Panasonic’s AX800 4K TVs will Be Able to Play Netflix as of November 11th

by on October 28, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – October 28, 2014

As we’ve already covered here, Panasonic has joined the club of Sony, LG, Samsung and even Vizio in making sure that its latest TVs are equipped to handle Netflix 4K streaming content.

Now we have a firm date for an online firmware update that will roll out for all customers who have 2014 models of 4K TV models in their homes. The update applies particularly to AX800 models of Panasonics televisions.

The latest TVs from the company such as the new AX900, are already equipped to handle 4K streaming but slightly older sets were criticized by many for lacking this capacity.

The importance of being able to decode Netflix 4K streaming services revolves around a broader, more important capacity to decode the HEVC (H.265) video compression codec used by both Netflix and virtually all other web-based streaming 4K content providers to compress the data heavy media that the Ultra HD resolution entails.

Without this ability, no modern 4K TV set can display any of the content available from the most important streaming services on the market. Netflix is one of the leaders in this area and thus a crucial selling point for buyers of 4K TVs.

Breaking Bad on Netflix in 4K UHD

Breaking Bad is just one of the Netflix 4K streams AX800 users will now have access to

Since streaming is currently one of the main ways consumers have of accessing 4K content for their new Ultra HD TV set, the importance of HEVC compatibility for any brand is major.

According to Panasonic’s Senior Coordinator for Product Planning Toshihiro Takagi, customers who already own the AX800 line of Panasonic UHD TVs will get the benefit of Netflix compatibility as of the first half of November. The specific date currently scheduled for customers in all markets is November 11th, though this may change slightly in the next few days.

The fact that the AX800 –which was Panasonic’s latest 4K model up until the impending release of the even newer AX900– didn’t have access to Netflix and other 4K streams was a major point of criticism after the TV models July 2014 release on the international market.

The main problem that prevented earlier viability with Netflix in the Panasonic AX800 line apparently wasn’t specifically one of the HEVC decoder chip not working. Instead, it seems that the TVs software was incompatible with how the Netflix application worked in the TV.

The new firmware update for handling Netflix streams will bring the AX800 line back up to par with the main models of its competitors such as Sony and Samsung. It should be available to owners of the TVs via an OTA update.

Overall, this is great news for AX800 owners, since this single missing feature has been nearly the only major flaw in what is otherwise considered to be one excellent 4K TV model. The AX800 line is widely recognized for its excellent color reproduction, finely tuned contrast and sharp picture quality when it comes to displaying Ultra HD.

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