VIERA TX-CZ950 FrontPanasonic used the IFA Show in Berlin, Germany Wednesday to unveil its first 4K OLED TV – a 65-inch curved-screen model.

The company, which for years championed the superior contrast and off-angle viewing benefits of plasma TVs over LED LCD TVs, added its first OLED model, which will offer some of those same benefits, and better, along with an ultra-thin screen depth, and efficient power usage.

Panasonic discontinued plasma TV production in 2013, due to declining sales and profitability from the technology, and it has long been expected that it would look to introduce an OLED TV to fill the void.

Pricing for the 65-inch TX-65CZ950 has not yet been announced. Statements out of the IFA show said it would be shipping in the European market in October, but no word yet on when it will arrive in the U.S.

According to a spokesperson from Panasonic U.S., “these were Japan and Europe based announcements. Details on how they will translate to the U.S. market will be announced separately as details are finalized…in some cases not until CES.”

More on Panasonic’s first 4K Ultra HD OLED TV after the break:

In the meantime, Panasonic has been marketing lines of LED LCD TVs with strong color and brightness performance, but lacking the black level advantages that its former plasma TVs or LG’s OLED models delivered.

Like many of LG’s OLED TVs, Panasonic’s 65-inch TX-65CZ950 has a curved screen, but the company doesn’t specify where the OLED panel came from. Instead, Panasonic played up the superior video processing technology it is using in the set — “4K Studio Master Processor” to overcome performance deficiencies in existing competitive OLED products, like color accuracy and black level detail handling.

Panasonic said in a statement that “the shift from complete blackness to just above black is a very difficult gradation step to render” in other OLED implementations. Panasonic’s experience “with plasma technology has enabled it to solve the issue on the TX-65CZ950, resulting in unprecedentedly beautiful and precise detailing even in the very darkest picture areas.”

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“The TV also supports the new High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology, as per the standards recently announced by the CEA, that’s already making big waves in the video world,” Panasonic said in a statement. “HDR delivers images with wider luminance and color ranges for a much more dynamic, luminous, life-like look much closer to the experience you could previously only get at a good quality commercial digital cinema. In fact, OLED’s black level and greyscale performance make the TX-65CZ950 the perfect partner for HDR.”

Panasonic said the TX-65CZ950 is world’s first THX certified OLED TV, and the company has signed on Hollywood colorist Mike Sowa, (“Oblivion” and “Insurgent”) to “professionally tune” the color performance of the set.

“OLED is a very promising display technology but getting an accurate picture from an OLED TV is quite challenging. THX put the CZ950 through over 400 laboratory tests working with Panasonic engineers to make certain each pixel’s performance is accurate to the source content. The result is a television capable of creating bright objects with excellent white uniformity that delivers native 4K and up-converted HD images with the contrast and clarity previously reserved for professional monitors,” stated Eric Gemmer, THX Imaging Technologies director.

Panasonic said the set also employs comprehensive look-up table (LUT) technology to adjust for any color inaccuracy in the new OLED TV, and to correctly display content recorded in the Rec. 709 color space.

VIERA TX-65CZ950 Alcantara back

The set’s design was said to have been inspired by high-end contemporary furniture, using a 360 degree perspective. In includes an aluminum pedestal stand, a slim profile and curved back cover upholstered with Alcantara.

 By Greg Tarr

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