Panasonic Working Towards OLED Screens, Unveils New Streaming Features Latest TVs

by on September 8, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – September 08, 2014

During the IFA 2014 Consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany, Panasonic has expanded its 4K UHD TV lineup considerably. In addition to revealing its most affordable 4K TV so far under the Viera AX630 series, the company has also announced new streaming content capability for all of its upcoming ASX902 – AX900 and currently on sale AX802 – AX800 TVs.

This streaming capacity comes in the form of finally allowing Netflix and Amazon Prime shows to be played on the specific Panasonic TV sets and with plans to make sure that all future 4K TV sets from the company are capable o the same content options; something that’s crucial given the already scarce menu of 4K content found on the web or elsewhere.

More interesting still, Panasonic has also used IFA 2014 to unveil a new 65 inch prototype 4K OLED TV. This is a major development for the company and industry as a whole given that 4K TVs with OLED screens are still a largely experimental venture. So far in fact, the only company with plans to immediately start selling an actual OLED 4K TV line is LG and many believe they’ve jumped the gun given the TVs price tags and deficiencies.

According to Yuki Kusumi, director of the home entertainment business division at Panasonic, the company wants to use the concept of TV models to gauge the audience’s response and gain input from IFA attendees before they actually go ahead and start mass producing their OLED 4K prototype.

So far however, the company strictly refuses to make any statements about a possible launch date or potential price. Their only explanation for a possible Panasonic 4K OLED release is that they are exploring the technology’s possibilities.

However, according to attendees at the IFA conference, the prototype OLED itself certainly looked and played impressively with an exquisite rendering of blacks and extremely vibrant color gradients.

For now, we’ll just have to wait and see what Panasonic does with its OLED concept within the context of the wider market. More likely than not, the company is waiting to see how LG’s own OLED 4K sales pan out before committing itself to a firm production investment.

Returning to less speculative themes, the company also took advantage of IFA 2014 to publicize the fact that its highly anticipated series of new AX900 – 902 4K UHD TVs will finally be coming out with HDMI 2.0 built into them and also have the ability to decode HEVC compressed content streams.

Panasonic AX900 on Display

Panasonic’s AX900 line of 4K TVs


This means excellent refresh rates for 4K content played from third party devices (thanks to the HDMI 2.0) and the ability to stream the latest 4K offerings from the growing collections of both Netflix and Amazon Prime Studios.

Additionally, the HEVC compatibility will be retroactively applied to the existing AX800 – 802 range of Panasonic 4K TVs. This is a competitive step aimed at not lagging behind Sony and Samsung, both of which already offer HEVC for the latest 4K streams in their existing TVs.

According to Yuki Kusumi, the delays in making their latest 4K sets compatible with 4K weren’t due to hardware issues in the TVs but instead were caused by problems with content licensing and certification for HEVC.

Unfortunately, lower model 4K TVs from Panasonic, such as the also recently released budget UHD model the AX630, will still lack the ability to decode HEVC compressed content.

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