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Panasonic Talks 4K Pro Technology

Panasonic Corporation announced details of its 4K Pro technology at IFA 2015.

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Unedited press release follows:

4K Pro Technology: See Exactly What The Director Intended

Berlin, Germany (2nd September 2015) – Panasonic combines hardware and processing innovations with picture quality tuning by a professional Hollywood colourist on its new OLED TV to deliver its most accurate picture quality ever.

What is 4K Pro?
Panasonic developed its 4K Pro premium range of TVs to deliver a new standard of television picture quality closer than ever before to the exact vision of film directors and cinematographers. It does this by combining the advanced professional-level processing power of Panasonic’s 4K Studio Master Processor with custom-built panels that deliver at least approx. 90% of the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) colour range.

Now, to celebrate the launch of its ground-breaking TX-65CZ950 OLED TV, Panasonic has taken 4K Pro even further.

Bringing Hollywood Home
To make absolutely sure that the TX-65CZ950’s combination of 4K Pro and OLED technologies really does deliver absolute and unique accuracy to the filmmakers’ vision, Panasonic has worked with renowned Hollywood colourist Mike Sowa to tune and approve the TV’s picture quality.

Sowa, who is best known for his work on films such as Oblivion and Insurgent, says of working with Panasonic 4K Pro on the TX-65CZ950: “Panasonic is proving their commitment to excellence by engineering their newest 4K Pro TV to satisfy my professional standard of zero compromise.  My world of visual storytelling is based around color accuracy and the need for a display that compliments the creative vision.  Panasonic has engineered their newest 4K Pro OLED TV to a standard that I would only expect in professional displays.”

Sowa’s involvement with the new generation of 4K Pro comes about through the close collaborative relationships Panasonic has enjoyed with Hollywood since setting up its Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory (PHL) back in 1993 to establish industry standards and develop technologies dedicated to the pursuit of picture quality excellence. As PHL Vice President/Director Ron Martin puts it: “The Panasonic Hollywood Lab provides an important link between the Hollywood creative community and product design and development that we take very seriously. Our legacy has been one of uncompromising excellence in picture quality. Working with a colorist like Mike Sowa and the caliber of work he represents and having him involved in the tuning process of the picture quality gives us an advantage that cannot be understated.”

4K Pro Background
From television’s earliest days we’ve had to accept that we never get to see at home what film directors truly intended when they made their masterpieces. Reproducing a signal accurately on a TV requires highly complex processing so as to adjust the signal according to the characteristics of the panel technology. In many cases this is not done accurately resulting in a picture which either cannot reproduce certain colours and details (for example deep blacks and details in low-light scenes) or adds over-saturated colours which are not in the original signal in order to make the TV appear superficially more appealing.

For Panasonic, however, faithfully recreating a director’s vision has long been its guiding picture quality principle and has accordingly harnessed its decades of experience in the video world and professional-level picture processing technology to develop its 4K Pro premium TV range, including its flagship CX800 and recently released, ultra-stylish CR850 curved TVs – as well, now, as its trail-blazing TX-65CZ950 OLED TV. At long last film and TV fans can get to see at home a full and accurate expression of a film director’s original artistic vision.

Great picture quality isn’t only about resolution
For Panasonic, 4K resolution is just one part of an immersive and accurate picture experience. So while the new 4K Pro picture engine certainly maximises the impact of 4K’s 38440×2160 pixel count, it also deploys a whole raft of technologies – including both panel design and processing systems – to address all the other key aspects of TV picture quality too.

The 4K Studio Master Processor
The proprietary TV picture processor from Panasonic has been designed from the ground up to produce pictures that are totally faithful to a director’s vision. It draws on the huge resource of picture knowledge accumulated over decades by the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory, plasma TV division and internationally respected professional AV business to deliver unprecedentedly accurate colour, uniquely satisfying contrast, and phenomenal brightness and dynamism.

Accurate Colour Drive: Panasonic has introduced to consumer televisions the 3D Lookup Table system previously only found at the same level in professional monitors. This system provides a volumetric approach to colour space control whereby a change in any one input colour causes cross-colour changes in all of the table’s output colours. The result is a much more accurate rendition of colour tones at different brightness levels than you get with normal TVs, which don’t generally employ any lookup table technology.

Even conventional TVs that do offer 3D Lookup Table usually only offer red, green and blue control, whereas on the Panasonic CR850, CX800 and CZ950 TVs the table also references the cyan, magenta and yellow colours across a total of 8000 registry points (versus a typical 100), resulting in the sort of professional-grade colour accuracy used by directors and cinematographers when they’re editing their films. The CZ950 additionally offers a picture preset, True Cinema, containing the picture quality settings tuned and approved by Hollywood colourist Mike Sowa.

Black Gradation Drive for LCD: Normally LCD TVs control their backlights and gain settings separately, using 8-bit processing to deliver 256 steps of gradation. With its 4K Studio Master Processor though, Panasonic has brought the backlight control and gain adjustment picture controls together under the same processing umbrella for the first time so that they can work in tandem to deliver more accurate local light levels. What’s more, it uses 10-bit driving to produce 1024 steps of gradation. What this means in picture terms is that you see vastly more shadow detail and subtler, more accurate colour toning in dark parts of the picture, avoiding that hollow, flat, washed-out look commonly seen with dark scenes on normal LCD TVs.

Absolute Black Gradation Drive for OLED:  OLED’s ability to deliver a new level of black level response – which Panasonic calls Absolute Black – has actually been a challenge for OLED TV makers, since the shift from complete blackness to just above black is a very difficult gradation step to render. However, 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.

HDR Compatible: the 4K Studio Master Processor in the TX-65CZ950 is enabled to support the playback of native High Dynamic Range (HDR) content as per the standards recently announced by the CEA.HDR uses a combination of specially created content and super-bright, colour-rich screens to deliver images containing a much wider luminance range than any traditional TV. This means you can enjoy pictures with more contrast, richer colours, and greatly enhanced shadow and colour detail.

Wide Colour Phosphor LCD Panels
The second key 4K Pro element in the Panasonic CX800 and CR850 LCD TVs is their use of LED panels using new Wide Colour Phosphor technology that have been custom built to to complement the work of the Panasonic 4K Studio Master Processor. These panels can reproduce at maximum a remarkable 98% of the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) colour space – 5% more than you get from the latest Quantum Dot panels – and also provide 10-bit colour processing to deliver 64 times more colours than you get with a typical 8-bit LCD panel.

This translates into you being able to see a range of colours on your TV much closer in tone and subtlety – especially in areas of red and green – to those you would see if you went to see a film at your local cinema. In other words, once again Panasonic TVs are uniquely well qualified to let you enjoy pictures at home that look almost exactly the way directors wanted them to look when they shot them.

Super Bright LCD Panels
It’s not just colours that benefit from the latest premium Panasonic LCD panel design. They’re also ultra-transmissive, enabling them to produce almost twice as much brightness per watt of power as a conventional panel. As well as helping colours achieve a more cinematic range, this makes the new flagship Panasonic TVs ideally suited to native high dynamic range playback. Or, alternatively, they could be run at ‘normal’ brightness levels while saving you money on your electricity bill.

About Panasonic
Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development of diverse electronics technologies and solutions for customers in the consumer electronics, housing, automotive, enterprise solutions and device industries. Since its founding in 1918, the company has expanded globally and now operates 468 subsidiaries and 94 associated companies worldwide, recording consolidated net sales of 7.715 trillion yen for the year ended March 31, 2015. Committed to pursuing new value through innovation across divisional lines, the company uses its technologies to create a better life and a better world for its customers. To learn more about Panasonic: