IFA: Panasonic AX900 Review (The First Look)

IFA: Panasonic AX900 Review (The First Look)

“In Berlin, Panasonic unveiled a final version of the new AX900, the top of the range LCD TV with native 4K resolution and local dimming, which has unlined performance that in some cases exceed those of the reference between Plasma TV: Panasonic ZT60 ”

Introduction: The characteristics of AX900

Berlin, September 4, 2014 Del new top of the range Panasonic AX900, already announced last March, we have already spoken widely. In Berlin, at the IFA, Panasonic has finally shown a practically definitive version and exactly how it happened in Las Vegas a while ago, I took a long time to analyze the image quality and make some shots with my new GH4 for report exactly what they saw my eyes.

Prior to announce my first impressions, some technical note on the new TV. On the contrary, when used for the excellent TV series AX800, using excellent panels with VA technology products Innolux and have a very high native contrast ratio for the new AX900 Panasonic has chosen to use a panel with IPS technology which has some benefits on the VA but that is more limited in native contrast ratio.

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In other words, with regard to color, smoothness and richness of nuances, Panasonic has chosen the IPS technology. To solve the problem of lower contrast ratio, decided to use a system of local dimming backlight “Direct LED” is particularly effective, with many areas of analysis and intervention that reduce considerably the effect of “halo”, the halo which usually shows in the border areas of high contrast.

In addition there is another problem that characterizes the LCD display with contrast ratio is not particularly high: the saturation of colors with very low brightness, which comes closest to black, more falls saturation. To solve this and other problems associated with accurate color reproduction, the new AX900 Panasonic has included a correction LUT with 8,000 (eight thousand!) Calibration points.

The comparison with the plasma ZT60

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The room of the comparison: on the left – the WT600; at the center – the new AX900; the right – ZT60

As had happened in Las Vegas a while ago (I talked about in this article), Panasonic has incorporated the new AX900 in a suitably darkened room between two TV reference: to the left a model without local dimming LCD, there is more to the right the current reference with regard to the TV for the consumer sector: the Panasonic ZT60 with the latest evolution of plasma technology. Obviously, I have focused my attention on the comparison between the new AX900 and ZT60. In the following photos, AX900 is on the left and ZT60 is right.

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The calibration of the two TV, performed with probe Minolta CS2000 been particularly successful. Was probably used as a reference color space REC 709 The colors are those of a broadcast reference monitor. The range is nothing short of extraordinary, such as the white balance along the gray scale. With the material available was not able to find differences between the two display if not in color reproduction, where the LCD had something more in terms of precision at very low levels of brightness.

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As for the black level is almost impossible to recognize what is between the two display with plasma technology. I say that it is almost impossible because in reality the plasma is recognizable, although with great difficulty. And is recognizable because the black level is actually very slightly (and I repeat: very slightly) higher !!! In other words, the black of this AX900 is perfect because in the black areas, the LEDs are probably off. At ZT60, although the black level is almost to the limits of measurement many probes, and in dark images with very little light, it is a fraction of a candle above the zero.

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Good news also regarding the halo effect: very well controlled as long as you are well positioned, with eyes more or less in the middle of the vertical axis. So much for the advantage of the new AX900 on ZT60 is already extraordinary and in part – for me – definitely unexpected. In all likelihood, within of AX900 there is a very high computing power that allows a very sophisticated management of both the local dimming that the reproduction of colors and shades.

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About nuances, here there’s just history. At close range the dithering of the plasma becomes visible and this is a problem without a solution. On the other hand, to correct distance vision for full HD images (approximately twice the base of the plasma TV) i8l dithering becomes invisible. The new AX900 instead is a 4K TV that requires an aspect ratio lower if you want to take advantage of the increased resolution. In this case there is no dithering and management of shades is nothing short of exemplary!

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There are only two things to check on this new AX900: the micro-contrast – both for static images that for those moving – and the presence of any artifacts both for the management of the local dimming, both for the frame interpolation. For this additional analysis will have to wait a few more weeks. For the rest, as far as I’m concerned, the new AX900 is passed with flying colors. The successor to the plasma probably arrived earlier than we could imagine.  Credit : avmagazine.it