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Last week at the Las Vegas CES show Panasonic unveiled an impressive addition to its Ultra-HD line-up of 4K models, a LCD unit (branded the DX900 model) described as the world’s first ‘Ultra HD Premium’ displays. The units will be available in 58” and 65” versions. Not to be undone, Samsung and LG also cite Ultra HD Premium badges.
This TV set is – quite literally – brilliant. Like the other mainstream manufacturers showcasing their 2016 high-end models (Sony, Samsung and LG) this unit is fully ready to embrace the new ‘reference standard’ from the UHD Alliance’s (UHDA) set of high-level picture performance criteria. The UHDA demands an ability to handle High Dynamic Range (HDR) images.
The DX900 handles the specification with ease, saying its display can generate extremely bright peaks of light at up to 1000 nits (from the Latin ‘nitere’ to shine) and a term now commonly applied by manufacturers to showcase their display’s potential. More importantly, these HDR-enabled displays are compliant with the ‘better pixel’ mantra demanded by broadcasters and is especially useful during sports events when half of the pitch is in sunshine and the other half in shade. HDR helps solve this problem, as well as much improved handling of bright sunshine and dark shadows.
The DX900 has won recognition from George Lucas’ THX, and is certified by THX for its picture quality and image accuracy.
But the DX900 is full of other acronyms, not least the HCX+ label (which stands for Hollywood Cinema eXperience plus), and comes pre-installed with Firefox OS for speedy handling of on-screen Apps.
So, as well as Samsung’s SUHD, we now have Panasonic’s Ultra HD Premium slice of marketing effort. LG is sticking with its “Super UHD” as well as its OLED range of UHD units, while Sony is no slouch in the marketing department with its 4K HDR / Android OS and X-Reality PRO labels. Sony is also arguing that its ‘Slim Backlight Drive’ edge LED – on its high-end 55” and 65” X930D models – is an improvement over “conventional” direct LED lighting. The Sony X930D models claim 4000 nits lighting ability.
Buyers, no doubt keen to inspect all of these models and make their own determination as to which is best, will be able to get their hands on the new 2016 UHD/HDR models towards the end of February-March.