many rival mid-range LCD TVs. 

With HD normal dynamic vary content material the 65HX800 doesn’t ship as a lot sharpness and upscaled element as you get with a number of the new TVs that use ‘AI’ processing of their upscaling techniques. Whereas the outcomes look extra like enhanced HD than near-4K, although, they don’t look smooth or plasticky. Particularly as the colour precision supplied by the 65HX800’s HCX processor means it could reproduce the smallest tonal variation withins SDR’s comparatively restricted color vary with a level of accuracy and steadiness that’s significantly uncommon on such an inexpensive 65-inch TV. 

The 65HX800 gives a Dynamic Vary Remaster processor that may convert SDR to HDR. That is so delicate that its outcomes really feel extra like a delicate distinction enhance than something really HDR. However given how unnatural aggressive HDR upconversions sometimes look, Panasonic’s comparatively delicate strategy is for me a power somewhat than a weak point. Significantly because it stops colours from changing into strained or cartoony. Solely pores and skin tones are likely to look a contact much less pure than they do if you happen to go away SDR as SDR, so general the Dynamic Vary Remaster is value a minimum of attempting, even when in the end you determine to not keep it up.

Whereas the Panasonic 65HX800 turns in a very refined and immersive image efficiency for its cash with most kinds of content material, there are a trio of points (past the already talked about barely gray blacks) to cowl.

The display screen is fairly reflective, for one factor. Plus, as normal with inexpensive VA panels, viewing angles are fairly restricted. Colours can begin to desaturate and black ranges can begin to cut back if you happen to watch the display screen from any greater than 25-30 levels off axis. 

The oddest downside I discovered with the 65HX800, although, is the extent to which the backlight system struggles with Dolby Imaginative and prescient content material. Or to be extra particular, very darkish Dolby Imaginative and prescient content material. 

Two of my go to scenes for assessing how properly TVs can deal with darkish scenes seem within the 4K Blu-ray of It (which carries a Dolby Imaginative and prescient grasp). One is the opening sequence (particularly the sequence with Georgie within the basement), the opposite is the place Patrick Hockstetter involves a clown-induced finish within the sewers. And each of those sequences trigger the 65HX800 some fairly vital issues.

First, whereas Dolby Imaginative and prescient’s additional scene by scene metadata helps the 65HX800 ship extra dynamic vary, with a noticeable additional depth to shiny highlights, this could trigger native dimming ‘bloom’ to turn out to be extra noticeable. Particularly within the black bars above and under huge side ratio movies. These black bars look barely greyer with Dolby Imaginative and prescient sources than they do with HDR10 and HDR10+, too.

Black ranges and shadow element are lowered, too, in the course of the two It sequences in Dolby Imaginative and prescient mode – and this could have the knock on impact of barely desaturating colors in darkish areas. Though Dolby Imaginative and prescient tends to make colours in It’s shiny Derry-by-daylight sequences look higher. 

The strangest subject, although is the backlight instability DV could cause in very darkish scenes. Utilizing both of the 65HX800’s Dolby Imaginative and prescient Shiny or Darkish presets finds the picture flickering fairly severely with the shot the place Georgie thinks he sees a pair of eyes peering at him within the darkness of the basement. Plus there are one or two actually sturdy and distracting sudden shifts within the photographs baseline brightness degree throughout It’s opening credit sequence. 

Switching to the 65HX800’s Dolby Imaginative and prescient Vivid mode fixes the flickering. Nevertheless it additionally causes an enormous enhance in noise in the course of the basement scene – perhaps as a result of the aggressiveness of this setting brings out stuff within the picture that we aren’t purported to see. This preset may also introduce a gaudy blue tone to some darkish areas, too – akin to, once more, the ‘eyes at midnight’ basement shot. 

The Hockstetter sewer sequence reveals the identical form of points. The baseline brightness shifts are gentler, however the native dimming causes extra noticeable backlight blooming within the black bars above and under the image. 

I ought to stress right here that these two It sequences are significantly excessive of their use of darkness, black degree and distinction. So the form of issues they trigger don’t crop up typically in wider viewing. However after they do seem, you definitely can’t fail to spot them. 

Shifting focus to the 65HX800’s audio, it’s fairly good. Offered, a minimum of, that you simply’re life like along with your expectations of the set’s Dolby Atmos implementation.

The pulsating Dolby Atmos soundtrack to Mad Max: Fury Highway, as an illustration, advantages from a surprisingly huge, clear soundstage for a TV boasting simply 2 x 10W of speaker energy. Through the flashback montage initially, as an illustration, you possibly can hear the haunting voices of Max’s previous clearly showing past the sides of the display screen. There’s even a delicate sense of peak as properly width to those dynamically panned and positioned audio ‘recollections’. 

Regardless of the shocking dimension of the 65HX800’s soundstage, the Mad Max Dolby Atmos combine constantly sounds coherent and balanced, with dialogue remaining locked to the display screen whereas different results, akin to off-screen gunshots or engine sounds, seem with rather more precision within the set’s wall of sound than anticipated.

Volumes may be pushed far greater than you’d suppose a 2x10W system may go too, with out the sound starting to compress or, besides in actually excessive conditions (that’ll be you, Blade Runner 2049 bass drops), distort. And the mid-range is open and expansive sufficient to broaden and retract as excessive mixes like Fury Highway’s demand.

The 65HX800’s skill to go loud with out distorting might owe a debt to its barely restrained strategy to bass. Nevertheless it’s at all times higher for a TV to work inside its audio limitations, it appears to me, than to attempt to push its audio system to locations they had been by no means designed to go.

Personally I feel the 65HX800’s sound shall be greater than ok to maintain most households joyful with out including an exterior subwoofer. However don’t overlook the choice is there if the 65HX800’s built-in audio system don’t scratch your bass itch.

Verdict

For probably the most half the 65HX800 is one other wonderful mid-range TV from Panasonic. Its footage are sometimes strong, its sound is much better than it has any proper to be (particularly if you happen to can feed in loads of Dolby Atmos), and its skill to deal with each HDR10+ and Dolby Imaginative and prescient shall be an enormous draw for a lot of AV followers. 

It could be good if Panasonic may add Disney+ and Apple TV+ apps sooner or later and, maybe, type out the Dolby Imaginative and prescient backlight points by way of a firmware replace. However even because it stands the 65HX800 has greater than sufficient happening to justify its £1,399 asking worth.

Should you discovered this text attention-grabbing, you may additionally get pleasure from these:

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