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Panasonic TX-55MZ2000

This set uses the latest brightness-boosting Micro Lens Array (MLA) OLED screens, aided by a proprietary heat-dissipation system designed to ensure all that new brightness doesn’t cause any potential long-term damage to the OLED panel. The picture processing is literally straight out of Hollywood, courtesy of experience picked up working with filmmaking experts through Panasonic’s legendary Hollywood Laboratory - and the 55MZ2000’s pictures are tuned by one of the leading lights of the Hollywood professional mastering world, Stefan Sonnenfeld. Even the sound goes above and beyond in the quest for AV glory, with built-in Dolby Atmos decoding backed up by a true multi-channel speaker system.

Are there any catches hidden away among all this apparent home cinema gold, though? Or is the 55MZ2000 the real home cinema deal?

Picture quality

With the other new MLA OLED TVs (such as LG’s excellent G3 series), it’s been their new-found brightness that’s instantly grabbed my attention. With the 55MZ2000, though, I only start appreciating its MLA benefits after I’ve been blown away by a number of other picture strengths. Not because there’s anything half-baked about its use of MLA technology, but because pretty much everything else regarding its pictures is just so damned immaculate.

The first thing to blow me away about the 55MZ2000’s picture becomes apparent during dark scenes, rather than bright ones. Its ability to portray incredibly inky, rich black tones without a hint of low-contrast greyness is as present and correct as we’ve come to expect from almost every OLED screen. Where the 55MZ2000 goes to another level, though, is with its control over ‘near black’ details.

Even the faintest, darkest details are rendered without a hint of blocking or speckling noise, and not even the subtlest shading details in the darkest scenes are ‘crushed’ out of the picture. Tiny nuances and shifts in the overall light level of dark scenes are handled with total accuracy, and there are no ‘floating blacks’ (where baseline black levels fluctuate due to inadequate local light and power control). Dark areas never look too dominant in the picture balance, either.

It’s another subtle, rather than showy, part of the 55MZ2000’s image quality that catches my eye next, since it produces a degree of colour finesse right across the spectrum that few (if any) other TVs can match. Whether it’s shades of blue in bright HDR skies, the rich (but infinitely varied) greens of HDR woodland or trees, skin tones in either the harshest sunlight or darkest corners, everything almost always looks natural and beautifully balanced. And all this happens without the banding, blocking, ‘clumping’ or striping issues that can impact subtle HDR blends on lesser TVs. Panasonic’s Hollywood-inspired HCX AI processor, take a bow.

Moving on to the brightness that is, on paper at least, the 55MZ2000’s most headline-grabbing feature, I want to start by praising just how subtly the TV uses the massive available brightness when portraying the highlights of predominantly dark images. Things such as light reflecting off glass, or a torch punching through surrounding darkness, look stunningly intense thanks to OLED’s self-emissive pixel technology. Yet Panasonic scrupulously avoids the temptation to ‘show off’ when using its most cinematic, accurate presets, ensuring that while light peaks gleam with HDR ferocity, they don’t draw too much attention to themselves. They look real, rather than hyper-real. 

The 55MZ2000’s stepped-up brightness isn’t just evident in very small picture areas, of course. If you use the ‘Normal’ or (to a lesser extent) ‘Cinema’ picture preset and turn off the Ambient sensor settings, HDR images explode from the screen with levels of brightness that are hard to reconcile with anything I previously associated with OLED technology. Measurements reveal brightness levels of more than 1400 nits on a 10% white HDR window – this is an increase of almost 30 percent over anything Panasonic has achieved before.

This brightness plays through into the 55MZ2000’s colours, too, helping it get closer to the colour volumes achievable with professional mastering screens - and without losing any of Panasonic’s legendary colour finesse. In fact, having more light to play with merely enhances this finesse, as it allows the 55MZ2000 to spread its colour wings into new, realism-enhancing areas.

Provided you tone down the noise reduction options with some of the picture presets, the 55MZ2000’s obsession with subtlety ensures that its pictures always look beautifully detailed and crisp - regardless of whether you’re watching native 4K sources or upscaled HD.

Add to all the above viewing angles that are, essentially, infinite and it’s tough to find anything negative to say about its picture performance. But I guess I’d better give it a go… 

One is that brightness levels drop off substantially when an image floods the whole screen with light. This happens with all OLED TVs - and strangely (maybe because of how subtly the 55MZ2000 uses the light available to it) I’m seldom aware of this brightness ‘mismatch’ when watching real-world content.

Judder with 24Hz sources (without any motion processing active) can look a little inconsistent and distracting. Switching the set’s Intelligent Frame Creation system to its ‘low’ setting, though, greatly alleviates this problem without making films look like TV shows, or generating many unwanted processing side-effects. 

In the set’s relatively bright picture presets, grain in HDR sources can look a little exaggerated in the brightest areas. Yet if you try to tackle this with the provided noise reduction tools, it can introduce a touch of softness to some parts of the picture.

Finally, while I love how diverse the 55MZ2000’s picture presets are for HDR10 and SDR sources, catering for a wide range of image tastes and room conditions, I do find myself wishing for an extra Dolby Vision preset somewhere between the accurate-but-dark-room-oriented Dolby Vision Dark and crazily over-the-top Dolby Vision Vivid options. 

Sound quality

Thanks to its 150-watt multi-channel speaker configuration and chunky casework (clearly designed to provide room for the more powerful, dynamic speakers), I have great hopes for the 55MZ2000’s sound. And in many ways, it delivers.

Particularly excellent is its staging. The combination of true front- and side-firing drivers does a great job of creating not only an exceptionally wide soundstage, but also populating the spread of that soundstage with convincingly positioned details. Vocals are locked to the screen (complete with a touch of vertical lift, so they don’t seem to be coming from the speaker below), while noisy objects that cross the screen are clearly tracked for every inch of their journey.

Shrill details are clean without becoming exaggerated or harsh, and the midrange has enough power and dynamic range to be able to expand considerably without becoming strained during the escalations of potent horror or action scenes. The sound system even allows you to ‘steer’ the sound from the forward-facing speakers towards your seating position if you happen to sitting somewhere other than directly in front of the screen.

The 55MZ2000’s bass doesn’t reach particularly low, though, leaving action scenes sounding a bit weightless. Sustained deep bass can also cause some cabinet buzzing and driver distortion. And while the up-firing drivers can be freakishly effective when it comes to portraying subtle ambient height effects, they feel a little overwhelmed by the side firing drivers when it comes to more powerful ‘wall of sound’ moments. 

Living with

The 55MZ2000 is well built and looks elegant from the front, despite the full width integrated speaker system that adds nearly a couple of inches to the bottom edge. It’s a seriously chunky set round the back though, which isn’t ideal if you’re thinking of wall-hanging it. You don’t feel the bulk nearly as much when the screen’s attached to its smart, beautifully finished circular desktop stand.

Much of the bulk is there to accommodate the 55MZ2000’s unusually powerful, multi-channel sound system, of course. But given that this sound system isn’t quite flawless enough to make the addition of an external soundbar pointless, maybe Panasonic could have made the set cheaper by putting in a more basic sound system and leaving people to add a soundbar at their own convenience. Especially given how seriously the 55MZ2000’s high-end target market takes the sound quality of their home entertainment systems. 

While the 55MZ2000’s headline appeal is its gorgeous, Hollywood-inspired movie and TV performance, it also takes gaming very seriously. Two of the four HDMIs support the latest cutting-edge gaming features of 4K at 120Hz, variable refresh rates (including the AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia G-Sync variations) and auto low latency mode switching. The colour refinement, sharpness and pixel-level contrast control that make movies look so special also work beautifully for today’s high-resolution, HDR games too, and in ‘Game’ mode the screen only takes 14.4ms to render received image data.

The 55MZ2000’s smart features are provided by Panasonic’s own My Home Screen 8.0 system - which is just fine by me. My Home Screen does not carry the most glamorous of smart interfaces, but it’s really simple to follow, easy to customise, and carries all the key streaming services most households will need.

One last thought that keeps running through my mind is that picture quality as good as the 55MZ2000’s deserves to be seen on a bigger screen. So, if you can accommodate and afford the 65-inch MZ2000, I’d strongly recommend going for it. Unfortunately, the 77-inch MZ2000 doesn’t get the MLA tech sported by the 55-inch and 65-inch models, so won’t give you the same brightness and contrast.


If you love movies and you want them to appear as close as possible to the way they looked when they were ‘made in Hollywood’, Panasonic’s 55MZ2000 is simply as good as it gets. So much so that my only major complaint is that I wanted to be enjoying its picture glories on a bigger screen!

Test samples

It (Chapter One) 4K Blu-ray

No other TV I’ve seen, OLED or otherwise, has handled the famously ultra-dark sequences of Andy Muschietti’s first It movie on 4K Blu-ray as well as the 55MZ2000. As well as black levels looking immaculately deep, shadow detailing is delivered with essentially perfect balance and subtlety.

The Marvels 4K Blu-ray

While The Marvels feels rather lightweight by Marvel canon standards, it actually gives us the best-looking 4K Blu-ray disc we’ve seen from Marvel/Disney to date. Colours, in particular, are exceptionally bold and dynamic - and the 55MZ2000 handles them brilliantly, ensuring you get the full benefit of their vibrancy and richness without looking cartoonish or low on detail.

Diablo IV Xbox Series X 

As a sign of just how seriously Panasonic takes gaming these days, it became the official TV partner for hit game Diablo IV - and with its combination of ultra-detailed, often dark dungeons and bright, fast-moving outdoor backdrops it’s hard to think of a better title to show off the 55MZ2000’s strengths. It’s hard, too, to imagine the game looking better on any other TV.

What the press say

Why you should buy it

Panasonic’s peerless experience of working both with self-emissive screen technologies and Hollywood creatives joins forces in the 55MZ2000 - the most exciting new OLED technology in years gives gorgeous results here. When the only complaint you can find with a TV is that you want it to be bigger, you know it’s something special.

Video review

Pair it with

The 55MZ2000’s gorgeously cinematic pictures are unlocked to their fullest effect by 4K Blu-ray discs. For which you’ll need a 4K Blu-ray player, of course. The most obvious contender to go with such a high-end, high-quality TV is Panasonic’s own UB9000. Though if the £999 price is too high after you’ve just handed over £2K for the TV, Panasonic’s £349.99 UB820 is also a great deck for its money. 

While the 55MZ2000’s 150W speaker system may be enough to save you ever having to upgrade its sound, for me there’s still benefit in either adding a subwoofer via the line out, or adding a potent true surround (complete with actual rear speakers) soundbar such as a Samsung Q990C or Q930C.

Alternatives to consider

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